Earlier this month, the controversial sandwich shop Ike’s Place won approval from the San Francisco Planning Commission to move into a new location in the Castro District.

The new shop will be larger and better equipped to handle the massive crowds, just one of the reasons the original Ike’s was shutdown in September.

For owner Ike Shehadeh, it is all part of the plan to not only expand his operation in San Francisco, but throughout the entire Bay Area. We got a chance to talk to Shehadeh about what the future holds for Ike’s Place.

Q: Where are the new planned shops going to be?

A: There are two new Ike’s going up in San Francisco: one in the Student Center at San Francisco State University and the “controversial” one is going in at 3489 16th St. where Saratoga/Joseph Schmidt Chocolate Shops is located, right across from where Ike’s used to be.

Q: What exactly is the process now that your plans have been approved and how long will it take?

A: Now that the Planning Commission has given its blessing, there is still the Department of Public Health and Department of Building Investigation to go through. It will probably hold up the opening date until February.

Q: Overall, what are your plans for the shop? Do you see more expansion in the future?

A: The next expansion plans are for Santa Rosa Junior College and San Jose State University. There will also be one surprise San Francisco Ike’s Place opening next year. Also there may be some licensing agreements set in place real soon for the Chicago, South Florida, Washington D.C. and Southern California areas!

Q: Finally, can you talk a little bit about the support you have received throughout this ordeal?

A: Support has been overwhelming and easily drowned out the complainants. The Planning Commission had the numbers in the hundreds as pro-Ike’s and less than 20 against.

Since the original Ike’s closed in September, Shehadeh has been sharing space with Lime on Market Street and also running his shop on the Stanford University campus.

Photo Credit: Ike Shehadeh’s Twitter @ikes_place