Ike's Counter and Marketplace selling baked goods, fresh coffee at McClelland Hall
If you are looking for somewhere new to try coffee or grab a quick bite, Ike’s Counter and Marketplace recently entered a partnership with the University of Arizona, securing their food truck's parking spot by McClelland Hall.
Ike’s Coffee is a Tucson business founded in 2001 and purchased by UA alumna, Jackie Sharma.
“Ike’s likes to provide rich products," said Sharma, the owner of Ike's. "People can say that when they think of Ike’s they think of rich and healthy products."
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The colorful, eye-catching food truck "Ike’s Counter" is open during the week until 2 p.m. to cook and prep food for the marketplace, serving as a kitchen.
“We [Sharma and her husband] have two daughters, and with a business, you have to be available even weekends," Sharma said. "When the university approached us, we figured it was something that fit what we were looking for."
Dakota Krein, a junior enrolled at Eller, looks forward to Ike's morning offerings.
“You can get fresh breakfast in the morning that they make there (Ike’s Counter)," Krein said. “In the Marketplace it’s pretty quick how they get so many people there in and out pretty fast when it gets busy.”
Ike’s Counter closes its kitchen at 2 p.m. daily but leaves prepared meals ready to sell before the marketplace closes at 5 p.m.
“If they aren’t cooking anymore from the counter, they also have the stuff on the fridge — still pretty fresh,” Krein said.
According to the owner, the small marketplace has bigger plans for its future. Their mission is to provide food that makes their customers feel more at home.
“It’s definitely a family-owned business, locally operated; we continue to prepare food for the Marketplace,” Sharma said.
For Sharma, the venture is a way to fulfill a need to serve.
“I like to feed people usually even for free. Our house is full of containers for people to take stuff back home,” Sharma said.
Ike's original owner approached Sharma to sell his business, a small coffee shop, in 2015.
“It was important for him to find people he could trust to take over his business, since it has his name on it,” Sharma said.
The home-style marketplace serves a variety of tempting meals, some of which are made by Sharma.
“One of our most popular things we sell here could be our pecan bars, which is like a Thanksgiving pecan pie,” Sharma said. “I make a short bread crust, then I make a caramel and pecan combination and bake that together."
According to Sharma, biting into these gluten-free pecan bars give you a "Thanksgiving-y" feeling that is available year-round.
“We have a location in the downtown area where there’s a lot of businesses, and we are only open Mondays through Fridays,” Sharma said.
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