The parking lot is striped, the brand-new chairs are neatly stacked atop the brand-new dining tables, the occupancy permit has been obtained. The only things missing are employees, customers, an unlocked front door — and a short stack of pancakes or two.
The IHOP restaurant that was built last fall and this winter at 3324 Benchwood Road near the Miller Lane/York Commons development in Vandalia is all revved up and ready to go, but it still has not opened. And no one is saying exactly why.
Messages were left with a spokeswoman for IHOP corporate, the CEO of the company that is acting as area developer for IHOP in the region and with a franchise owner-operator of the Dayton-area IHOP restaurants in Beavercreek, Huber Heights and Springfield. Those messages have not been returned.
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A spokeswoman for Las Cruces, New Mexico-based PDG/Prestige Development Group, the development company that has overseen development of the other three Dayton-Springfield IHOPs, told this news outlet in January that the restaurant was scheduled to open in early February. In late January, the spokeswoman revised the opening date to mid-March. Last week, on April 13, the same spokeswoman said, “I don’t yet have a date” for the restaurant’s opening.
Rich Hopkins, a spokesman for the city of Vandalia, said there are no hangups from the city’s perspective, and city officials have not been notified of the reasons for the delay. In fact, the restaurant received its occupancy permit from the city — usually the final or nearly final bureaucratic step necessary before a retail establishment’s opening — on Feb. 2.
Potential customers are getting curious and a bit impatient.
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“I get inquiries on it all the time by community members and business people,” said Will Roberts, president and CEO of the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce. An employee of the Frisch’s restaurant across the street said she is asked about the dormant-but-brand-new restaurant by many of her customers.
>>RELATED: IHOP moves ahead with Dayton-area expansion plans (January 2016)
If or when the restaurant does open, IHOP will have doubled its Miami Valley footprint since last summer as part of the chain’s re-entry into the Dayton-area market. An IHOP opened Sept. 5, 2017 at 7611 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights.
IHOP opened the first of what had been projected to be as many as seven IHOP locations in the region in October 2015 on North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek, and the second one in October 2016 on Bechtle Avenue in Springfield.
>>RELATED: IHOP opening two more Dayton-area locations (December 2016)
The region had multiple IHOP locations in the 1970s and 1980s, including one near Ohio 725 and Ohio 741 near the Dayton Mall and one on Shiloh Springs Road near the former Salem Mall, but those restaurants closed nearly three decades ago.