Astros fans may remember the name Mark Appel. The Houston-born pitcher was drafted first overall in 2013, then traded in 2015 to the Philadelphia Phillies. Despite high expectations for his career, Appel never reached the major leagues, making him just one of three ballplayers to be drafted first overall and never make it to the show. He retired from baseball in 2017, but with a resume that includes graduating from Stanford, he was sure to find success in another realm.
Well, Appel is back in the public eye as one of the partners at the new Ike's Love & Sandwiches, the San Francisco-based sandwich chain that's hosting its grand opening at 1051 Heights Blvd. on Thursday and Friday. This Heights Ike's is the first in Houston and third in Texas, with two locations opening recently in Austin (Appel is also a partner at those spots).
“I’m thrilled to bring my favorite sandwich chain to my hometown,” said Appel in a press release. “Now, my family and friends can experience these amazing sandwiches within reach here in Houston.”
Ike's is known for a variety of sandwich offerings on Dutch Crunch bread (sweet white bread rolled oblong and cooked with a sheet of rice flour on top, giving it a crusty, crackly texture). Ike's also has locally based sandwiches—look in Houston for Grand Pinkerton (made with Pinkerton's brisket and aioli, plus pastrami and provolone) and Robert Woodrow Wilson (vegan brisket, Pinkerton's glaze, pepperjack cheese).
Come to Ike's on Thursday to meet Appel, plus Ike's founder Ike Shehadeh. The first 50 guests inside the store (it opens at 10 a.m.) will get a free sandwich.
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