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.
Chef Cheryl Smith builds home-style meals that incorporate global flavors into rustic recipes using techniques she has shared on Food Network features including Melting Pot, Soul Kitchen, and Gordon Elliot's Doorknock Dinners. Market-fresh dishes blend seasonal and regionally sourced ingredients, astounding savor receptors with the latest tastes from farmers' market flavor runways. At lunch, baked goods and crisp salads share satiating duties with personified sandwiches including the Steve, made with cured bacon and vine-ripened tomatoes ($7.95). Dinner selections fuse agrarian fare standards with worldly accents such as Moroccan vegetable stew over rice pilaf ($15.00) or Korean marinated rib-eye steak and watercress salad ($22.00).
Grab a burger and milkshake before you hula-hoop in your poodle skirt to the sock hop hand-jive dance with today’s Groupon. For $15, you get $30 worth of fine dinering at EJ’s Luncheonette, an establishment so old school they have no home on the mind-blowing Internet. It also doesn't deal with futuristic credit cards, so make sure you’ve got enough cash for a tip on your journey back in time. Your Groupon is good at both EJ’s East and EJ’s West.In a 1950s diner your server might dress as Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley to entertain and delight you.In an 1850s diner your server might dress as an Apache warrior to test your loyalty to your family and recruit you to defend their once vast empire.
Twenty years as a traveling salesman was more than enough for James Brown. So when he finally decided it was time to set down his roots, he turned to something that sang of home: his passion for cooking. And that passion shines throughout his menu. In the hearty breakfast selections, guests can see it in the signature stuffed french toast?made from bread that's baked in-house?as well as more imaginative items, such as the Greek-inspired diner breakfast with gyro meat. Then there are the half-pound burgers, po-boy sandwiches with Cajun-spiced chicken, and James Brown's legendary Friday-night barbecue. Such a range hints at two things: that James's passion isn't picky, and that his inspiration comes from everywhere. And indeed, if a diner gives James a recipe that matches the standards of his menu, not only will he put it there, he'll even name it after the guest who gave it to him.
This inclusionary style echoes throughout the diner itself. Checkered tiles run across the floor from the front door to the back wall, passing a scattered assortment of tables and booths that look in on the open kitchen. And as a diehard Yankees fan, James fills two entire sections of a wall with memorabilia, including black-and-white photographs of past rosters and fan fiction that imagines the team being comprised only of James Brown clones.
A lot of restaurants discourage special orders, but the chefs at Riverdale Diner have been welcoming them for the past 40 years. The made-to-order eatery operates what it terms an "open door policy", encouraging customers to add and subtract ingredients as they please and to ask for their favorite dishes, even if they don't see them on the menu. Finding something that falls into that last category may prove challenging, as the already expansive bill of fare seems to cover nearly every culinary category imaginable. Baby back ribs? Check. Romanian steak? Check. Mofongo? Check. All the usual diner favorites are there too, from giant one-pound burgers to breakfast that's served all day. Of course, there may come a day when only a carving board roast turkey dinner and laffy taffy-flavored martini will do. Or maybe a broccoli and ricotta brick-oven pizza, paired with a giant goblet filled halfway with strawberry daiquiri and the rest of the way with pina colada. So Riverdale Diner made sure to cover those fronts too. A final stop at the dessert case offers up an impossible choice between sweets—from fried cheesecake to linzer tarts, hot pecan pie to Jello—and there's even a selection of diet-friendly desserts for those who are watching their weight or being watched through binoculars by a personal trainer in the parking lot.