By Nona Tepper
After 40 years of operation, The Original Pancake House will close on Dec. 19.
"I would like to thank all our customers for the loyalty and patronage to The Original Pancake House, it has been a long and fulfilling career," owner Stephen Pachmayer wrote in a letter to customers.
Pachmayer is retiring after a combined 40 years operating the restaurant in Oak Park and now-Forest Park, 7255 Madison St. Manager Tanya Serrano Bargas, of Forest Park, said the pancake house moved to Madison Street about 10 years ago, and credits good customer service and food to the restaurant's longevity.
"Once the community found out they came in to get their last pancakes, last Dutch Babies, the community's been so supportive. I've been getting hugs left and right, they've been wonderful. They make us feel loved, they make us feel like it wasn't just a job," she said.
Serrano Bargas said about 17 employees work at The Original Pancake House, with "pretty much" all of them living in Forest Park or surrounding communities. She said staff found out yesterday that the restaurant would close. "I wish the community could buy the pancake house and keep us all here," Serrano Bargas said.
She said she is not sure what her plans are after the pancake house and urged community members to alert staff of any open positions available.
"I have a great crew here and I would love to see my staff all have jobs and have a merry Christmas and happy New Year, knowing they can go into the new year happy and knowing of job opportunities," she said.
The pancake house in Forest Park is 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.