The ‘ghost’ IHOP that never opened will now — but not as an IHOP

Published: Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 2:22 PM

Eatery on Benchwood Road in Vandalia has sat vacant since it was built more than a year ago.

Full-color banners stretched across existing “IHOP” signage say a new restaurant called “The Wright Cafe” will open soon in the newly built-but-never-opened IHOP at 3324 Benchwood Road in Vandalia.

The restaurant was built, equipped and furnished down to the tables and chairs as an IHOP more than a year ago, but it never opened. Neither IHOP corporate officials or those connected to the Dayton-area IHOP franchise-operated restaurants offered an explanation as to why.

>> RELATED: The ‘ghost’ IHOP in Vandalia that has sat vacant since it was built a year ago is now for sale

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In December, the building and property were put up for sale or lease. The asking sales price for the 5,000-square-foot restaurant and 43,560-square-foot lot was $3 million. Online Montgomery County property records do not appear to show that a property sale has taken place.

A spokesman for the city of Vandalia said city officials have received a request for an application for a new occupancy permit for the restaurant  from a representative of Prestige Development Group, a company with offices in New Mexico and Texas that was involved in the development of the three other Dayton-area IHOP restaurants, which shut down abruptly two months ago.

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This news outlet has reached out to the owners of The Wright Place, and will update this story with any new developments.

>> RELATED: Future of padlocked IHOP restaurants remains uncertain

The other three IHOP restaurants in the region — in Beavercreek, Huber Heights and Springfield — shut down unexpectedly, and were padlocked in mid-January. An IHOP spokeswoman said Jan. 18 that the stores’ franchise owner  was “unable to continue operating,” and the restaurant chain was exploring options to get the padlocked restaurants reopened.

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As recently as two days ago, the same IHOP corporate spokeswoman said she had no new news to share about the three shuttered restaurants.

>> RELATED: IHOP restaurants returning to Dayton area (October 2014)

IHOP opened the first of what had been projected to be as many as seven IHOP locations in the region in October 2015 on North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek, and the second restaurant followed in October 2016 on Bechtle Avenue in Springfield. The Huber Heights IHOP opened in September 2017 on Old Troy Pike.  

>>RELATED: IHOP opening two more Dayton-area locations (December 2016)

The region had multiple IHOP locations in the 1970s and 1980s, including one near Ohio 725 and Ohio 741 near the Dayton Mall and one on Shiloh Springs Road near the former Salem Mall, but those restaurants closed three decades ago.

Check back for updates to this story.