Having never been to an IHOP before, I awaited its arrival to Dear Old State College with apprehension and excitement. After push back upon push back it seemed like we were doomed to be IHOP-less forever. But then suddenly, and without warning, “poof.” It appeared.
Hankering for some breakfast food for dinner I set out with colleagues Katie Blitz, Sarah Hanrahan, and Steve Boyle to see what made IHOP so special. After receiving the commercials for years, I was expecting a lot.
The first thing I noticed was that we were probably the youngest people there. Most of IHOP’s patrons appeared to have an average age of about 55. We had a bit of a wait (15 minutes) but the cheerful Mr. Rodgers-sweater clad host gave us some menus to look over while we waited for our table.
The menu was enormous, and by the time we were seated, we still had no idea what we wanted. The pictures just made it harder to choose.
Fortunately we were blessed with the sweetest and most attentive waitress I have ever had, so our agonizingly slow decision making process was not a hindrance to our overall experience. After drooling over the menu (and the four different kinds of syrup), we made our decisions.
Katie Blitz–The Cinna-Stax: The cinna-stax were basically life-changing. It was a Cinnabon in a pancake which was incredible and also indescribable. Better than a Cinnabon and better than pancakes, because it was the two put together. Overall experience? A-.
Steve Boyle–Chicken Florentine Crêpes: It was delicious, the sauce was amazing, and I really thought ordering a French delicacy at a chain pancake store was a great idea at the time. My stomach is making me pay for this decision and is not happy with my choice. This is kind of like when I panicked and ordered crab legs at unlimited wing night at Hooters that one time, but with more stomach discomfort and with less objectification of employees. Service was a 10, food was an 8 (at first) overall, 7.
Now it’s a 3.
Sarah Hanrahan–Chicken Tenders: My chicken tenders were one part chicken, two part tender. The fries were lightly seasoned with heaven dust and complimented the golden breaded chicken well. I recommend this meal for anybody too apprehensive to break social norms and eat breakfast for dinner. Overall experience: 10/10
Catie Simpson–Pick-A-Pancake Combo: Usually I can’t eat many pancakes, so instead of being disappointed at the small sized flapjacks I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered blueberry flavored pancakes topped with blueberry compote. They were the perfect accompaniment to my hash brown and bacon, both of which were cooked perfectly crisp. The scrambled eggs were buttery while not being too moist or too dry. Overall I was pleased and genuinely surprised by the food and the service (although there was definitely some slight gastrointestinal distress afterwards). B+.
Overall we greatly enjoyed our experience even if some of us came to regret it later that evening. However, I can guarantee we’ll be back (especially for Free Pancake Day on February 3). Obviously, it’s hard to beat the local breakfast places downtown, but if you need a quick chain to get the job done, IHOP is the place to go.