To me, it’s not even really a question. If you live in the Hazlet/Keyport area then you are torn between two places to either send yourself into coronary or a diabetic coma with a smile on your face. Those restaurants are IHOP and Perkins, located less than a mile away from each other on Route 36. Though I actually despise it, I find myself eating at IHOP frequently, especially in the month of October. With a heavy schedule of paranormal events at the Strauss Mansion Museum with my Ghosts on the Coast team, IHOP is one of the few places open (24 hours) when we wrap up and are hungry after hours of chasing ghosts into the middle of the night. Perkins closes at 9 or 10 p.m., making a visit impossible.
To put it politely, IHOP is not good. I’ve never had a meal there that was even decent. There are a few “okay’s” here and there, but that’s about all. I usually end up with a BLT because no one can mess that up. And you know what? The rest of my paranormal team feels the same way. Wolf down the food and then make a mad dash home for the bathroom. Seriously, ask around. Service too is always less than welcoming—bordering on misery. Yes, I get it. I’m sure the last place you want to be on this planet is working at an IHOP at 3 a.m. But it’s not like the place is closing and we snuck in there right before you were about to go home. You’re open 24 hours.
Perkins, on the other hand, is heavenly. Perhaps because it might put you there. It’s one of the better “home-cooking” chains out there. Massive portions and calories, friendly service, and no way you are leaving there hungry. Their pancakes and general breakfast items are better than IHOP’s, and so are their actual meals and sandwiches. Would you dare order a meatloaf, fried fish dinner, or steak at IHOP? No, not if you value your life. And while I probably wouldn’t get it at Perkins either, I would at least trust it. Scratch that—I have had their meatloaf before, and it was delicious. They have it “O’Brien” style, where it is covered with cheese and gravy. What’s not to like about that? The only actual “meal” I’ve had at IHOP was their chicken and waffles: four sad, turd-like chicken fingers with four equally pitiful and cold waffle wedges.
Oh Perkins, why couldn’t you be open later? Surely you would put IHOP out of business. But even with all this said, we’ll be back. Like some sort of sadistic amusement, we will be back for more. That’s what happens when your hometown closes early. Red Oak Diner shuts at 2 a.m. and even they aren’t so hot. Same deal, I haven’t had anything great there either. And I think you should re-examine IHOP’s prices so you can dispel the myth that they are “cheaper” than your nearest diner. Not by a long-shot. The 24-hour Ocean Bay Diner which actually is good is a little too far away at this time of night, so IHOP it is. We’re trapped, maybe doomed for all eternity.
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