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International House of Pancakes, Apex of Devine Street & Garners Ferry Road: early 2000s   18 comments

Posted at 11:47 pm in Uncategorized

This triangular lot across from the old Kroger Sav-On was once the site of the coldest IHOP in Columbia.

There are, to my knowledge, now three IHOPs in Columbia: One on Two Notch Road in the Home Depot parking lot, one downtown on the corner of Assembly & Senate Streets and one on Saint Andrews Road near I-26. I believe the St. Andrews and Two Notch stores are affiliated while the downtown store is under seperate management. I don't know if the Divine Street store was connected with any of the others, but if it had been, I'd guess downtown because it was a similar, old-style, IHOP building, while both of the other two are more "modern" and characterless. I can't recall if it were a 24-hour store as the downtown one is though.

Anyway, pancakes are comfort food, and every now and then I get in the mood for them as do and did the rest of my family, especially my father. I believe it was he who proposed a trip to IHOP one weekend for lunch, and we ended up at the Divine Street location. Now, when I say this place was cold inside, I'm not talking a little chilly. After a few minutes we had to fetch sweaters in from the car (it was not a cold day), and even that did not help. We asked to be moved to another table, not under a vent, and that didn't help either. My sister and I were uncomfortable, but my father who had always been cold natured and more so as he got on in years could barely handle his utensils. We made it through lunch somehow, and put the restaurant on the "boycott" list. I believe my sister later told me that she had been back with friends and it was just as cold then too. It was just very odd, and I can't believe we were the only diners who decided not to go back. You expect a place serving comfort food to be, well, cozy.

Sometime after that, Walgreens brought the property, tore down the IHOP building and put up a 24 Hour drugstore -- I've been several times, and it's quite comfortable!

Written by ted on November 3rd, 2008

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18 Responses to 'International House of Pancakes, Apex of Devine Street & Garners Ferry Road: early 2000s'

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  1. Read some time ago that IHOP was going to add gabels to its newer locations to help invoke the "feel" of its original exterior designs. They have done this with the St. Andrews location. Don't know about Two Notch.

    Also, don't they have one in Lexington now?


    4 Nov 08 at 7:05 am

  2. I ate at that IHOP about 5 or 6 times a year -- for about 30 years. And yes, it was always FREEZING inside.

    The IHOP was only about a third of that triangular lot. The end at the intesection was a gas station.


    4 Nov 08 at 2:01 pm

  3. What about Martin's, or EATS, which was in that strip for years? Famous late-night greasy spoon, iirc.

    Mike Fitts

    5 Nov 08 at 3:24 pm

  4. Was this the one where you always had to worry about being shot or is that the one on assembly?


    6 Nov 08 at 3:46 pm

  5. Well, any bullets would be frozen into the barrell here..


    6 Nov 08 at 4:49 pm

  6. yes please do a post about Martins, that was my favorite place to eat.

    Mr Bill

    12 Nov 08 at 3:44 pm

  7. Well, unfortunately that's difficult because I don't remember the place at all.


    12 Nov 08 at 4:22 pm

  8. it was next to the ihop, it was a local dinner. Very similar to the waffle house but the food was much better. They had an omlet called the Martin's special with about a pound of beef including a whole hamburger. When Walgreen's came along they hacked it off the end of the strip to make room. Because of that I've always had trouble shopping at Walgreens.

    Mr Bill

    13 Nov 08 at 4:42 pm

  9. copied from the state newspaper

    State, The (Columbia, SC) - Sunday, March 12, 2000
    Author: CAROL J.G. WARD, Staff Writer

    At 1:40 p.m. Saturday, owner Martin Belger quietly stepped from behind the grill at Martin 's Coffee House and took a seat at the counter.

    He had filled his last order at the restaurant, which closed Saturday after three decades as a Columbia landmark. As Belger looked around, tears filled his eyes.

    "I've been holding up pretty good until a few minutes ago when all the (waitresses) started hugging me," he said.

    Sarah Belger, Martin 's wife and business partner, had been on the verge of tears all day as customer after customer told her how much they'd miss the Belgers and the coffee shop.

    "I really thought it would be Monday when I woke up and didn't have any customers to wait on. But when I saw ( Martin ) put that (closed) sign up, I realized it was over," she said.

    The lease on the coffee shop at 4459 Devine St. was up in December and the building is being sold. Betty Tiller, the property owner, is not commenting on who is buying the land or what it will be used for.

    But to the customers, old and new, who waited up to two hours to be served Saturday, the future of the building was irrelevant. They had come to mourn the loss of a tradition.

    "God, I hate to see this place close," said Ed Morris, who has been a customer for more than 30 years .

    Morris became a customer of Martin 's when he was a sergeant stationed at Fort Jackson in the early 1960s. He and a friend had part-time jobs at the Cabana Club on Gervais Street. "We'd get off work at 3 or 4 in the morning, so we'd stop in here," he said. "I've been coming ever since."

    Kerri Scott, who gathered with other family members at Martin 's Saturday to not only say good-bye to Martin 's but also to honor her father, Rick Godshall, who died Friday.

    Scott said her father had hoped to make one last trip to Martin 's. "My stepmom asked us all to come eat breakfast here today. We felt like it was a tribute to my father and them (the Belgers)," she said.

    Throughout the day, customers and employees, many with tear-streaked faces, paid tribute to the Belgers.

    " Martin 's is people with people; it's the human connection you don't get a lot in today's culture," Hammond School math teacher Bob Wolpert said.

    Wolpert sees the coffee house as a crossroads of society. "You see people from different walks of life coming together. .You might see a 70-year-old gentleman out for his morning constitutional with his newspaper sitting beside a young man with pink hair and earrings just calling it a night," he said.

