Table for One: An IHOP Memoir


How many menus should I bring?

Just one, I replied.

Anyone else joining you tonight?

Not tonight, I replied.

“Can I interest you in our cinnamon swirl brioche french toast, or perhaps our cupcake pancakes? They are only here for a limited time” the waiter inquired.

“A limited time, huh?” I responded in awe.

“That’s right!” she said.

“Let me look at the menu and decide. But those sound good” I said.

“They sure are!” she laughed.

“What do you want to drink?”

“Do you have orange juice?” I asked

“No sorry, we are all out — how about apple juice?”

“No, that’s okay” I said, defeated.

“Just some pancakes please”


Later, she brought me my pancakes. I ate the whole stack. As I sat there, eating, I couldn’t help but notice the stares from the other patrons in the restaurant on that late Wednesday night. Groups of friends, and couples sitting together eating their pancakes and french toast. Yet here I sat, alone.


Alone in an IHOP.


— Mark Wilson


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