IHOP, you hop, we all hop for pancakes

A new International House of Pancakes is coming to Sequim to whet the tastebuds of the older dining crowd.

"There's a lot of potential for a market ... since the average age is higher," said Mohammed Khadar, owner of the Sequim IHOP.

His research said that sit-down restaurants typically fare better in retirement communities because people aged 45 and up typically avoid fast food.

Popeyes, a fast-food chicken franchise, closed on Sept. 29 last year in Sequim. Arby's, traditionally a sit-down and drive-thru establishment, opened the same day as a sit-down only. Michelle Bush, owner of the Arby's, said she would have preferred to have a drive-thru but the current building was her best option.

"It didn't hurt our chances that we were sit-down only," Bush said about proposing an Arby's restaurant in Sequim.

Bill Bullock, city engineer, said IHOP is "a good project in a good place for a building ... It's very doable and easy."

The site is two-thirds of an acre at 1360 W. Washington St. One wall is along

West Washington Street and the front of the restaurant opens to the northeast, said Harold Andersen, a member of the city's design review board.

The area already is zoned for commercial development, so the application process should go smoothly, Mayor Laura Dubois said.

"It will go through the planning department and public works but probably not through the city council," she said.

"They are complying as far as I can tell," Andersen said.

Khadar lives in Lynnwood and owns five IHOP restaurants in Washington and Oregon.

Traditionally, IHOP restaurants stay open late, so this could be the second franchise sit-down restaurant, joining Applebee's, to stay open later than traditional restaurants in Sequim.

Khadar plans the restaurant to be

open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 a.m. -midnight Friday and Saturday. Hours and the number of employees will be dependent on sales, he said.

"I prefer small-town businesses, but their late night hours are good because there is an audience who goes out past

9 p.m.," Dubois said.

The restaurant tentatively is set for a

late summer or early fall opening, depending on the application process.

"It will be interesting. We're not as hard hit as other areas," Dubois said about the Sequim economy.

Matthew Nash can be reached at

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