IHOP is coming to Windward Mall, and this time we mean it
THE long-awaited IHOP at Windward Mall will become a reality by the first week of February at the latest. Yeah, yeah, you've read this before, in this space
But it's for real this time.
Vince and Sarah Espino, owner-operators of the Waikiki IHOP, have executed a lease for the Windward Mall space where Maui IHOP operators James and Rennie West previously tried and failed to put their own restaurant.
"You know, we were really hoping to open it earlier, but we're on track again and we're looking forward to the Windward (location)," Espino said.
Your columnist assured her that the Windward side of Oahu was looking forward to IHOP, too. It has been a very long wait for Oahu residents who fully expected to have an IHOP sooner than the Waikiki IHOP, which opened in June.
TheBuzz broke the news in 2003 that the Wests were in talks for an Oahu location. Then in 2005, TheBuzz reported that the Wests had signed a lease for a space at Windward Mall.
The mall's general manager, Jonathan Kim, had eagerly awaited a six-month build-out of the 5,400 square feet near Macy's. It was to be Oahu's first IHOP and the mall's first restaurant tenant with exterior as well as interior entrances.
That was the plan, but amid the swirl of "American Idol" mania surrounding the Wests' daughter Camile Velasco, as well as a construction boom that sucked up contractors and boosted costs, the deal went south and the space languished.
Since then, national chain Ruby Tuesday's opened at the mall, with an exterior entrance. A Hawaii favorite from a generation or two ago, Farrell's Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor has also opened in the mall, drawing nostalgic former customers and their children as well as new customers who don't remember the eatery from back in the day.
And the mall itself is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, which began earlier this year.
The Espinos are hiring for the Kaneohe IHOP and applications are available at the mall's customer service desk and from the management office.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org