CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The end of 2017 also marks the end of an era for the IHOP located at 1521 Savannah Highway.
The family-managed restaurant in West Ashley closed its doors for the last time at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Linda Hames, current manager of the restaurant, says her father-in-law Bud "Gilbert" Hames Jr. opened the restaurant in 1968. The family has kept it running since then.
"It's been 49 wonderful years, 49 awesome years," Hames said. "But there comes a time when everybody has to make a change, and I'm ready."
Hames said the reason she and her husband decided to shut down the restaurant is because the alternative was signing another franchise agreement, which would have locked them into another 15 years of restaurant management.
Many customers ate at the restaurant on Sunday to enjoy the food and the staff one last time before the doors officially close.
"By far my fondest memories would be bringing my three children here," frequent customer Cary Fechter said. "They loved the pancakes, they loved the eggs. Sunday here was a lot of fun."
Fechter and his uncle have been coming to the restaurant since it first opened in 1968. They join several other customers who say they will miss the IHOP.
"The food is good, the location is great, the people are friendly, the service is good," repeat customer Mildred Hudson said. "I'll miss this place a lot."
There is still no official word on what will replace the IHOP and take over the property. Hames said she expects that a car dealership will occupy the space.
Hames said she will sell the restaurant's tables and equipment starting on Tuesday.