IHOP hits Waikiki starting June 13
Another IHOP planned for Windward Mall faces delays
Oahu residents craving IHOP pancakes will soon be indulged with the opening of the first IHOP in Waikiki. The restaurant is scheduled to open June 13 in the Ohana Waikiki Malia Hotel on Kuhio Avenue.
"I'm glad to be a part of such a strong demand for pancakes," franchise holder Vince Espino said.
Espino and his wife, Sarah, who is president of Hawaii-based Union MAK Corp., moved from San Francisco to open the new Waikiki IHOP. Although restaurant hours have not been determined, 24-hour operation is a possibility.
"I love pancakes so much that I sometimes have pancake get-togethers at my house," local resident Michael Sakaba said. "Now my friends and I will have a new place to eat pancakes."
The Waikiki IHOP may be the only franchise to open on Oahu this year, IHOP spokesman Don Miller said.
Plans submitted for an IHOP at Windward Mall failed to meet several federal and state regulations, and the restaurant's opening has been delayed.
According to franchisee Rennie West, no contractor has been hired for the Windward Mall IHOP yet, but the blueprints have been drawn. West, who also owns the IHOP in Kahului, Maui, applied for a building permit last July.
Once West submits plans with the necessary agency approvals to the city, a building permit can be issued that day, said Honolulu building division chief Timothy Hue.
"It really is not typical for a store to take this long to open," said Windward Mall marketing manager Sherri Coronas.
Many people stop by or call Windward Mall's management office with questions about IHOP's status. Coronas said she tells them that the project has been "put on hold."
Working across from the IHOP site, Local Motion employee Mallory Tavares is often asked the same question.
"It's been pretty frustrating, especially since I have no idea when they will open," Tavares said. "I don't think anyone knows, not even the owner."