vegansaurus!

09/13/2010

BREAKING: Ike’s Place is staying open after all!  »

Ha ha, just kidding. They’re really closing this time. I’m holding my last ever Vegan Brutus on glorious Dutch crunch from Ike’s Place—last ever, that is, until they inevitably (hopefully?) reopen. In the meantime, put your phone on speaker because even the wait to get past a busy signal is out of control.

And in a way, Ike’s Place really is staying open after all. In our hearts? Well, maybe there too (I’m sentimental like that), but I meant in Stanford. Their new location just opened last week, and according to Ike it’s already exploding, with an hour wait on the first day. So call ahead before your next sandwich road trip.

I’m sure some of you are still scratching your heads wondering why we’ve been getting all worked up and misty-eyed over a sandwich shop that also serves meat. For me, it’s about 32 percent selfish. Ike’s Place was my neighborhood sandwich shop, sometimes acting as my own surrogate kitchen for weeks at a stretch. Ike’s also gives a shit about what vegans want to eat, showing a level of commitment to us and to keeping with the times that almost no other restaurant in San Francisco has shown. Even our city’s “flagship” vegan restaurant (yes, I’m looking at you, Herbivore) keeps the same menu year after year, while Ike keeps buying new products that vegans are genuinely excited about. It was an omnivorous sandwich shop that was simultaneously more vegan than half the vegan restaurants in this city combined.

I love San Francisco, but Ike’s eviction is a symbolic victory for everything broken in this city: unneighborly neighbors who take up space over people who actually contribute to the community; blighted storefronts over a vibrant local economy; bureaucracy over small, independent business. Opening a new eating establishment in San Francisco is already prohibitively difficult; the message you get from City Hall, neighbors, landlords, and large chains is “you’re not wanted here, don’t bother.” And that’s all before adding the extra layer of “vegan” (see also: “weird,” “niche”) into the mix.

Yes, there’s nothing more played out than a “people like X are ruining San Francisco for people like Y” rant piece. But veganism in this city will succeed or fail based on whether or not new restaurants, bakeries, cafes, etc. can get some basic support, instead of being treated like a boil to be squeezed out. I’m not saying, let’s go Ayn Rand and deregulate everything. That’s insane—shit needs to be clean and safe; employees need to get paid a living wage. But come on; San Francisco has more skeezy massage parlors than vegan restaurants. It really shouldn’t be this hard to sell a sandwich.

P.S. What are you doing tonight? Probably nothing, so join Ike and everyone else as they crowd 16th and Sanchez with music and insanity for a farewell street party before closing tonight for real. PEACE OUT, neighbors.

Ike’s Place’s last day insanity!  »

Sadly, it’s reached the end of the line for Ike’s Place; today is the seminal sandwich shop’s last day of business at its Castro location. Hot tipper Mr. Jordan headed there for lunch (before heading there for dinner—not kidding!) and reports insanely long lines, a 75-minute wait (so far) for his sandwich, though he didn’t call in an order, so that’s kind of his own fault, and a “party atmosphere.” Here’s a picture:

If you’re wanting to get some sweet sandwich love on Ike’s last day, be sure to call in your order so that you won’t be one of the poor suckers waiting in line twice!

[Thanks to Vegansaurus special correspondent Mr. Jordan for the photos!]

08/24/2010

BREAKING: Ike’s not closing today after all!  »

Our Steve, who is on the scene to cover the closing of Ike’s Place/eat many of their sandwiches, reports that Ike’s Place is not closing as previously believed. Steve says:

I’m standing at Ike’s Place for my final order, and Ike just came out and announced triumphantly, “we’re not closing!” So here we go. The landlord evicted the wrong entity: Ike and his mom, instead of the corporation named Ike’s Place. So, he gets a new day in court, on a technicality. And the sheriff agrees: a stay of execution!

08/02/2010

06/28/2010

06/17/2010

Here’s the latest on the Ike’s Place eviction drama: the landlord is going nuclear, according to the Bay Citizen, and planning to evict Daimaru Sushi, the neighboring restaurant since 1998, as a means of forcing out Ike. As it turns out, Ike is subleasing space from Daimaru, and the landlord is claiming that any permit violation by Ike is a violation of Daimaru’s lease.
As we reported already, Ike was ordered by his landlord to halt construction on a ventilation hood that would have cured any permit issues. So, the permit complaint has only ever been a pretense for eviction.
I attempted to interview Jerry Chau, the owner of Daimaru Sushi, but I discovered that he lives in Washington state, having left San Francisco years ago, and only visits the restaurant once every few months. No phone calls or emails were returned. Given that he’s disengaged from the community, my guess is that Jerry Chau would rather wash his hands of the whole mess and will probably walk away.
As a legal strategy, the landlord seems to have found a good one: pursue legal action against everyone who enables Ike in any possible way, and drive them far away from 16th and Sanchez Streets. Scorch the earth, and salt what remains. We’ll find out soon if the courts agree.

