Iconic Raleigh IHOP closing

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The iconic restaurant is moving to a new location (WTVD)

The days are numbered for Raleigh's iconic IHOP restaurant on Hillsborough Street. Open since 1968, the distinctive A-shaped eatery will close its doors for good Saturday.

After greeting customers for about 35 years, employee Richard Baker is getting ready to say goodbye.

"This place has been like a second home to me since I've been out here so long. I like it, but I'm gonna kind of miss it. It's kind of like bittersweet," he explained.

Baker said he's met politicians, lawyers, musicians, actors, and all types of people working in the restaurant.

A bigger, more modern, International House of Pancakes will open April 10 in the new Stanhope Student Apartments down the street at Dixie Trail.

Like many customers, Sergio and Angela Mazul wanted to eat at the 1968 location one last time before it closes.

"It's really cool. It's really special having this old place," said Sergio.

"You kind of feel like a kid again coming to an old IHOP," said Angela. "I mean the new IHOPs are great, but the old one had this special - you feel a little nostalgic for the old IHOPs."

But some customers welcome the change.

"Times are changing and the location is not ideal. Where they're going is a much more ideal location," said customer Fred Watke.

District manager Todd Keller gave us a sneak peek at the new location. It will be three times larger with three times as many employees.

"We're getting some newer standards here and then there's more size. I mean there's more demand for eating out now. The restaurant business keeps growing and growing so as its gets busier and busier we need more room," he said.

The old restaurant will close Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and the new one will open Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

But Baker says you can't beat the charm of the old, cozy restaurant.

"It has a nice appeal because it's unlike those larger ones which are cold and indifferent. This is closer and tidier and makes people feel more at home," he said.

Baker will also close a chapter. He's retiring when the restaurant closes, but said he'll try and come in and work part-time.

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