Column: IHOP — Not a pancake house, but a pancake home


Photo credit: Grace Wilson

The assortment of polaroid pictures were taken on various trips to IHOP. The images capture moments with family, friends and breakfast.

I’m sure you all – our beloved, devout readers – have been wondering where exactly it was that the two of us first hung out. After nearly two years of middle school together without an outside-of-school encounter, we opted to eat a hefty meal of mozzarella sticks, pancakes, french toast, hash browns and sausage at the one, the only, IHOP (the carefully crafted abbreviation for the International House of Pancakes).

IHOP, for those of you who somehow don’t know (or did not have a childhood), is a 24-hour American pancake house that serves up breakfast food all day e’ry day.

Beyond the classic stack of buttermilk pancakes, IHOP offers an unrivaled and oh-so-creative assortment of flavors. From Oreo to Belgian dark chocolate mousse, Mexican tres leches, vanilla spice and even cupcake inspired flavors, it’s got all pancake needs covered. Not to mention that it completes the holiday season with  Grinch Pancakes and Minty Who Hot Chocolate,” which we are honored to say we have tried (and enjoyed). To paint a picture for you, imagine a 3-stack of lime-ish green pancakes topped with cream cheese frosting, a dollop of green whipped cream, and, if you’re lucky, a sprinkling of heart-shaped jimmies.

Strange menu items aside, there are IHOP restaurants all across the map of Los Angeles, giving us a home away from home on any side of the 405 or 101 freeways.

For the two of us, IHOP was an integral part of our childhood. Sunday mornings were incomplete without a glass of the chain’s too-pulpy orange juice, a crossword puzzle in the kids’ menu or a plate of IHOP scrambled eggs (fun fact: IHOP uses pancake batter in their scrambled eggs, which is what makes them so darn good and fluffy). Each pancake house memory is one of sincere playful adolescence and good ol’ family time.

This is why it is so odd to see how cool and trendy IHOP is among teens now. Posts on social media of the familiar eatery are ubiquitous, and, considering the chain stays open for 24 hours, most posts are of teens brooding behind a 3-stack of pancakes in their pajamas at 2 a.m. Regardless of this new buzz, customers are customers in the end, so why complain?

While it may be just another quintessential American chain, IHOP’s homey-pancakes and all-you-can-drink coffee serve up a purpose beyond a classic breakfast. No one can deny the nostalgia that is carried with the unmistakable scent of maple syrup and hot cocoa. IHOP is a place to sit with friends and bond with family, but above all, to simply enjoy stacks of pancakes, reminisce on childhood and to return to the basics of youth.