Developer and franchisee Aziz Elsherif has applied to the city for a building permit to turn the former T.G.I. Fridays on Turner Street into an IHOP restaurant, which specializes in pancakes and breakfast fare.

The only other IHOP in Maine is in South Portland, according to the company’s website. Elsherif, who owns IHOP Restaurants in Maryland and New Hampshire, said he plans to open at least five additional IHOPs in Maine over the next 10 years.

“The IHOP in (South) Portland has been one of the most successful IHOPs probably in New England,” he said.  

Auburn will be the first of his franchises in Maine.

Elsherif said he chose Auburn because he was impressed by the site and the surrounding area. A poll of Mainers also indicated the city would be a good location, he said.   

“It feels like it’s going to be a great success,” he said.


Elsherif applied to the city last month for a building permit for a $300,000 renovation of the space, according to records in the Planning & Permitting Services Department.

The permit approval is pending until Elsherif submits construction plans.

He said Wednesday that he hopes to open the 205-seat restaurant around Sept. 1. He expects to initially hire more than 150 people and ultimately employ 60 to 70.

Elsherif said the restaurant will have a more modern look than traditional IHOP Restaurants, but will still offer the restaurant’s classic pancakes.

T.G.I. Fridays abruptly closed its doors in April 2014 after having been there since 2007.

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