LINDA CAUTHEN ✍️ A sweet farewell to IHOP

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Hearing that the long-standing WeHo International House of Pancakes has closed gave me a sad feeling, not because I dine there frequently but because I have happy memories of discovering their delectable dishes decades ago. Where else could you find a plate of pancakes adorned by all kinds of fruity toppings, sugary syrup and whipped cream at any hour of the day or night?

Back in the day, IHOP was one of my go-to spots for meeting with friends for lunch or after a concert where I tried several of the chain’s menu choices before settling on a couple of favorites. These days they try to be all things to all diners, but back then, in the early 70s, IHOP was all pancakes and other breakfast-type goodies, all the time.

One of my faves was Banana Nut Pancakes, which consisted of several large pancakes with sliced bananas and chopped pecans topped by banana flavored syrup. Alas, this delicious treat has been replaced by a menu item named Banana Crepes with Nutella described as “4 crepes topped with nutella® the original hazelnut spread & freshly sliced bananas.” Sounds healthier but not nearly as much fun.

Whatever you ordered, you had an impressive selection of specialty syrups brought to your table in a metal rack. Any fruit you could think of, IHOP had a syrup flavored like it. Now I suspect you could duplicate any of these with generic pancake syrup and a bottle of extract. As I recall, whipped cream was available as a topper on most pancake dishes but I have an aversion to the stuff due to overexposure to Reddi-Whip as a child.

My all-time IHOP favorite was French Pancakes, a concoction of small thin pancakes topped by orange syrup and marmalade with a dusting of powdered sugar. Fortunately for those of us who became addicted to this super sweet dish, it’s pretty easy to duplicate with pancake mix, Smuckers orange marmalade and powdered sugar.

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The first International House of Pancakes restaurant opened in Burbank in 1958 and the one at the one at 8461Santa Monica Blvd. opened sometime in the 1960s. I didn’t find an official opening date but I remember that when I arrived in WeHo in 1971 it was already there, meaning it’s older than most of the people who live here.

In 2018 IHOP made an ill-advised attempt to draw attention to its new line of Ultimate Steakburgers by temporarily changing its name to International House of Burgers. This move was intended to draw attention to the chain’s non-breakfast offerings. A recent addition to the IHOP menu was plant-based burgers from Impossible Foods because all potential diners are craving another meatless burger.

The current IHOP menu includes calorie counts for every item and gluten-free choices which kinda takes the fun out of dining at a joint famous for decadent stacks of sweet, gooey pancakes. I’m sure that the current generation of clubgoers have other spots when they crave a late-night sugar fix.

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About Linda Cauthen
Linda F. Cauthen moved to West Hollywood from Montgomery, Alabama, fifty years ago in search of adventure. What she found was a long career in journalism including gigs with Larry Flynt Publishing, The Hollywood Reporter, and many more. After the bottom fell out of print magazines, she made the move to online media where she produced content on a variety of subjects including beauty, consumer technology, and showbiz gossip. Her interests include Hollywood history, classic country music, and old movies. She is one of WeHo’s top authorities on what used to stand at any given location in the distant past.

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Malibu boy
Malibu boy
28 days ago

Well, I think iHOP found itself between a rock and a hard place. It became too expensive for the average person and not classy enough for the West Hollywood residents who could actually afford it. And if you look closely, the picture shows something else that isn’t around any longer. The days when you could park your convertible on the streets and leave the top down. Come to think of it that also includes the days when they actually made convertibles.

08mellie
08mellie
28 days ago

Bidenomics. F-ing everything up. Higher interest rates, more taxes, higher energy costs, shutting down our natural energy resources, more local government business hurdles, progressive initiatives that benefit no one but the person on City Council, they are not without blame for our empty storefronts. This transitional use of the motel has now urged CVS to move. West Hollywood is now no different than the poorer urban areas when the necessary retailers and providers leave. Thanks Erickson, Shyne, HORVATH. WELL DONE.

Davefi
Davefi
1 month ago

IHOP reminds me of the old Woody Allen joke where one woman says to her friend…the food here is awful. And her friend says, yeah and such small portions. Just replace the small portions with incredibly overpriced and that was IHOP. Besides, the new Holloway flop house is gonna need space for a pool.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
1 month ago

When the CVS goes out, and that big block is left with a homeless shelter for out of town untreated junkies, an abandoned blue coffee klatch, and a monument/bathing facility for the homeless, maybe they people will wake up and realize the Lindsey Horvaths, Sepis, Chelasas and John Ericksons of the world are the cause of preventable problems. It’s sad cause the entire block could have been bought out and privately developed with big high rises with condos, parking, quality restaurants and shops bringing lots of tax revenue to the city. That ship has sailed, so we are left with… Read more »

Eliot S
Eliot S
1 month ago

In fairness to reality, pre COVID, IHOP was swamped with customers waiting to be seated. On weekends & holidays they had to have parking attendants & sometimes during regular weekdays as well. They had a separate menu of appealing “special” choices with appealing “special” prices”. Post COVID, they raised their prices to sometimes 3 or 4 times what they used to be. Gone were the “special” breakfast menus with “special” prices & IHOP became out of reach for many of its long-time customers. I still had breakfast there occasionally with a tab of $25 – $30.00 or more, for the… Read more »

Dave
Dave
1 month ago

IHOP didn’t want to add crime and drug dealing to the menu. In that old photo the motel behind the IHOP is now a homeless shelter. That’s why they closed.

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