A new tenant with a familiar name is opening in a former eatery in north Bibb County.
An International House of Pancakes — commonly called IHOP — is expected to open this summer at 165 Tom Hill Sr. Blvd. in front of the Publix grocery store, said franchisee owner Stavros Vacratsas.
The IHOP on Eisenhower Parkway, which is not part of Vacratsas’ franchise, will remain open.
Vacratsas, who opened his first IHOP in Griffin, also owns the IHOP in McDonough, he said.
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“You know what they say: ‘If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life,’” Vacratsas said. “Well, that applies to me. I took my first store and tripled sales within the first five years.”
Another IHOP in north Bibb, on River Place Drive off Arkwright Road and across Interstate 75 from the new location, was corporate owned and closed in 2005.
Vacratsas said Macon and the Tom Hill location appealed to him.
“I love small towns and love the feeling of small towns,” he said. “It’s a beautiful location and strategically it’s in a great location.”
George Eichler, leasing agent with The Ramsbottom Co., said the “maturity of the area” was an attractive feature for Vacratsas. Also the recent relocation of Carol’s Linen’s to the Rivergate Shopping Center helps draw more people to the area.
Renovation work on the building should begin in a couple of weeks, and the restaurant is expected to open in August, Vacratsas said. The kitchen needs to be completely rebuilt and some work will be done in the dining area.
The eatery is expected to employ 40-50 full- and part-time people, he said.
An Applebee’s restaurant was in the building about 14 years before it closed in 2006. It was also the location of the former Macon Diner which closed in September 2008 — amid unpaid taxes — after being open about four months.
Vacratsas said he is aware of the past history of the building.
“I know the stigma that is attached, but I will fix that, definitely,” he said. “My reputation is to get restaurants running well. ... I can guarantee we are going to have good food, a good, clean restaurant and great service.”
To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.