When I first wrote The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes, I was under the impression that Village Inns were common throughout the country. This is true in the two areas I’ve lived the longest, Omaha and Denver. Apparently they aren’t currently in the other cities I’ve lived in, though I don’t know if they had them at the time and have since closed (there are only 206 locations currently and there used to be as many as 343). However, I learned after writing the book that some people had never even heard of them.
For the book, this is fine. If you haven’t been to a Village Inn, you’ve been to a chain restaurant that focuses on pancakes. I dig Village Inn in particular, but surely you’ve been to a Denny’s, or an IHOP, or a Waffle House, or a Perkins, or a Happy Chef, or a The Original Pancake House (yeah I know that sounds awkward, blame them), or…whatever. Still, you get the idea.
However, after spending so much time in Omaha and Denver, I thought they were everywhere. After all, there are 14 in the immediate Omaha area and 20 in the immediate Denver area even today. After hearing they were more limited than I originally imagined, I was kind of surprised I’d been lucky enough that they were in Denver. My new town of residence wouldn’t work so well without Village Inn.
But…then I noticed that Denver has a significant Village Inn connection. Then it wasn’t so surprising anymore. That’s right, the very first Village Inn opened in Denver in 1958. This is the place it all started…approximately 56 years ago.
I just thought that was cool and wanted to share.