IHOP Will Install $40,000 Bacon Buster

ihopDaniel Maurer

The bacon will keep sizzling, but the smell won’t linger.

At least that’s what Ed Scannapieco, the owner of the IHOP on 14th Street, expects when he installs a new ventilation unit that costs $40,000.

“It knocks down virtually all of the odor and almost all the noise,” said Mr. Sannepieco, who was taking a break from an IHOP conference in Washington, D.C.

The machine will be installed in the next six weeks, and will require closing the business for around 12 hours. Workers may even need to bring in a crane to load the equipment onto the roof. A corral will also be built on the roof for garbage stored there during the day. The ventilation unit’s filters will need to be cleaned every 60 days, another additional expense.

“It’s a commitment,” Mr. Sannepieco said. “And one that we’re glad to make.”

Neighbors of the IHOP have complained for the last eight months about an overwhelming odor of bacon emanating from the restaurant’s rooftop ventilation system.

The roof of IHOPMary Beth Powers A view of the ventilation system and trash on the rooftop of IHOP earlier this year.

“We wanted to be a good neighbor and reduce odor and noise as much as possibly could be done,” Mr. Sannepieco said.

The restaurateur added that the ventilation system could have been installed earlier were it not for the stop work order issued in September for soil stored on the roof (it was formerly a small garden). Mr. Sannepieco said the order was rescinded last week, though that is not yet showing up on Department of Buildings records. A spokeswoman for the Environmental Control Board said she would reply to an inquiry regarding the violation tomorrow.

A neighbor of the House of Pancakes was not ready to celebrate the latest development just yet. “I’m hoping that my skepticism is ill-placed,” said Sandy Berger. “But you know, I’ll believe it when I see it — or, I’ll believe it when I don’t smell it anymore.”

Just yesterday, Ms. Berger bemoaned the still-lingering bacon smell and anticipated that it would only become more overwhelming when she opened her windows for the warm weather.

“I got up at 6:30 this morning — normally I don’t get up that early — I got up because I smelled the bacon grease,” she told The Local yesterday. “And I didn’t even have my windows wide open.”

A pair of unnamed neighbors also complained to EV Grieve today.

Ms. Berger and her neighbor, Jim Ramadei, raised the possibility of more organized forms of protest against the restaurant after both lost hope that complaints to assorted city agencies and public officials would result in the odor being eliminated.

“I was going to put a notice in our laundry room to form the IHOP Victims Committee,” she said. “We got to do something to really embarrass them.”

Now, none of that may be necessary.

In fact, more IHOPs are likely on the horizon, though it’s uncertain where exactly they will be. “We have license to build several other locations down the road,” Mr. Sannepieco said.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post referred to the ventilation unit as a “smog-hog.” That reference has been deleted since the term is a brand name and Smog Hog says that it did not manufacture the unit in question.