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Posted May 30, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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IHOP reopens in Winchester

IHOP reopened
The IHOP on Front Royal Pike in Winchester reopened earlier this month after a fire damaged the restaurant in February. Dennis Grundman/Daily

IHOP construction
An IHOP is being constructed at Round Hill Crossing on Hwy. 50. Dennis Grundman/Daily

Second local restaurant being built

By James Heffernan -- jheffernan@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- A stack of pancakes at 2 a.m. is back on the menu.

The International House of Pancakes at 170 Front Royal Pike reopened May 23 after sustaining heavy smoke damage from a fire in February.

IHOP area supervisor Michael Taylor said Friday it's been a long couple of months, but the community has been patient and supportive during the renovation.

"Everybody's glad to see us back," he said. "We built a good customer base over the years."

The restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 24 hours a day, was able to rehire the majority of its work force, he said.

Meanwhile, a second IHOP under construction at Round Hill Crossing off U.S. 50, west of the city, is scheduled to open in late July.

Company spokesman Dan Ischy said the new location will be a typical 5,000-square-foot IHOP restaurant, with between 60 and 90 full- and part-time employees and a seating capacity of around 190.

Franchisee Milton Koerner, of Purcellville, also operates IHOP restaurants in Leesburg, Sterling and Frederick, Md. The Front Royal Pike location is owned and operated by CFRA Inc., of Concord, N.C.

IHOP will join its sister franchise, Applebee's, at Round Hill Crossing, which is anchored by a Wal-Mart supercenter. Both restaurant brands are wholly owned subsidiaries of DineEquity Inc.

The closing of the IHOP on Front Royal Pike temporarily left the area without a 24-hour breakfast chain.

Waffle House's two locations in Winchester and a third in Stephens City have been closed since franchise operator Northlake Foods, of Tampa, Fla., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September.

Waffle House has since taken control of more than 100 of Northlake's former restaurants in the Southeast, and is considering reopening some stores that closed during the bankruptcy process.

Crews were seen working Thursday at the Stephens City location, which has a sign on the door stating it is closed for renovations and directing customers to other area Waffle Houses. According to the company's Web site, the closest restaurants are now in Harrisonburg and Inwood, W.Va.

A similar message greets visitors at the Waffle House at 1805 S. Pleasant Valley Road in Winchester, but the company's landmark yellow sign has been taken down at 980 Millwood Pike.

Jon Waller, general counsel for Norcross, Ga.-based Waffle House, could not be reached for comment Friday.

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