“It’s that time of the year where you will find half the Muslim Ummah at IHOP for Suhoor”, tweets a young woman humorously. For many years, it has been a tradition for Muslims living in America to head down to the nearest IHOP for their pre-dawn meal. With it being open 24/7, the pancake house is easily one of the most convenient places to pop in for a filling meal.
The breakfast restaurant is popular among people of all ages, from kids and teenagers to adults. Around 2 a.m. during Ramadan, groups of Muslims start pouring into IHOP outlets. For individuals living away from their families like international students this is a much-needed opportunity, as they get to meet other Muslims and build relationships. It also allows them to feel a sense of belonging, which they may need especially in Ramadan. For adults with full-time jobs and families with kids, this is a suitable option that doesn’t take much away from their busy schedules.
Pancakes are clearly an American favorite and breakfast staple, so it’s really no surprise that so many IHOPs become jam-packed during Ramadan. With those who observe the fast joining the usual late-night crowd, it’s rather hectic and everyone might not be lucky enough to get a table. However, this doesn’t stop people from making their way over to the eatery, night after night. Well, this is mostly due to the fact that few other options are available at this time that provides a family-friendly dining environment.
Recently, there has been news about a project dubbed Dine after Dark, urging restaurants to adjust their opening hours during Ramadan to accommodate for Muslims. This is heartwarming news for many and will be a welcome change, because as filling and delicious the meals are, it tends to get somewhat repetitive and there are others who want healthier alternatives.
These efforts towards more inclusion will undoubtedly be appreciated, but Suhoor at IHOPS will likely continue to be synonymous with Ramadan for Muslims living all over America. It may not be the most exciting or most nutritious meal, but for many people, what they get from IHOP is just as good as a home-cooked meal.
Words by Fathmath Sadha
Images by IHOP