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.
Whiskey River Tavern plays host to evenings full of revelry and socialization over cold beers and cocktails, as well as feasts of tasty Italian-American cuisine. Visitors meet up with friends to watch the game over drinks, or tuck into a menu of bubbling pizzas, cheesy pastas, and zesty chicken wings.
Kim Klopstock, the proprietor of Fifty South, creates toothsome and affordable edibles with as many local, organic, and free-trade ingredients as the chefs can gather. The delectable menu runs the gamut of morning, midday, and evening meals and caters to guests of every dietary persuasion and level of wizardry. Diners seeking an inventive plate can indulge in the maple-glazed wild Tasmanian salmon ($15) or the grilled aged Angus filet mignon ($16). Salads such as the gorgonzola- and balsamic-adorned blackened steak salad ($13) or the house maple-vinaigrette-drizzled Francine’s poached-pear salad ($9) wed verdant greens with luscious meats or fruits in a delectable ceremony sans ill-fitting cummerbunds and awkward toasts.
Chefs' spatulas have flipped pancakes and eggs in The Silver Spoon’s kitchen since 1983. In 1996, Jeff and Sue Doyle took over the neighborhood staple, leading Mark Roessler of the Valley Advocate to laud its current incarnation for its specialty, the Crow’s Nest: a bed of hash browns and poached eggs doused in hollandaise sauce. Such delights come out of the kitchen all morning and afternoon on the arms of servers carefully delivering lunch and breakfast goodies to each table. Under the glow of stained-glass lighting, silverware clatters against plates as patrons, ready to dig in, perch upon red-upholstered booths flanked by dark wood wainscoting that gives the room the feel of a homey log cabin. Kids' menus are also available for breakfast and lunch, with offerings of kid-size french toast and chicken fingers.:m]]
Named Best of the Valley for late-night dining in 2011 by the Valley Advocate, Route 9 Diner serves an extensive menu of made-from-scratch entrees 24 hours a day. Homemade baked meatloaf comes smothered in a mushroom sauce ($10.25), and the stuffed filet of sole florentine prepares for travel to hungry diners by packing a savory suitcase of feta cheese and spinach and checking a bag of collectible forks ($14.95). Experience the sweet side of breakfast with m&m pancakes ($6.45) or peanut-butter-chip waffles ($6.75). Or dare unhinged jawbones with a bevy of 7-ounce steak and specialty burgers piled high with jalapeños, mushrooms, or sautéed onions ($4.25–$7.95). Owners Chris and Archie blend into the staff as they patrol the classic tiled floors and counter service to cook and serve their specialties. Route 9 Diner's menu and pricing—like a superhero's nightclubbing alter ego—is subject to change after 9 p.m.
Lucky Strike Restaurant’s hearty menu of nostalgic comfort fare carries on a tradition that dates back to 1955, when its building was converted from a bowling alley. The signature broasted chicken ($9.50 for three-piece dinner) slices succulent cuts of poultry turned golden by a signature cooking method pioneered by founder Charlie Dugre in the 1960s after froasting and troasting failed to catch on. Bone-in, center-cut pork chops ($12.50) add a choice of two sides to their already-significant bulk, much like a Santa tucking an extra pillow under his suit. At lunch, a platter of fish 'n' chips nets the catch-of-the-day before broasting it and mating it with fries and slaw ($8.95), and breakfast, starting at 6 a.m., lifts lids and perks up taste buds with a flock of omelets ($3.95–$6.50) and meat-centric Hungry Man platters ($7.25–$7.95).