By Nona Tepper
After 40 years of slinging sausages, The Original Pancake House appears to be closed, with lights out, doors locked and calls to the business unanswered.
Owner Steve Pachmayer originally planned to close the breakfast spot on Dec. 19, writing to customers that he planned to retire.
But "after announcing my retirement and the closing of The Original Pancake House, I was overwhelmed by the response of my customers," he wrote in a letter to customers. "It is very humbling to realize this is more than just 'a restaurant.' Due to this response there is family that is interested in buying the OPH."
The restaurant stayed open until Dec. 24. Now the lights are off, doors are locked, and phones disconnected at 7255 Madison St. Portions of the bottom floor of the multi-use building — named Madison Street Commons — are listed as available for rent on the Loopnet real estate site, but The Original Pancake House is not one of them.
The breakfast spot opened at the location about 10 years ago, after moving from Oak Park, former manager Tanya Serrano Bargas told the Forest Park Review on Dec. 14. She said approximately 17 employees worked at the restaurant, and the group found out the day before that they would likely be losing their jobs before the new year. At the time, she asked community members to let workers know about any available work.
With the possibility that someone would buy the restaurant, Pachmayer wrote to customers, "We will stay open until at least December 24."
"You cannot imagine how this response has affected myself and the staff. We appreciate you more than words can say. Thank you again and keep your fingers crossed," Pachmayer wrote.
The pancake house in Forest Park was one of 18 Illinois locations for the restaurant chain. In all, there are more than 100 locations throughout the U.S. in 29 states, according to the company's website.