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    Post #1 - October 30th, 2008, 7:03 am
    Post #1 - October 30th, 2008, 7:03 am Post #1 - October 30th, 2008, 7:03 am
    From the 24 hour/late night restaurants closing earlier - Why?
    G Wiv (talking about IHop) wrote:Good one Shecky, you had me going for a second.
    riddlemay (Still talking about IHop) wrote:Your incredulousness that I could be serious (which I am) makes me feel less like a comedian than a scientist who's made a major discovery! Moreover one that's been right in front of our faces all along.

    Riddlemay,

    Fearing I have finally become one of the crowd, in Hammond's wonderfully evocative words, of overly sensitive coterie of effete and self-important snooty- pants dilettantes, with my off the cuff dismissal of IHop I had breakfast there yesterday.

    First it should be noted that the IHop, at least the one at 5929 N Lincoln is not 24-hours, it's open 6am to Midnight. Far as IHop in general, it was a semi regular breakfast stop in the late 70's early 80's when I was a young single fellow living on Oakland Ave in Milwaukee. George Web was my standard breakfast joint, but if I had company for breakfast I would pony up for something a little fancier. Nothing says style like 5-types of syrup and booth seating instead of stools ringed around a horse shoe counter. ;)

    I was fairly surprised at how pleasant I found the Lincoln Ave IHop, comfortable tables, clean as a whistle, friendly informed waiter, streaming sunlight for reading the newspaper and taking pictures and a general feeling of good will toward customers, some of which were greeted by name as they entered.

    My breakfast was prepared with care by a short order cook with skill, egg still runny, hash browns crisp, pancake light, though grill skill could not elevate the quality of the basic ingredients, watery light cure ham, low grade sausage, tiny egg and shook from a freezer bag hash browns. The food looked good, though there is no comparison to Moon's, Patty's Diner, neither of which are 24-hours, or even Diner Grill, Jeri's, Two Way or White Palace, which are open 24-hours.

    IHop Senior Special, $4.99

    Image

    Prices are low, my Senior Special was a reasonable $4.99 and IHop is currently offering the Ultimate Bacon and Sausage combo w/eggs and hash browns which includes all the buttermilk pancakes you can eat for $7.99. There is also a full lunch and dinner menu with chicken fried steak and country gravy and an LTHForum You Ate What? bumper sticker to the first to try Grilled Tilapia Hollandaise.

    Truthfully IHop, at least the one on Lincoln Ave, is not a bad choice for common denominator dining, friendly people, reasonable prices and just ok food. Not the LTH way, but it seems a good example of the national mass appeal chain.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    IHop
    5929 N Lincoln Ave
    Chicago, IL 60659
    773-769-1550
    6am - Midnight
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - October 30th, 2008, 7:21 am
    Post #2 - October 30th, 2008, 7:21 am Post #2 - October 30th, 2008, 7:21 am
    Gary, I'm really glad you found your visit to IHOP to be at least a reasonable experience. In my posts on the other thread, I was trying to get across that it certainly wasn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, but on the other hand, didn't deserve "avoid like the plague" status either. That, in itself, was the major discovery--since I always had put it in the latter category, and suspected that most here did as well.

    One day soon I'm going to check out Diner Grill, since I've only passed by it 243,801 times.
  • Post #3 - October 30th, 2008, 7:36 am
    Post #3 - October 30th, 2008, 7:36 am Post #3 - October 30th, 2008, 7:36 am
    used to eat at the one on North Avenue in Oak Park usually while nursing a hangover (around that same time period) and like you say its not the best but it cetainly isnt the worst..good breakfast for a good price...it is what it is
    I remember when they put crepes on the menu but never had the guts or gastrintestinal fortitude to try them
    First Place BBQ Sauce - 2010 NBBQA ( Natl BBQ Assoc) Awards of Excellence
  • Post #4 - October 30th, 2008, 7:59 am
    Post #4 - October 30th, 2008, 7:59 am Post #4 - October 30th, 2008, 7:59 am
    It may depend on the location. I was to one very close to the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, NJ about 3 years ago and it was pretty dismal.

