Syrup synergy? IHOP, replacement Waffle House coming to Fillmore
In any event, the facts say that an International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is being built at the northwest corner of that intersection, catty-corner from the existing Waffle House, and that the latter's 43-year-old restaurant at the southeast corner is going to be replaced with a new one.
In interviews, representatives for both breakfast-geared restaurant companies insisted that the other's existence did not enter into their decision-making.
Justin Perry, part of a local family that owns four other IHOP franchises in the Colorado Springs area (plus one each in Canon City and Pueblo), said the site was chosen because “we considered the location underdeveloped for a sit-down family restaurant.”
Other factors, he said, include proximity to the recently rebuilt Fillmore/I-25 interchange and the development up the hill around Fillmore and Centennial - particularly the Lindstrom VA Clinic and the plans for a Penrose-St. Francis hospital.
In addition, the under-development Fillmore West Retail Center, of which the new restaurant is a part, is reasonably spaced from the family's other IHOP locations, Perry said.
It's too early yet to predict an opening day for the new eatery, but it could happen before July, he said. In the meantime, hiring is going on, with the expectation of a 60-person staff in all.
The family's ownership of IHOPs in the region dates back to 1983 (the Southgate store), he related.
Perry described the Fillmore building's 4,850 square feet (with seating for more than 170 people) as medium-sized for an IHOP. But he's proud to point out that it will be the first in Colorado to sport the new IHOP logo (see photo at top of page) and an interior design that features “more natural materials” with a look that's a “blend of contemporary and retro.”
Nationwide, the IHOP website states that, just over half a century after being started by entrepreneurs in Toluca Lake, California, the company now has more than 1,400 locations “coast to coast.”
As for the planned Waffle House restaurant replacement, the timing with IHOP was described as coincidental
“We've been there a long time,” said company spokesperson Pat Warner from his office in Alabama. “We obviously love the site and want to stay there.”
Since its construction in 1974, the building (which seats about 40 people) has been remodeled multiple times, but age has finally taken its toll, he summarized. “We look at all our buildings in all stages to keep our facilities updated.”
Other than a larger storage and cooler area, the replacement restaurant will have about the same size (1,620 square feet) and shape as the one that's there now . “We call it the shoebox,” Warner said, noting that diners are used to that design - in which the kitchen is at one end so they can watch the food being grilled - and “we want people to feel at home when they walk in.”
The replacement project is having to go through a city review. The site consists of two lots. A rezone on one lot is needed to meet code requirements for parking, landscaping and ADA access, according to the project submittal by a contracted local planning firm.
Because the city process is not predictable, Warner could not say when the demolition will occur, but he estimated sometime this year, with the business having to be closed when it happens for two to three months.
The Waffle House franchise on Fillmore had been owned for many years by Colorado Springs resident Richard Bruce, but he recently retired. The restaurant is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Waffle House Inc.
However, that doesn't mean the company - which was started in 1955 by two men from Avondale Estates, Georgia, and now has 1,840 stores in 25 states - isn't trying to stay in touch with its Westside Colorado Springs location. Waffle House officials see each restaurant in the chain as “that community's restaurant,” Warner said, and understand “that the customers have a relationship with their cook and waitress. We will try to keep that intact.”
Westside Pioneer article