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State College Welcomes New IHOP with Open Arms

by and on January 26, 2014 9:45 AM

If you're a fan of pancakes, rejoice.

IHOP has arrived in State College.

IHOP officially opened its doors in State College last week. The restaurant is located at 1661 S. Atherton St., at the site of the former Perkins.

Needless to say, IHOP is a hit.

“We've been packed,” says general manager Zach Marmon. “We've been pleasantly surprised. We're really excited to be here.”

There are already several IHOPs in Pennsylvania with more to come.

“We're going to be opening several (new) stores in Pennsylvania over the next couple of years. But this was our No. 1 pick,” he explains.

According to IHOP corporate trainer Sherilyn Feichtl, the response from the Centre County community has been great.

“The community has been really supportive of us, even with some of the struggles initially. They're really happy to see us here,” Feichtl says. “I think they're excited for something new, some growth in the area.”

Feichtl said that the former Perkins location was exactly what IHOP was looking for.

“When we survey an area, we're looking for an area that can be rebuildable,” she says. “This was a hospitality establishment prior, so we just took that and turned it into something we could build up even greater. This location caught our eye and we built something bigger and better off of that.”

IHOP — which stands for International House of Pancakes — has been an American staple for 55 years. There are nearly 1,600 IHOPs in the world. The restaurant serves 14 different varieties of pancakes, including buttermilk, chocolate chip, harvest grain 'n nut, New York Cheesecake and other fruit-topped pancakes.

There are other breakfast items, of course, such as omelettes and crepes. The restaurant also has a  lunch and dinner menu which includes steaks, burgers, salads, sandwiches, chicken fried steak, country fried steak and pot roast.

IHOP hopes to appeal to all ages. If the grand opening crowd is any indication, it does. There were college students and senior citizens enjoying late breakfasts.

Zach Kramer of Doylestown, a junior at Penn State, frequents the IHOP near his home. He thought he'd give the State College location a try.

“Last semester, I heard there was an IHOP coming,” Kramer explains. “I was pumped to try it out. I didn't realize it opened today, though.”

When it came to choosing his breakfast Kramer went off the board — a bit.

“I was pretty intrigued with the crepes, but I got the strawberry banana French Toast,” he said. “It was very good … a lot of food for the money.”

Sitting across the booth from Kramer was his friend, Penn State graduate Michael Murray of Pittsburgh.

“I went here for four years and we didn't have an IHOP back in my day. We usually did either Denny's or The Waffle Shop. We decided to try something new. It was a little crowded for the opening, but it was worth the wait,” Murray says. “Service was great. I had a delicious omelette.”

Not far from Kramer and Murray sat a booth of women who called themselves the Colonial Court Breakfast Club.

Gayle Barnes of State College is pleased that there's another place for breakfast along the South Atherton Street cooridor.

“It's just fantastic. The staff here is wonderful. The waiters, waitresses, they all have smiles on their faces,” Barnes says. “The food was outstanding. I will be back for sure.”

Another member of the Colonial Court Breakfast Club, Lee Bishop, says she enjoyed the atmosphere, the company and most importantly — the food.

“I thought it was great. We just live right up the street,” Bishop says. “I can see this place from my back door. I'll come here often.”

IHOP will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 6 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday. According to Marmon, once the staff is thoroughly trained, IHOP will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That's expected to happen sometime in February or March.

“We like our staff to be fully trained to be ready to handle that,” Marmon says.

The State College IHOP seats 260 guests and has 129 employees. For more information about IHOP click HERE or call (814) 238-1049.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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