    But in what universe does Gary qualify for a "Senior Special"????
    Leek

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  • Post #5 - October 30th, 2008, 9:07 am
    Post #5 - October 30th, 2008, 9:07 am Post #5 - October 30th, 2008, 9:07 am
    Years ago an ad agency I worked for was trying to win the advertising account for the IHOP owners group in Illinois (franchisees usually pool ad money together in such groups in larger markets) and a guy who knew the fast food business explained IHOP's place in the universe to us: "If you can afford it you get a McDonald's franchise, and if you can't you get a Burger King franchise, and if you can't afford that you get a Taco Bell franchise, and if you can't afford that you get a Dairy Queen franchise, and if you can't afford that you get an IHOP franchise." There may be the occasionally better than average IHOP in the system, I'm sure there is by definition, but I'd rather try almost any corner place run by a little guy who does things himself than an IHOP run by a little guy who thought it was a better idea to be part of a corporate food system with, as GWiv points out, the most generic foodservice ingredients.
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  • Post #6 - October 30th, 2008, 9:21 am
    Post #6 - October 30th, 2008, 9:21 am Post #6 - October 30th, 2008, 9:21 am
    Well, based on my actual experience... I sometimes go to IHOP when I'm out of town where I'm not familiar with local places. It's okay, not great, not terrible, and it's usually consistent from one location to another. I really liked one particular dish they had - their "country griddle" pancakes, which used cream of wheat in their preparation - but they recently removed it from their menu.

    Without that dish, my "go to" chain for breakfast in smaller towns is Cracker Barrel, which is pretty darn good - e.g. serving real butter and real maple syrup with their pancakes. (That shouldn't be so unusual, but it is.)

    I also look for the Original Pancake House (same franchise as our local Walker Brothers locations), although they're not in as many places as IHOP or Cracker Barrel. However, they have a problem with consistency; some places (in addition to WB) are great, some are terrible (including the one in Milwaukee-suburban Brookfield).

    I've also been to some little mom and pop type places that were absolutely dreadful (you don't want to know), so the strategy of choosing a local place over a chain isn't always successful.
  • Post #7 - October 30th, 2008, 10:04 am
    Post #7 - October 30th, 2008, 10:04 am Post #7 - October 30th, 2008, 10:04 am
    My last three experiences at IHOP in Crystal Lake have been very satisfactory. The food has been well prepared and the value is really there.

    The lunch/dinner menu is very weak and unappealing. There is no creativity as to the entrees. Therefore, I order the standards.

    While I would prefer to eat at Richard Walker's down the street, RW charges at least twice what IHOP does. $15 for breakfast is beyond my budget.
  • Post #8 - October 30th, 2008, 10:05 am
    Post #8 - October 30th, 2008, 10:05 am Post #8 - October 30th, 2008, 10:05 am
    nsxtasy wrote:I've also been to some little mom and pop type places that were absolutely dreadful (you don't want to know), so the strategy of choosing a local place over a chain isn't always successful.

    NSX,

    I would much rather, and often do, spin the wheel on an unknown independent local place on the off chance it will be stellar, or at least an interesting experience, rather than playing it safe with a national chain I know will be mediocre at best.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - October 30th, 2008, 10:22 am
    Post #9 - October 30th, 2008, 10:22 am Post #9 - October 30th, 2008, 10:22 am
    Head's Red BBQ wrote:I remember when they put crepes on the menu but never had the guts or gastrintestinal fortitude to try them


    The only time we'd go to an IHOP was when I was a kid and we were en route to the Cape (I think there was one right over the Buzzard's Bay bridge, but I digress). Otherwise, my parents were strictly Greek diner breakfast people. This is sort of embarrassing to admit but when we'd go to IHOP my go-to dish was the "German pancakes," which I think was part of the "International Crepes" section of the menu. I think there was also a Swedish crepe with lingonberry jam. Granted, I was like 14 or 15, but I recall the "German" pancakes being served with just powdered sugar and a lemon, so they were very plain, but I recall thinking that the lemon added a bit of tartness and balance to this otherwise overly sweet dish, which I liked. (Don't ask me why the combo of powdered sugar and lemon made that "German.")I don't recall having any gastrointestinal issues as a result. :wink:

    P.S. Looking at the menu for the Delaware IHOP, there still are "International Crepes," and while the Swedish and French versions are still on the menu, my beloved German ones are no longer.

