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Two new restaurants to open in Westwood

Ike’s Place, a popular Bay Area sandwich chain, is coming to Westwood soon. The expansion has been several years in the making.

By Fiona Kirby

April 8, 2013 1:11 a.m.

The sandwich and hot dog scene in Westwood Village is expected to expand in the coming months with the relocation and addition of several restaurants.

Among the new restaurants is Ike’s Place, a San Francisco-based sandwich shop that is expanding from the Bay Area and moving into where Subway is currently located on 1151 Westwood Blvd.

Subway plans to move to another spot in Westwood Village in mid-May, said Bob Grewal, the restaurant’s owner.

The restaurant’s lease ended in October, Grewal said. The Cal-American Group, the landlords for the current Subway location, asked to double the restaurant’s current rent, which would mean Subway would have to increase the price of sandwiches and lower employee wages in order to continue making a profit, Grewal said.

He said he could not disclose the new location because the new location’s current business has not yet told its employees that it is moving out.

Many students from the Bay Area may recognize the new sandwich shop coming to Westwood.

The expansion of Ike’s Place, which currently has nine branches in Northern California, has been several years in the making, said Ike Shehadeh, the sandwich shop’s owner.

“Two years ago (moving to Los Angeles) was the next logical step,” Shehadeh said, “L.A.’s the closest and next-biggest market.”

He said he had looked at close to 50 locations, but the spot in Westwood is his favorite because it is already a sandwich shop, and is close to the UCLA campus and college students.

Ike’s Place and Fab Hot Dogs, another restaurant opening soon in Westwood, will fit into the fast and casual style of dining in the Village, said Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association.

“New businesses do breathe new life into an area,” Thomas said.

Fab Hot Dogs, a hot dog eatery with several locations in Southern California, plans to occupy the property previously used by Socko’s Subs on the corner of Broxton and Le Conte avenues.

The restaurant recently obtained approval for an outdoor patio, and construction is going forward, according to Joe Fabrocini, the owner of Fab Hot Dogs.

He said he estimates the restaurant will open on May 15, but that he does not have an exact opening date because of construction delays.

He added that because the restaurant will be housed in a historical building, a Westwood preservation society reviewed its building plan to ensure it would preserve the building’s historical significance.

Since the organization meets once every two weeks, Fabrocini said carrying out the changes the organization suggested for the restaurant’s plans has taken longer than he expected.

As Shehadeh also moves forward with construction plans for Ike’s Place in Westwood, he said he plans on staying connected to the restaurant, even though he will primarily be in the Bay Area.

He added that he plans to get a small apartment in the Westwood area so he can more easily commute between Northern and Southern California and make sure the new restaurant runs smoothly.

“People will see me,” he said with a laugh.

The prices of sandwiches at Ike’s Place can range from $8 to $20 per sandwich, according to the restaurant’s online menu. Other than the exclusive sandwich unique to each Ike’s Place location, Shehadeh said the menu will stay essentially the same.

Brenda Palaby, a second-year cognitive science student, said she wants to try out the new Westwood Ike’s Place.

She said high prices are a downside, but she thinks the sandwiches are worth the price.

“It’s one of the pricier places, but the sandwiches are like a better Fat Sal’s,” said Palaby, who has visited Ike’s locations in Northern California.

Shehadeh said he is currently focused on working on the Westwood Ike’s Place before pursuing anything further in Southern California.

“As of now I’m only planning for one (location in Southern California), and everything else will have to be organic after that,” he said.

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