The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.
Since 1956, Dick's Bar & Grill's welcoming waitstaff and suds-wielding barkeeps have filled bellies with classic American fare and frosty on-tap brews while its patrons socialize over bingo and other activities. Dick's menu brims with savory pub fare, from house-made pizzas ($9.25+) to a breaded pork tenderloin ($6.95+). Wild Turkey bourbon buffalo wings ($7.50) strum twangy tones accompanied by a percussion section of cool blue cheese. Chefs sizzle half-pound beef patties, melt monterey jack and cheddar, and stack crisp bacon slices for the Real Billy burger, sweetened with smoky barbecue sauce ($9.25). Reminisce about the days of barrel-transportation and 30-piece-choir telegrams with a cold draft beer such as local brewer Schell's dark beer ($4.50), Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss ($3.95), or Killian's Irish Red ale ($3.95).
Morgan's lines up menus of delicious grill fare fashioned from scratch with fresh ingredients. Diners at this locally owned eatery can taste its eponymous Amber Ale--crafted by Schell's Brewery in New Ulm--in a tall, cool glass at the laid-back bar or as a beer batter that's slathered on a tender chunk of walleye ($16) in the capacious dining room. To keep your gullet in shape, gobble filet mignon dripping with meat moisture ($22) or grab a freshly made omelet or sandwich from the extensive lunch and breakfast menus. Drop by on Thursday evening to hone your karaoke skills and ready your song box for all-night Christmas caroling.
Crowds gather on the dance floor as a rotating disco ball and colored spotlights fill the room with confetti-shaped rays of light. The Lodge of Robbinsdale keep its regulars entertained all week long with a diverse spread of events ranging from live music to trivia nights to wrestling matches hosted in the game room. The clack of billiards divides up the litany of play-by-play announcers calling games on high-definition TVs throughout the space and on an enormous projector screen that doubles as a sail in case the bar needs to move.
Servers weave through high-top tables, their arms lined with 10-ounce sirloin steaks and half-pound, charbroiled burgers made with both buffalo and all-beef patties. Sandwiches pack thin-sliced corned beef and hickory-smoked ham in heaping portions, and wings come coated in a variety of sauces, including buffalo bourbon and teriyaki.