    P.P.S. I'll be damned, my old German crepes show up as part of this Wikipedia Entry on IHOP:

    Wikipedia wrote:The "international" appellation of the chain derives from its three core crepe-style pancakes: "German" (served with powdered sugar and lemon butter with lemon slices), "French" (served with orange marmalade), and "Swedish" (served with lingonberries and lingonberry butter). These fruit-topped crepes are offered with an egg-and-meat plate as the "International Passport Breakfast". Menu offerings such as French toast and Belgian waffles further reinforce the international theme.[citation needed]
    Last edited by aschie30 on October 30th, 2008, 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #10 - October 30th, 2008, 10:27 am
    Post #10 - October 30th, 2008, 10:27 am Post #10 - October 30th, 2008, 10:27 am
    aschie30 wrote:P.S. Looking at the menu for the Delaware IHOP, there still are "International Crepes," and while the Swedish and French versions are still on the menu, my beloved German ones are no longer.


    Get thee to a Walker Bros. or an Original Pancake House and order the Dutch Baby. You can go home again.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #11 - October 30th, 2008, 10:33 am
    Post #11 - October 30th, 2008, 10:33 am Post #11 - October 30th, 2008, 10:33 am
    stevez wrote:
    aschie30 wrote:P.S. Looking at the menu for the Delaware IHOP, there still are "International Crepes," and while the Swedish and French versions are still on the menu, my beloved German ones are no longer.


    Get thee to a Walker Bros. or an Original Pancake House and order the Dutch Baby. You can go home again.


    There it is on Walker Bros.' menu:

    Walker Bros. wrote:THE DUTCH BABY
    A smaller version of the German Pancake with all the tradition, perfectly sized for smaller appetites.
    With fresh strawberries & bananas for an additional charge

    GERMAN PANCAKE
    A thin and delicate, plate-filling oven-baked pancake dusted with powdered sugar and served with lemon on the side. Our lightest pancake treat!


    I've never been to Walker Bros. Time to make the trek. Thanks, Steve!
  • Post #12 - October 30th, 2008, 10:35 am
    Post #12 - October 30th, 2008, 10:35 am Post #12 - October 30th, 2008, 10:35 am
    jlawrence01 wrote:The food [at IHOP] has been well prepared and the value is really there.

    This is a good point, and one I meant to mention but forgot.

    The bill for the mrs. and myself was $16 and change, including tax. Neither one of us "skimped" in order to keep the total down--we ordered what we normally would. In her case, pancakes with an egg on the side, in my case, eggs with pancakes on the side. She had a pot of coffee.

    The bill pleasantly astonished me. I'm sure the tab would have been the same at some other diners around town. But not at any that I've been to lately. In these times, this matters more.
  • Post #13 - October 30th, 2008, 10:41 am
    Post #13 - October 30th, 2008, 10:41 am Post #13 - October 30th, 2008, 10:41 am
    aschie30 wrote:I've never been to Walker Bros. Time to make the trek. Thanks, Steve!


    Be sure to ask for extra lemon and powdered sugar. They never give you enough...especially if you like it lemony.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - October 30th, 2008, 11:36 am
    Post #14 - October 30th, 2008, 11:36 am Post #14 - October 30th, 2008, 11:36 am
    G Wiv wrote:I would much rather, and often do, spin the wheel on an unknown independent local place on the off chance it will be stellar, or at least an interesting experience, rather than playing it safe with a national chain I know will be mediocre at best.

    Your statement continues to ignore actual experience (which I don't know why anyone would discount). Once I've tried the independents in a small town and found them to be universally awful (as in certain towns I can name), I'm no longer "spinning the wheel" by choosing chains over them; I'm simply taking the best option available.

    Incidentally, your use of the phrase "interesting experience" is reminiscent of the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times", perhaps intentionally so. :wink:
  • Post #15 - October 30th, 2008, 11:44 am
    Post #15 - October 30th, 2008, 11:44 am Post #15 - October 30th, 2008, 11:44 am
    nsxtasy wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:I would much rather, and often do, spin the wheel on an unknown independent local place on the off chance it will be stellar, or at least an interesting experience, rather than playing it safe with a national chain I know will be mediocre at best.

    Your statement continues to ignore actual experience (which I don't know why anyone would discount). Once I've tried the independents in a small town and found them to be universally awful (as in certain towns I can name), I'm no longer "spinning the wheel" by choosing chains over them; I'm simply taking the best option available.

