11/17/2011 02:40 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

IHOP Express Self-Serve: San Diego Branch Tests New Quicker Format

IHOP opened the first branch of IHOP Express, its quick-service spinoff brand, targeted to the general public today, in downtown San Diego, according to USA Today.

The stores made their initial debut in Tennessee in 2009, and have slowly trickled across the country, like so many dollops of maple syrup on a warm IHOP pancake. But prior IHOP Expresses have all been located in places like military bases and college campuses, where conventional dine-in restaurants are somewhat impractical. This new store, then, is both a marker of the success of the line in test markets and a bet on the appeal of faster breakfast service for a wider audience.

Customers at IHOP Express often order food for takeout; the stores even offer special items designed with the convenience on-the-go customers in mind. One such menu item is the "Cup O'Pancakes," which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a paper cup filled with pancakes and toppings like strawberries and bananas.

The stores also feature WiFi, which USA Today interprets as a sign of a larger bid to attract young customers to a brand that traditionally skews toward older customers.

UPDATE: Nation's Restaurant News has a slideshow of images from the new location, along with a few more details on its offerings.

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