Here’s the latest on the Ike’s Place eviction drama: the landlord is going nuclear, according to the Bay Citizen, and planning to evict Daimaru Sushi, the neighboring restaurant since 1998, as a means of forcing out Ike. As it turns out, Ike is subleasing space from Daimaru, and the landlord is claiming that any permit violation by Ike is a violation of Daimaru’s lease.

As we reported already, Ike was ordered by his landlord to halt construction on a ventilation hood that would have cured any permit issues. So, the permit complaint has only ever been a pretense for eviction.

I attempted to interview Jerry Chau, the owner of Daimaru Sushi, but I discovered that he lives in Washington state, having left San Francisco years ago, and only visits the restaurant once every few months. No phone calls or emails were returned. Given that he’s disengaged from the community, my guess is that Jerry Chau would rather wash his hands of the whole mess and will probably walk away.

As a legal strategy, the landlord seems to have found a good one: pursue legal action against everyone who enables Ike in any possible way, and drive them far away from 16th and Sanchez Streets. Scorch the earth, and salt what remains. We’ll find out soon if the courts agree.

05/21/2010

Ike’s neighbors want $1 million from him to stay in business  »

You read that right. According to the New York Times' Bay Area blog, Ike's neighbors have laid out their demands, and they're ridiculous, bordering on extortion. Doubting that any demands could be that ridiculous, I went down to Ike's Place and talked to him in more detail. So here are the facts, according to Ike.

Ike’s neighbor dispute is between Ike and the two couples living in the two apartments above him. The two couples are renters, sharing a landlord with Ike. The neighbors on either side are either supportive or neutral, and many are his regular customers.

There are three separate legal actions taking place: the eviction, a small claims case with one couple, and the settlement demands discussed in the Times blog post. We’ll call the two couples A (small claims case couple) and B (million-dollar-demand couple).

In the small claims case, Ike had engaged in settlement discussions, but A stopped responding. The court date is July 1, and damages in small claims are limited to $7,500. If Ike were to lose the case, A could still open another case outside of small claims for additional damages.

The “$1 million” demand is one of four possible settlement options presented to Ike by couple B:

  • Ike must “drastically” adjust hours and business practices, as defined by couple B. Ike must sign over to B the backyard and garage that he leases from the landlord. In addition, Ike must pay $250,000 to couple B.
  • Ike stays, changes nothing, and pays $800,000 to couple B.
  • Ike stays and pays nothing, and couple B sues Ike in court.
  • Ike leaves and pays $200,000 to couple B.

Remember, these aren’t the landlord’s demands. If the landlord successfully evicts Ike, Ike would still have to either pay $200,000 or face a lawsuit, in addition to his legal fees from the eviction—a tall order for a business that only broke even in December.

Ike plans to fight the eviction in court (no court date has been set at this time) realizing that the alternative would mean immediately laying off his staff. The grounds for the eviction? “Nuisance.” But according to Ike, he’s been inspected and visited by various city departments over 40 times, including the health department, the building department, and the San Francisco Police Department. He has never received a single citation—not even on the air quality inspections.

The permit complaint is about air quality. As a remedy, Ike installed a ventilation hood over his kitchen area in January, which was fully permitted by the city. However, the neighbor complained to the landlord before the final inspection, and the landlord ordered Ike to halt all construction on the hood. As we spoke, the hood was installed and turned off.

In other words, the legal grounds for the eviction are nothing more than a pretense for evicting Ike. If they really cared about the air quality and permit issue, they wouldn’t have stopped Ike from finishing construction on the hood.

An interesting twist to the story? Who-Wants-to-Be-a-Millionaire couple B moved into their apartment 19 years ago, at which time Ike’s was a noisy bar, where loud music would rattle through the house, sometimes as late as 3 a.m. The noisy bar is why their rent is so cheap, and probably explains why they’re so reluctant to give up 19 years of rent control. But I don’t know what explains the $800,000 demand. Leverage? Greed? Who knows. All I know is that $800k would get you a pretty nice place in quiet Walnut Creek. City living isn’t for everyone, after all.