    Incidentally, your use of the phrase "interesting experience" is reminiscent of the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times", perhaps intentionally so. :wink:

    I generally prefer to 'roll the dice' with an uknown independent because experiences I've had a chains like Cracker Barrel and Bob Evans have been so notably awful that it's hard to imagine any place doing worse. The problem for me is that many times when I travel, I find myself in places where chains are the only option.

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

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  • Post #16 - October 30th, 2008, 11:58 am
    Post #16 - October 30th, 2008, 11:58 am Post #16 - October 30th, 2008, 11:58 am
    Head's Red BBQ wrote:I remember when they put crepes on the menu but never had the guts or gastrintestinal fortitude to try them

    I made the mistake of trying IHOP crepes last year. Think very thin, mediocre pancake stuffed with canned pie filling and rolled, topped with non-dairy whipped topping.

    As my dad used to say, I've had them 3 times: The first time, the last time, and never again.

    My other problem with IHOP? I'm a maple syrup snob. I just have a problem with maple flavored high fructose corn syrup junk. Even if it is artificially blueberry flavored. Ah well, to each their own.
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #17 - October 30th, 2008, 12:24 pm
    Post #17 - October 30th, 2008, 12:24 pm Post #17 - October 30th, 2008, 12:24 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I generally prefer to 'roll the dice' with an uknown independent because experiences I've had a chains like Cracker Barrel and Bob Evans have been so notably awful that it's hard to imagine any place doing worse.

    Again, my point is that "rolling the dice" doesn't always work. And if and when you find out that the independent is worse than the chain, you are no longer "rolling the dice".

    FWIW, I've found quite a variation from one chain to another. I would rank the breakfast chains as follows:

    1. Original Pancake House (with a qualifier that some locations aren't as good as others)
    2. Cracker Barrel
    3. IHOP
    4. Denny's
    .
    .
    .
    100. Bob Evans

    :lol:

    RAB wrote:My other problem with IHOP? I'm a maple syrup snob. I just have a problem with maple flavored high fructose corn syrup junk. Even if it is artificially blueberry flavored. Ah well, to each their own.

    Well, then I am a maple syrup (not corn syrup) snob, a butter (not margarine) snob, and a fresh orange juice (not from concentrate) snob. And many of the small-town independents (at least, of the ones I've been to) don't serve or stock any of the three. (At least in the state of Wisconsin, there's a state law requiring that butter be available.)
  • Post #18 - October 30th, 2008, 12:31 pm
    Post #18 - October 30th, 2008, 12:31 pm Post #18 - October 30th, 2008, 12:31 pm
    We'd given up on the Evanston IHOP a while ago, even though it's the only walking-distance sit-down breakfast for us. I will agree that some IHOPs are better than others and their regular breakfasts can be tolerable, but I strenuously object to the Sandra Lee-style promotional foods they offer, for instance:

    Coffee Cake Pancakes State-Inspired Pancakes
    Tour de French Toast
    Cinn-A-Stacks
    Let's not forget the aformentioned Fruit Crepes
  • Post #19 - October 30th, 2008, 12:47 pm
    Post #19 - October 30th, 2008, 12:47 pm Post #19 - October 30th, 2008, 12:47 pm
    If an option, ALWAYS go with Waffle House!
  • Post #20 - October 30th, 2008, 1:01 pm
    Post #20 - October 30th, 2008, 1:01 pm Post #20 - October 30th, 2008, 1:01 pm
    Believe me, Nsxtasy, we've all been to that small town, and there may be times when Bob Evans is as good as you're gonna get, but I keep searching for that little place as long as I can, because it keeps hope alive.
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  • Post #21 - October 30th, 2008, 1:01 pm
    Post #21 - October 30th, 2008, 1:01 pm Post #21 - October 30th, 2008, 1:01 pm
    The last time I was at IHOP was about 30 years ago. I ordered 'Corn Pancakes'. I expected some kind of corn meal pancakes. Instead I got regular pancakes with whole kernels of sweet corn. It was amazingly disgusting. Haven't felt the urge to go back since.
  • Post #22 - October 30th, 2008, 1:10 pm
    Post #22 - October 30th, 2008, 1:10 pm Post #22 - October 30th, 2008, 1:10 pm
    The last time I was at IHOP was about 30 years ago. I ordered 'Corn Pancakes'. I expected some kind of corn meal pancakes. Instead I got regular pancakes with whole kernels of sweet corn. It was amazingly disgusting. Haven't felt the urge to go back since.


