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IHOP changed its name and honestly I’m not sure if we’re being Punk’d or nah

On Monday morning, the restaurant chain previously known as International House of Pancakes, or IHOP, announced its highly anticipated name change.

Well then.

The name change came after a brief teaser campaign that saw the chain tweeting out hints and using the letter B in blace place of the letter “P” in its social media marketing. The new name is pronounce “Eye-Hobb,” btw.

I, and I think many other people, thought the chain was going to be changing its name to “International House of Breakfast,” or “International House of Brunch,” but nope. It not only went all in on burgers, but it went there and it brought property, y’all. Such a pivot!

The internet largely hated it, but it seemed to yield real results for the company: The Los Angeles Times reported that the buzz around the name change sent parent company Dine Brands Global Inc.’s stock up nearly 3 percent for the day.

It was not immediately clear on Monday if the name change was permanent, though my money is on it being a fairly temporary push.

Meanwhile, fellow chains (and competitors?) Denny’s and Wendy’s took the opportunity to throw some serious Twitter #shade.

Phnom Penh Sandwich Station to open a second location in the Polka Dot Restaurant building in WRJ

The Polka Dot building in White River Junction, Vt., on May 8, 2018, is one of the properties owned by developer Mike Davidson’s Execusuite. (Valley News – Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

One more thing after our away message announcing that we’re off until June 4, bc it’s BREAKING SANDWICH NEWS:

· White River Junction is getting a Cambodian sandwich shop in the old Polka Dot diner building.

· Phnom Penh Sandwich Station, which already has a building in downtown Lebanon, plans to open a second spot.

· They have signed a lease and hope to open later this summer.

The team behind developer Mike Davidson, who manages properties under the LLC Execusuite that bought the long-shuttered Polka Dot earlier this year, said as much in an email to Valley News business reporter John Lippman this afternoon. Execusuite won site development plan approval last month from the Hartford Planning Commission.

“Welcoming yet another family business to Downtown WRJ is a source of pride for our entire team,” said Tim Sidore, general manager of Ledgeworks, which manages Execusuite commercial and residential properties in White River Junction and Lebanon. “We’ve worked hard to bring a diverse collection of dining,entertainment and housing options to Hartford and Sarin Tin’s operation will be a welcome addition!”

Phnom Penh Sandwich Station is owned and run by the wife-and-husband team Lay Yi of Sarin Tin, who began selling their Cambodian-style sandwiches at the Hanover Farmers Market in 2016 and then from a food truck (way before food trucks were cool in the Upper Valley) before finally graduating to their own storefront on High Street in Lebanon last year. (Also, it’s home to one of my favorite sandwiches in the Upper Valley — the Phnom Penh sandwich with tofu — so there’s that.)

Davidson, who owns a cluster of commercial and residential properties along South Main Street in White River Junction, bought The Polka Dot diner building from previous owner Mary Shatney for $90,000 in February.

(No word yet on whether Polka Dot will be incorporated into the name of the second location. Sidore has previously said the company was searching for a tenant who would keep “Polka Dot.”)

Sreang Tin cooks over the grill in Phnom Penh Sandwich Station on May 19, 2016, in Lebanon, N.H. Lay Yi his daughter-in-law works beside him. (Valley News – Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Here is Sidore’s email to the Valley News in full:

Execusuite, LLC and Phnom Penh Sandwiches Station, LLC of Lebanon are excited to announce they have signed a lease agreement for the iconic Polka Dot Restaurant space in downtown White River Junction. Phnom Penh’s array of authentic Cambodian food has proven to be a winner in Lebanon, and their second location will be a welcome addition to the Vermont side of the river.

 

Execusuite and Ledgeworks, Inc, area redeveloper Mike Davidson’s real estate holding and management companies, respectively, are proud to restore this beloved jewel of WRJ’s past. Resisting calls to raze the former diner, the Polka Dot now becomes Davidson’s latest restoration. Recent projects include the conversions of the former Lebanon Junior High School, College Cleaners, and Roy’s Gulf Station (now Lucky’s Coffee Garage).

 

Welcoming yet another family business to Downtown WRJ is a source of pride for our entire team. We’ve worked hard to bring a diverse collection of dining, entertainment and housing options to Hartford and Sarin Tin’s operation will be a welcome addition!

 

Work is already underway at the Polka Dot, including replacement of the heating and electrical systems, expansion and remodeling of the bathrooms, and interior/exterior repairs and restoration. Sarin Tin, the proprietor, anticipates opening for business later this summer and looks forward to meeting the WRJ community. In the meantime, he looks forward to welcoming you to his Lebanon restaurant!

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WaPo interactive: The anatomy of a food truck

Erik Almestica, left, serves Paula Nulty, of White River Junction, a maple Korean street taco and short ribs from VT Munchies, the food truck he runs with long-time friend Garrett Wilson, middle, at Colburn Park in Lebanon, N.H., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

This seems relevant given all of the food truck news lately.

I truly cannot keep up with all the food trucks opening in the Upper Valley these days

FOOD. TRUCK. MANIA.

The Hanover High School Broadside reports that Martha’s On a Roll is now open in Hanover.

The Valley News reported earlier this month about the VT Munchies food truck and two food truck festivals this summer, one of which is still to come next month in Lebanon. (We also told you about that on UV INDEX, for anybody keeping score, although our headline was perhaps less traditional.)

According to the Valley News article …

Food trucks are one of the fastest growing segments in the food industry, according to foodtruckoperator.com. In 2012, food trucks in the U.S. generated $650 million in revenue; in 2017, revenue jumped to some $2.7 billion. They have the ease of mobility, adaptability of menu and can target their customers through their smartphones. They also offer less expensive eating options for consumers.

Our GIF-laden report on the August 2017 debut of the Taco’s Tacos food truck became one of our most-read posts of the year. People were also pumped about JUEL Juice + Smoothies.

And the excitement when Pnomh Penh opened its food truck in 2016 seems like a distant memory! (Pnomh Penh now has a brick-and-mortar shop.)

Erik Almestica, left, and Garrett Wilson, both of White River Junction, work together in the tight space of their VT Munchies food truck while parked at Colburn Park in Lebanon, N.H., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Almestica has been a cook at Dartmouth College’s Thayer Dining Hall, and Wilson grew up in A.J.’s Restaurant, owned by his aunt. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.