    For many customers and employees, the human connection was what set the restaurant apart even for those who had been part of the Martin 's family for only a short time.

    "It's sad. Even though I've only worked here 13 months, it seems like forever because I know everybody," said waitress Pam Seals.

    And there were still connections to be made Saturday.

    Arthur and Lorelle Chausmer, who recently moved to Columbia from Shreveport, La., had heard about the closing and decided to get their first and last taste of this local institution.

    As they waited for their order, they began a conversation with a family at the next table and soon discovered that they had both enjoyed meals at a similar local landmark in Shreveport.

    Even on his first visit, Arthur Chausmer sensed that Martin 's was something special.

    "My feeling is that this (the connection with other customers) would happen whether it was their last day or not," he said.

    The Belgers have no plans to reopen in a new location. Because of her husband's health, Sarah Belger said the couple had planned to operate the restaurant only a few more years anyway.

    "God has looked out for him because I knew he'd never walk away," Sarah Belger said.

    For her, the closing is bittersweet.

    "How many times have I thought, 'Can I have just one Saturday when I can sleep late?' .God has answered my prayers, just not in the way I thought he would," she said.

    As the last customers trickled out of the restaurant, Martin and Sarah sat alone in their favorite booth by the door.

    "We've got a lot of friends; that's what we're going to miss," Martin said.

    According to their customers, the feeling is mutual.

    Many customers have their favorite Martin 's meal, which usually includes the restaurant's cream waffles.

    But for some the choice is not so easy. When asked his favorite menu item, budding diplomat Wyatt Bingham, 11, said, "I can't really point that out because everything is so good."

    But when pressed, he admitted it was probably the waffles.

    Fans of Martin 's cream waffles won't have to go without now that the Devine Street restaurant has closed.

    Owner Martin Belger handed out copies of the recipe to customers Saturday and agreed to let us publish it.

    Martin 's Cream Waffles

    40 waffles

    4 pounds self-rising flour

    8 ounces (1 cup) sugar

    3 ounces (6 tablespoons baking powder

    2 quarts heavy whipping cream

    1 1/2 quarts whole sweet milk

    5 ounces ((TM)cup) butter or margarine, softened

    10 eggs

    * Mix all liquid ingredients well about 3 minutes. Add dry ingredients to batter. Mix until batter rises about 3 or 4 minutes.

    * Cook in a waffle iron until golden brown.

    * Frozen waffles and waffle batter may be kept in freezer. Thaw batter in refrigerator overnight before using.


    Calories, 413.1; protein, 8.273 grams; carbohydrates, 42.54 grams; total fat, 23.41 grams; cholesterol, 130.9 milligrams; saturated fat, 13.96 grams; dietary fiber,5.734 grams; sodium, 869.5 milligrams; sugar, 9.401 grams; vitamin A, 262.3 retinol equivalents; vitamin C, 0.620 milligrams; calcium, 319.7 milligrams; iron, 2.032 milligrams; alcohol, 0.0 grams.

    NOTE: Information is meant only as a guide; the ESHA Research program does not compensate for crop-growing conditions, and some methods of cooking affect nutrient content.
    Caption: PHOTO: COLOR
    1. Martin 's restaurant on Devine Street served its last meal on Saturday after nearly three decades. PHOTOGRAPHS BY KATRINA K. CLARK/THE STATE 2.Brenda Turner shares her last lunch at Martin 's with her daughter, Rebecca Bingham. Brenda and her husband have been eating at Martin 's for 20 years, since they first began dating.
    Memo: Recipe: Martin 's famous cream waffles, at end of article
    Edition: FINAL
    Section: METRO/REGION
    Page: B1
    Record Number: 0003120093
    Copyright (c) 2000 The State

    Mr Bill

    13 Nov 08 at 4:53 pm

  10. I always remember being at Martin's late at night and we'd all laugh and order the "Masterburger". It came with their "special sauce".


    13 Nov 08 at 5:09 pm

  11. Folks, I have gone ahead and made a "Martin's" post here.

    I have copied all the above comments about Martin's there, so if you have any more, go there to leave them.


    17 Nov 08 at 7:12 pm

  12. In it's later years that IHOP had some big problems with keeping clean too. Apparently the state health board got calls on a regular basis from customers with horrifying reports... not a good way to keep a restaurant running.


    24 Feb 09 at 1:24 am

  13. The only thing I still have from this IHOP is a LP Record of Peter and The Wolf, brought to you by The International House of Pancakes. It was told by Capt. Kangaroo..and has the Capt., Peter, the Wolf, the duck and the bird all going towards and inside the IHOP. I wonder how many people have this?


    12 Apr 09 at 7:17 pm

  14. Sometime around 1972 there was a band playing a concert in town called The Brooklyn Bridge. I believe their one shot AM radio hit was "The Worst That Could Happen".
    After the concert the band stopped to grab a meal at this IHOP on Devine St. and a girl I knew that worked there kept going on and on about how the lead singer from the band kept talking to her that night.
    The lead singer, Johnny Maestro, passed away from cancer last week. When I heard the news on the radio the above story got jogged from my memory.
    Rest in peace Johnny. I never got to tell you that I married that girl.


    4 Apr 10 at 5:01 pm

  15. i didn't know there was an ihop on devine street

    Aliina Jackson

    4 Feb 11 at 10:02 pm

  16. I heard similar stories Keith mentions about the cleanliness of that IHOP. My Brother In Law used to make deliveries there and said "If you saw the kitchen, you would not eat there".


    11 Jul 12 at 9:55 am

  17. In response to Tom's comment, I can confirm that IHOP does have a Lexington outlet


    11 Jul 12 at 11:40 am

  18. Mr. Ronnie Burr owned and managed this IHOP for many years, ~early 70's!

    Robert S.

    13 Aug 13 at 2:00 pm

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