    I make that all the time!* Grew up on it. It's delicious. Of course, I use the extra ear of corn I roasted for dinner the night before on the grill, not canned or frozen corn.

    * all the time=once or twice a year
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #23 - October 30th, 2008, 1:31 pm
    Post #23 - October 30th, 2008, 1:31 pm Post #23 - October 30th, 2008, 1:31 pm
    This article if from August 19th edition of the NYTimes - free with registration:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/20/dinin ... lebee.html

    It's about IHOP's CEO's vision for IHOP and Applebee's menu, and the limitations of customer's expectations and food prices.

    Personally - I have nothing against IHOP, and have eaten there, and probably will again. But if I have the time - I'll go to the Depot American Diner instead.
  • Post #24 - October 30th, 2008, 1:52 pm
    Post #24 - October 30th, 2008, 1:52 pm Post #24 - October 30th, 2008, 1:52 pm
    G Wiv wrote:My breakfast was prepared with care by a short order cook with skill, egg still runny, hash browns crisp, pancake light, though grill skill could not elevate the quality of the basic ingredients, watery light cure ham, low grade sausage, tiny egg and shook from a freezer bag hash browns.


    Here is the big problem. A short order cook with skill might be able to transform mediocre ingredients into something edible. But give a weak cook weak ingredients and you get BLECH.
  • Post #25 - October 30th, 2008, 2:04 pm
    Post #25 - October 30th, 2008, 2:04 pm Post #25 - October 30th, 2008, 2:04 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:I would rank the breakfast chains as follows:

    Distinction without a difference comes to mind.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - October 30th, 2008, 2:20 pm
    Post #26 - October 30th, 2008, 2:20 pm Post #26 - October 30th, 2008, 2:20 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:Again, my point is that "rolling the dice" doesn't always work.


    They call it "rolling the dice" because it is a gamble :wink:
  • Post #27 - October 30th, 2008, 5:45 pm
    Post #27 - October 30th, 2008, 5:45 pm Post #27 - October 30th, 2008, 5:45 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Distinction without a difference comes to mind.

    There's a huge difference between crap like Bob Evans, with their frozen OJ and margarine and corn syrup, and Cracker Barrel, which serves butter and maple syrup with their pancakes, and Walker Brothers, which serves the best apple pancake and German pancake on the planet (and whose more conventional breakfast dishes compare well with just about anyplace, too).

    RomanticCynic wrote:This article if from August 19th edition of the NYTimes - free with registration:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/20/dinin ... lebee.html

    It's about IHOP's CEO's vision for IHOP and Applebee's menu, and the limitations of customer's expectations and food prices.

    The article, which appeared in August, claims that IHOP's menu was modified so that their locations serve fresh OJ. I ate at an IHOP in Michigan earlier this month, and their OJ was definitely from frozen concentrate. (I sent it back.)
  • Post #28 - October 30th, 2008, 7:40 pm
    Post #28 - October 30th, 2008, 7:40 pm Post #28 - October 30th, 2008, 7:40 pm
    You hit on the biggest issue with Bob Evans: How can you be "down on the farm" and not serve butter at all. I understand offering a choice -- some people still prefer whipped vegetable fats to dairy fats (I still think my tombstone will read "It was the butterfat did him in"), but margarine on pancakes sucks.

    On the other hand, I don't hate Denny's. IHOP can be cloying, and stay away from anything that would make you say, "Hey, that could be interesting," but is usually pretty safe. I've never had Cracker Barrel for breakfast, may have to try that. An Original Pancake House or a Waffle House is usuall better than any of those.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #29 - October 30th, 2008, 8:32 pm
    Post #29 - October 30th, 2008, 8:32 pm Post #29 - October 30th, 2008, 8:32 pm
    Perkins is the chain I actually always thought was pretty good for breakfast. Do they still exist? Must be regional, as I never see them around here.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #30 - October 30th, 2008, 8:36 pm
    Post #30 - October 30th, 2008, 8:36 pm Post #30 - October 30th, 2008, 8:36 pm
    Mike G wrote:Perkins is the chain I actually always thought was pretty good for breakfast. Do they still exist? Must be regional, as I never see them around here.


    They are based in Minneapolis and are well disbursed throughout the Midwest but not in Chicago.

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