Short time for short stacks at iconic Raleigh IHOP

Posted April 4, 2016 1:54 p.m. EDT
Updated April 4, 2016 3:02 p.m. EDT

— An iconic eatery on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh is set to close this weekend.

The IHOP that still boasts an International House of Pancakes sign and the chain's signature blue-roofed A-frame building will stop serving customers at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

"It's kind of bittersweet," said Richard Baker, who has served customers at the restaurant since the 1980s. "It’s like a second home for me."

The IHOP opened in 1968 and is one of the last A-frame restaurants in the country – the chain stopped building them in 1979.

"I see people who actually have their babies – they were pregnant when they (first) came in, and the kids are now in college," Baker said.

District manager Todd Keller said a new IHOP will open at 2:30 p.m. Sunday about a mile-and-a-half west on Hillsborough Street, in the first floor of the Stanhope building, which provides housing for North Carolina State University students.

"We’re still the same IHOP. We’re just a newer, more modern, more comfortable location," Keller said, noting the new restaurant will be able to accommodate more customers and meets newer building codes.

"It’s nice to have the new building – state-of-the-art stuff – but we’ll miss the old place," he said.

Customers – some of whom have visited the old IHOP for decades – agreed that it will take some time to get used to the new location.

"This place is connected to so many enjoyable times of our lives, when the boys were little and before they were born," said Bill Erwin, who has eaten at the IHOP with his wife and family for more than 40 years.

"We were really sad," Erwin's wife, Heidrun, said of the move to the new IHOP. "It won’t be the same atmosphere."

Keller said so many customers stopped by on Sunday after learning about the impending closure that the staff ran out of food and had to make a run to a supermarket to buy supplies.

"People are coming out in droves to kind of just get one last meal in there," he said.

Sergio Mazul was among those grabbing a meal at the old IHOP to be able to say he ate there.

"It makes us old and feel nostalgic at the same time," Mazul said. "There’s still something about it that kind of takes you back."