05/14/2010

04/30/2010

UPDATE: THE BAKESALE IS NOT AT IKE’S PLACE! THE NEW LOCATION WILL BE at Herbivore Restaurant at 938 Valencia Street @ 21st Street in the mission! Everything else is exactly the same!!!
Ow! The SF Vegan Bakesale is NEXT SATURDAY, May 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Ike’s Place Herbivore Restaurant on Valencia! We need bakers! And eaters! So email me if you want to bake and just show up if you want to eat and oh also: tell everyone you know about it, okay!? PLEASE! We gotta make some money for Virunga National Park and WildCare! They are both the best charities on Earth—saving wild animals in the Bay Area, AND mountain gorillas!—and they NEED US!!
p.s. We need people to put these adorable posters by Megan of Say It’s Not Soy all over town and on your website and EVERYWHERE so please, please, please, can you help!? If so, email me and I’ll hook you up with some 4-ups and black-and-white versions because we classy.  Oh and say you’re going on Facebook so we look popular and shit. Or not “and shit.” Just “popular.” SO TIRED. 

UPDATE: THE BAKESALE IS NOT AT IKE’S PLACE! THE NEW LOCATION WILL BE at Herbivore Restaurant at 938 Valencia Street @ 21st Street in the mission! Everything else is exactly the same!!!

Ow! The SF Vegan Bakesale is NEXT SATURDAY, May 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of Ike’s Place Herbivore Restaurant on Valencia! We need bakers! And eaters! So email me if you want to bake and just show up if you want to eat and oh also: tell everyone you know about it, okay!? PLEASE! We gotta make some money for Virunga National Park and WildCare! They are both the best charities on Earth—saving wild animals in the Bay Area, AND mountain gorillas!—and they NEED US!!

p.s. We need people to put these adorable posters by Megan of Say It’s Not Soy all over town and on your website and EVERYWHERE so please, please, please, can you help!? If so, email me and I’ll hook you up with some 4-ups and black-and-white versions because we classy.  Oh and say you’re going on Facebook so we look popular and shit. Or not “and shit.” Just “popular.” SO TIRED. 

06/25/2009

World Wide Vegan Bakesale San Francisco is THIS WEEKEND!  »

This is just a reminder that we will be out in full force on Saturday, June 27th (in front of Ike’s Place at 3506 16th St., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.!) and Sunday, June 28th (24th St. at Capp St., 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.!) with HUNDREDS of delicious vegan baked goods! Pies, cakes, cupcakes, pastries, donuts, breakfast bars, blondies, brownies and much, much more! Our bakesale is stocked by generous donations from VegNews magazine, Sugar Beat Sweets, Bike Basket Pies, Pepple’s Donuts, Angel Cupcakes, Pure Life Chef, Pie Truck, and many other talented bakers from all over SF and beyond! We’ve even got pastry chefs from some of the finest restaurants in SF and Oakland making vegan goods! Ow!

Daisy Wares is donating a tube of her delicious lip balm to anyone who buys a dozen or more cupcakes/cookies/etc! FREE STUFF!! YES, PLEASE!

EVERY penny raised is going to be split between Animal Place and East Bay Animal Advocates, two nonprofits doing amazing work for animals. This sale will only be a success if y’all show up and turn it out in the gluttonous consumption department. So put on your eatin’ pants and come eat us I mean see us on Saturday. And Sunday. Yes. More details can be found at the World Wide Vegan Bakesale SF blog.

You should stop reading now if you’re not down for a bit of a tangent.

Okay, you’ve been warned. I’ve gotten a couple emails from people wondering if we can make a few things with butter and/or eggs. You know, for the non-vegans. The answer is NO. Further, IT’S ONE CUPCAKE. You can’t abstain from butter for ONE BAKED GOOD? Come on; it wouldn’t kill you to eat a tasty vegan treat every once in awhile. Do your heart and cholesterol a favor and take a pass on the mucus and pus spread for a day.

Ugh, now I’m just annoyed. The best is when fools get all dramatic about your response, like you’re some judgy dogmatic vegan who is just being ridiculous and even discriminatory. It’s the same mentality of people who want a straight pride parade in response to the gay pride one. EVERY PARADE IS A STRAIGHT PRIDE PARADE. Every romantic comedy and freaking blue jeans ad is a straight pride parade. Almost everything in our society is made for consumption by straight people. Let gay people have their ONE FUCKING PARADE. They deserve a lot more. Like say, equality.

But I digress. It’s infuriating when omnivores (or even vegetarians! Traitors!) get all harsh when vegans have one fucking vegan bakesale and won’t cater to their butter NEEDS—GOD THE NERVE. And don’t get me started on vegan options in restaurants. Guess what, if a restaurant doesn’t cater to vegans, I’m gonna at least let them know that I’m here and want a piece of that. If they don’t change, hell yeah I’m gonna complain. You know what? This is San Francisco in the year 2009. You want to live in a progressive city? You gotta take the good with the bad. And guess what, your nasty, dead-animal-eating ass is the bad.

So no, there will not be any butter and/or eggs at our vegan bakesale.

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