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IHOP: The Restaurant for Breakfast Food Fanatics

Oct 23, 2004 (Updated Oct 28, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good breakfasts; Breakfast served all the time

Cons:Few selections for lunch or dinner; Boring atmosphere

The Bottom Line: IHOP is a good choice for breakfast, but it earns failing grades for lunch and dinner.

Where does one go at 6pm when he/she feels the need for breakfast food? If you’re one of those people who loves eggs, pancakes, waffles, and the like, you already know that few dining establishments exist that serve breakfast outside of the traditional breakfast hours of 7am to approx. 11:30am. This can be a real bummer for those who prefer an afternoon or evening meal of sausage biscuits, scrambled eggs, and buttered toast to a meal of steak, potatoes, and vegetables.

Fortunately for breakfast lovers, there are a few restaurants that serve traditional morning food around the clock. And the best- known in the bunch is IHOP, a restaurant known for its selection of pancakes, eggs, omelets, and other breakfast- type foods.

Menu Selection:

A visit to IHOP presents the following menu options for its hungry customers:

Appetizers- Selections here include cheese sticks, chicken strips, garlic cheese bread, and a few other choices.

Soup/Salads- In this area of the menu, you will usually find one or two selections each of soup and salads.

Breakfast- The mainstay of the menu, you can choose between pancakes (about 10 to 15 styles), omelets (about 5 choices), egg breakfast (about 5 to 10 choices), waffles and French toast (about 5 to 10 choices), and several signature breakfasts, which includes combinations of the above foods plus bacon, sausage, toast, muffins, and other foods.

Burgers/Sandwiches- Choose among different burgers, patty melt, philly cheese steak, turkey club, BLT, and chicken sandwich.

Dinner Entrees- Pot roast, T-bone steak, country fried steak, chicken strips, grilled chicken breast, shrimp, and a few other choices can be found in the dinner section.

Kid’s Menu- Children can select among choices like a chocolate chip pancake, egg sandwich, cheese omelet, French toast, hamburger, chicken strips, etc.

Desserts- IHOP has a few desserts, like apple crisp, sundaes, fruit crepes, and ice cream served by the scoop.

IHOP also offers a senior’s menu and beverages that include milk, orange juice, tomato juice, grapefruit juice, coffee, tea, and assorted soft drinks.


There isn’t much to say about the dcor inside the typical IHOP restaurant. Some locations have a small store at the entrance (similar to Cracker Barrel restaurant, but smaller) to give people something to do while they wait for a table. But other than that, the atmosphere is pretty bland and ordinary. The inside of each restaurant is large, with tables and booths designed to hold between 100 and 150 customers dressed in colors like blue, red, and gray. But there is no theme; few decorations on the walls; and piped in music that is barely audible.


IHOP offers a pretty good deal on a meal. Most everything on the menu sells for less than $10 and breakfast foods are often sold at a price of only $4 to $7 per platter. This makes IHOP a very good value compared to other restaurants.

Customer Service:

This restaurant gets a passing grade for customer service. I like the fact that you can pay your check by walking to the front cash register because this saves time (you don’t have to wait for the waitress to come back to your table). And the waitresses, while not lightning- fast or exceptional, still manage to get the job done. It can get busy at times, but they do the best they can.

Final Thoughts:

IHOP was founded on July 7, 1958, in Toluca Lake, California and has since grown to more than 1,150 locations in every U.S. state except Vermont. There are also locations in Canada. This chain was founded as a place that specialized in breakfast foods, especially pancakes. Today, IHOP serves other foods as well as breakfast, but the primary emphasis is still on pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and the like. And unlike most other restaurants, you can order breakfast any time of day. Most locations are open from 7am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday and from 7am to 12 midnight on Friday and Saturday, which means there is plenty of time for breakfast lovers to find their favorite meal for sale at this establishment.

IHOP is known mostly for its breakfast foods and this is the main reason I eat here. There are about ten to fifteen different pancake selections and depending on my mood, I usually order the Harvest grain and nut pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, or pecan pancakes. The pancakes have never failed to disappoint and I like the fact that IHOP has four or five different flavors of syrup (maple, blueberry, and other flavors) to choose from. The syrup is left on the tables at all times, in much the same way that other restaurants leave catsup, salt, pepper, and other condiments on the tables at all times. And if you order coffee, they will leave a full pot right there, on your table, so you don’t have to wait for refills.

IHOP is the abbreviated and preferred name for this restaurant, but in the old days, it was referred to by its full name, International House of Pancakes. I’m not certain what year the company decided to shorten the official name to IHOP, but I’m pretty sure this was done to de-emphasize the breakfast food and let people know that IHOP serves other foods too. It’s nice that the menu includes other food choices, but this is one area where IHOP fails to deliver satisfaction. First of all, the lunch and dinner selections are too few, with only a handful of choices in each area. Second, the food is not all that good. I have sampled the Philly cheese steak, for example, and I wasn’t very impressed. It was too small and it didn’t taste anything like the more authentic Philly cheese steaks you can get at submarine sandwich restaurants. I have also tried the patty melt and it was equally unimpressive. Each of these sandwiches earned a grade of C to D+, which is a much lower assessment than I would give to the breakfast foods.

Because IHOP is still considered a place to go for breakfast, you need to be prepared for a long wait if you visit on Sunday morning or early Sunday afternoon. This is, of course, a popular time of the week for families to go out to eat and there is almost always a wait for a table at this time. If your IHOP location has a store, you can browse around at the gifts while you wait for a seat. During the evenings, there is usually no wait at all. IHOP does serve other foods, but most of the public thinks of this restaurant as a place for eggs and pancakes, which is why the seats are almost always clear during the late hours of the day.

I’m not big on breakfast, the way some people are, so I don’t even consider visiting IHOP unless it’s early in the day, on Saturday or Sunday. I don’t mind an occasional dining experience that includes pancakes or eggs, but only if it’s in the morning hours. Some people are breakfast freaks and can eat this type of food any time of day. But I like it only in the morning hours, which is one of the main reasons why I don’t even think about IHOP when I’m looking for a place to dine. Even if IHOP is mentioned by someone else in the car with me, during the afternoon or evening hours, I usually try to talk them out of it. The main reasons are the lack of menu options for lunch and dinner and the incredibly dull, lifeless atmosphere. If there was at least some type of theme, IHOP would be worth an occasional visit for lunch or dinner. But the lackluster menu options and the boring atmosphere make it the type of place I almost always reject.

For breakfast, though, I agree that IHOP is a pretty good place to dine out. The prices are low, and there is usually some type of special offer going on that makes the breakfast food even less expensive than usual. It’s a nice place for those who love to eat breakfast food 24/7 and even though I’m not one of those people, I’m going to give IHOP a marginal recommendation and a rating of three stars (2.5 would be more like it, but Epinions doesn’t allow half- star ratings). The lunch and dinner choices are abysmal, but I like the breakfast. And breakfast is the primary reason why IHOP exists and the main reason why it has developed so much loyalty among its customers. A sampling of the specialty pancakes and other breakfast foods will quickly win over even the most finicky among breakfast patrons.

Be Sure to Click the Links Below to Read Reviews of Other Full- Service Restaurants:

American Style Food:

Waffle House
Steak ‘n Shake
Cracker Barrel
Max & Erma’s
Golden Corral
Bob Evans
Hard Rock Cafe
Outback Steak House
Red Lobster
Texas Road House
Bill Knapp’s
Ground Round
Ruby Tuesday
Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q
Famous Dave’s
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe
Ryan’s Restaurant


Olive Garden
Romano’s Macaroni Grill


Chi- Chi’s

Recommend this product? Yes

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