CRYSTAL LAKE – Route 14 lost an IHOP on Friday but gained a new restaurant in the same location Monday morning.
Longtime IHOP franchisee Mike Kunke's contract with the pancake chain expired Friday, so he reopened as The Forester Restaurant on Monday.
"I wanted to go out on my own," he said. "I've moved beyond IHOP."
The Forester, named after his father Roy Kunke's first restaurant, is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from a new menu.
Mike Kunke had owned the franchise for 12.5 years. Before that he had worked for IHOP for six years.
The restaurant was closed over the weekend, a new sign was put up, and the eatery's 45 employees studied up on the new menu offerings. Many regulars were told of the decision a month ago.
More interior and exterior changes are planned in the coming months for the restaurant, which is located at 6606 Route 14 in the Crystal Lake Plaza shopping center.
"A year from now, this will look nothing like an IHOP," Mike Kunke said.
The restaurant's new number is 815-356-3975.