IHOP coming to Athens

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By Steve Robb Messenger Staff Journalist




An International House of Pancakes restaurant will be opening in a few months on East State Street in Athens, according to a company official.

“Our goal is to be open before Thanksgiving,” said Tommy Tsitouris, who will be part owner of the restaurant and is vice president of operations for IHOP franchisee Sharp Holding Inc.

“We’ll reface the whole front of that part of the building,” Tsitouris said. A heated patio with a fireplace will be added for outdoor dining and have seating for 40 people. There will be inside seating for about 200.

“It’s going to be a nice-sized restaurant,” Tsitouris said.

In addition to the full IHOP menu, the restaurant will have a coffee bar, he said.

The restaurant will employ about 120-130 people, according to Tsitouris, including five managers. Donna Corsic has been hired as the general manager.

The plan is for the restaurant to be open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays, with hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. other days of the week.

IHOP has been interested in locating in Athens for a few years, and three or four years ago looked at the vacant Ponderosa restaurant building on East State, but Tsitouris said another project came along and locating a site in Athens was put on the back burner for a while. (The Ponderosa building has since been demolished and will be the site of a Steak ‘N Shake restaurant.)

“The location we’re at now, we’re very pleased with it,” Tsitouris said.

The Athens restaurant will be the 23rd IHOP restaurant for Sharp Holding Inc., and its second in Ohio. An IHOP opened in Marietta in January.

The Messenger published a story in April 2017 surveying local residents on what they believed the community needed (Headline: “What an Athenien needs”). In terms of food, an IHOP restaurant was among the most-oft requested chains.