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An American Institution

  • May 18, 2005
  • by
Pros: Good food; great service; reasonable prices.

Cons: None really...

The Bottom Line: IHOP is the ideal place to take the family for an early morning breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Would it be too much of a stretch, too much of an exaggeration to call the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) an American Institution? Growing up in the city by the sea, Newport, RI, one of my fondest memories of the place is visiting the one and only local IHOP restaurant just north of town, on the border with Middletown on East Main Road. As a kid, my mother would take us to IHOP for a special treat; when I was growing up mothers still made time to cook and actually going out to a restaurant to eat was a special occasion. As a growing teenager IHOP was the place to go for breakfast food any time of the day, or night; indeed it was the only choice, but we never complained. And as an adult whenever I would visit Newport after an extended time away, at sea, or living abroad, IHOP was always on my agenda.

Things have changed now and IHOP is no longer the only place in town (at least the town I live in now) where breakfast is served at the dinner hour. There is WaffleHouse, Denny’s, Egg Harbor CafĂ©, and a myriad of local Mom & Pop establishments that will cater to my sweet tooth, but IHOP has a special place in my culinary heart. I just love their blueberry pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs with cheese and sausage.

About The Restaurant

IHOP specializes in the quintessential American breakfast food: pancakes, waffles and omelettes. Or at least it started out that way. Over the year the restaurants menu has expanded to meet the ever growing demands of fast (or nearly fast) foods, and IHOP has grown into a true family-style restaurant. To be sure IHOP still serves the best pancakes, but they also serve other staples of the American diet: appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, steak, and chicken dishes are on the lunch and dinner menus.

The first IHOP was opened it doors in Toluca Lake, California, a suburb of Los Angles in 1958 and soon thereafter expanded to nearly 50 restaurants within four years; the concept had caught on. The company has gone through a lot of change over the last five decades, investing in and then divesting food and non-food companies, and finally settled on the IHOP chain as it main focus. The restaurant chain opened it 1000th IHOP in 2001, and has plans to open 250 more in the coming years. IHOP Corporation is now a publicly trade company, whose NADAQ symbol is of course IHOP.

Atmosphere & Service

The IHOP restaurant we frequent is a more modern affair built after 1983 when the last of the signature “A” frame buildings was erected (the one in my hometown is an “A” frame, and sits right across the street from the Newport Creamery). The new style building is nothing distinctive, it just sits more people and is keeping with the popular trend is family-style restaurants; an equal blending of tables and booths, and a an occasional counter seating.

Depending on when you visit you might have to wait for seating; the busiest times seem to be the evenings and weekends. And IHOP does offer smoking and non-smoking sections; we always choose non-smoking of course. The inside of the restaurant is tastefully decorated, but unlike many of its contemporaries, there is not theme to speak of inside the restaurant, just good food and friendly people.

Inflation has hit IHOP in a less notable way then most chains, but still it is noticeable; prices have risen in a steady progression over the last few years. As is my habit whenever I visit IHOP I order the same dish, day of night, The Big Steak Omelette, which consists of (Tender strips of steak, hash browns, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and Cheddar cheese), and is served with a side of buttermilk pancakes. The price which started at $6.99 when omelette was introduced has drifted upward in intervals a $2.00 in the last three years. Last visit: $8.99.

Menu Choices & Food


Breakfast Anytime:

• IHOP Signature Breakfasts
• Classic Egg Breakfasts and Combinations
• Pancake Originals
• Omelette Feast
• Pancakes, Waffles and French Toast Specialties
• Kids Menu

Lunch & Dinner:

• Appetizers
• Sandwiches
• Salads
• Dinner Entrees
• Burger
• Seniors

In addition to the above menu choices there is also a Desert and Kids menu. As you can see, the selection of food at IHOP is not as extensive as some other family-style restaurants but the menu choices are still robust. And unlike other restaurants the appetizers at IHOP are not meals onto themselves, they are merely snacks. But I never order appetizers even if I am really hungry, but the food at IHOP is usually served with dispatch.

As I stated above, I usually order The Big Steak Omelette, no matter what time we com into IHOP, and my wife usually orders the Crepe-Style International Pancakes (she does not like think pancakes) with a side of beacon. Speaking of beacon, I do not care for IHOP’s, it is much too thin; I prefer thick sliced bacon.

On my last visit, I broke with tradition and order the Colorado Omelette (A meat lover's delight. Bacon, pork sausage, shredded beef, ham, onions, green peppers and Cheddar cheese). This omelette choice also comes with a side of buttermilk pancakes which I usually substitute for the scrumptious Harvest Nut & Grain Pancakes. Unlike other restaurants that serve breakfast IHOP gives you a choice of syrups; the waitress will bring a container of warm maple syrup to your table with your meal, and there is also a selection of syrups at your table; e.g. blueberry, maple, boysenberry and honey pecan. Omelettes and scrambled eggs can be ordered with egg substitutes, but why?

Other Useful Information:

Everything on the menu, with the exception of baked potatoes, is served all day long from 6:00am until 10:00pm (12:00 on weekends). This a bit unusual, but then so is serving pancakes at 8:00pm so…Alcoholic beverages are not available at IHOP at all, never have been as far as I can remember.

Other beverages are of course available, including white and chocolate; whole and 2%; orange juice, coffee, hot chocolate, and soft drinks.


IHOP remains one of favorite restaurants. The prices are reasonable (though not immune to inflationary forces), the service is good, and the food—breakfast anyway—is exceptional. It is the ideal place to take the family for an early morning breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Our Location(s)

Aurora (Location 1) – International House of Pancakes Restaurant
583 S. Route 59
Aurora, IL 60504-8168
(630) 375-0890

Aurora (location 2) – International House of Pancakes Restaurant
2455 Augusta Way
Aurora, IL 60506-6444
(630) 907-1800

Naperville - International House of Pancakes Restaurant
167 Danada Square East
Naperville Road
Wheaton, IL 60187-2008
(630) 690-2344


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About the reviewer
Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #187
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this product


The International House of Pancakes restaurants is one of America's best-known, family restaurant chains. IHOP restaurants are open throughout the day and evening hours, and offer a broad array of lunch, dinner and snack items as well as their award-winning pancakes, omelettes and other breakfast specialties.
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