The iconic International House of Pancakes restaurant chain with the A-frame buildings and the multiple flavors of syrups goes back to 1958, and while the chain went through a period of decline for a while, it seems that it has really started to get its act together in the last few years.
The Hybla Valley IHOP branch is a pleasurable place to go eat, with a refurbished interior and an updated menu that brings it in line with all-meal restaurants such as Bob Evans.
From burgers and sandwiches, to meat and fish platters, IHOP has decent-looking food for any time of the day, but that's not why you come to the place. You come to IHOP for the yummy breakfast items. And while they have various French toasts (including stuffed) and waffles, you probably come here for the excellent pancakes, along with some side dishes.
After a number of errands in the area, we wanted to find a diner-type place for lunch that wasn't too far away from where we were shopping. I thought long and hard until I turned around and looked right at the famous IHOP building. Yup, it was pancakes for lunch.
The restaurant was neatly decorated for the holiday season. Being after the regular lunch time, it was very quiet in there, if you don't count the loud holiday music blaring out of the ceiling speakers. We were quickly greeted and seated and set up with menus.
There wasn't much thinking to be done about what to choose. I went with a blueberry pancakes combo (hold the blueberry topping) with sides of eggs, bacon and hash browns (crispy, please).
Everything was cooked to order, and quickly. I especially enjoyed the pancakes because it gave me another chance to try all of their syrups. I started with the standard pancake syrup, but quickly moved on to the natural-tasting blueberry syrup and finished up with the tasty butter pecan syrup, which was more buttery-tasting and less sweet than the standard pancake syrup.
Unfortunately, since I only got a stack of two pancakes, I wasn't able to try the neon-red strawberry syrup this trip. I always enjoy trying the different syrups they have, but I can't help but miss the original line up of syrups, which included their fantastic boysenberry syrup.
No, the food offered at IHOP will not help your diet. The side dishes in particular won't convince anybody that the place has lost touch with its greasy spoon roots. But considering the lack of diner options in the area, it is nice to have this place in the neighborhood for those times when you are craving tasty breakfast food.
7694 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, VA 22306
Hours: Sun - Thu, 7 a.m. to midnight; Fri, Sat, 7 a.m. - 3 a.m.