Village Inn

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Village Inn
Genrecasual dining
Predecessor Village Inn Pancake House (1959-1989)
Founded1959; 62 years ago (1959)
Denver, Colorado
FounderJames Mola
Merton Anderson
HeadquartersNashville, Tennessee, United States
Number of locations
137 (May 2021)
Area served
18 states in the U.S. and Guam
ProductsBreakfast foods, steaks, chicken, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts, beverages
ParentBBQ Holdings

Village Inn is a casual dining restaurant chain in the United States. Its restaurants are known for their breakfast menu items. Also, they feature a variety of salads, sandwiches, burgers, melts and dinner items. Their pies have won numerous awards from the American Pie Council (APC).[1][2]

As of April 2021, Village Inn operates 137 restaurants in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming and the territory of Guam.[3] In September 2015, Village Inn operated 212 restaurants. [4] This was reduced in bankruptcy proceedings, leading to sale of the chain in July 2021 to Village Inn's new parent company, BBQ Holdings, Inc., based in Minnetonka, Minnesota.


One of the restaurants in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Village Inn was founded by James Mola and Merton Anderson, who opened the first Village Inn Pancake House in Denver in 1958.[5] They incorporated as Village Inn Pancake House, Inc., in December 1959, and began franchising in 1961, with Dow Sherwood opening the first franchised locations in Tampa. In 1982, Village Inn became the publicly traded VICORP Restaurants, Inc. VICORP acquired the Poppin' Fresh Pies chain from Pillsbury in May 1983, renaming it Bakers Square.

In 1984, VICORP acquired 71 restaurants from Ralston Purina's Continental Restaurant Systems division and 175 former Sambo's restaurants in California, Florida, and Arizona. The California locations were converted to Bakers Square restaurants while the Florida and Arizona locations were converted to Village Inn, but the conversions led to a decline in profits for the company and 15 of the converted Florida locations would close by 1989.[6]

Exterior of a Village Inn restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa

By the end of the 1980s, "Pancake House" was dropped from the name of the chain as Village Inn began offering lunch and dinner menus in addition to breakfast. During the early 1990s, all Village Inn restaurants underwent a large-scale renovation that featured new green mansard roofs and neon signage. In May 2001, the investment firms of Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, Inc., and BancBoston Capital acquired VICORP and the company has been privately held ever since.[6]

In late 1993, Vicorp acquired the rights to a small Florida chain called Angel's Diner from founder Eric A. Holm. Unfortunately, he had also sold the rights to Golden Corral and Vicorp was forced to pay Golden Corral $1 million to secure the exclusive rights. The intent was to convert underperforming Village Inn and Bakers Square units to this new concept. After building seven units, Vicorp realized that the concept was not economically viable and wrote off $11 million on the venture. During this time frame, Eric Holm filed for personal bankruptcy.[7]

On April 3, 2008, VICORP filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code. VICORP closed 56 company-owned restaurants as a result of the move, leaving a total of 343 Village Inn and Bakers Square locations.[8]

In 2009, American Blue Ribbon Holdings, a company owned by Fidelity National Financial and Newport Global Advisors, acquired the assets of Vicorp, including Village Inn and Bakers Square.

In 2010, Village Inn locations started updating to the new corporate logo, with several locations implementing it.

On January 24, 2020, Village Inn closed 24 locations suddenly, with employees showing up for their shifts met by locked doors. Locations closed in Arizona include Chandler (Alma School Rd), Gilbert, Mesa (Dobson Rd and McKellips Rd), and Phoenix (Bell Rd at 3rd). Aurora (Colfax Ave), Broomfield, Littleton (Ken Caryl Ave), Castle Rock, Monument, and Wheat Ridge locations closed in Colorado, while Lakeland, Tampa (N Dale Mabry Hwy), and Winter Garden locations closed in Florida. Iowa lost locations in Clinton, Coralville, and Des Moines. Locations closed in North Salt Lake City, Orem, Roy, Sandy, and West Jordan, Utah, along with Omaha, Nebraska (Dodge St) and Albuquerque, New Mexico (La Orilla).[9]

On January 27, 2020, American Blue Ribbon Holdings, parent company of Village Inn and Bakers Square, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after closing a total of 33 locations across both brands.[10]

On September 14, 2020, Village Inn emerged from bankruptcy protection with 140 locations as a subsidiary of restructured parent company, VIBSQ Holdings LLC.[11]

In July 2021, VIBSQ Holdings was sold to BBQ Holdings, parent of Famous Dave's BBQ. [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Award for Best Pie in America Goes to…". KSTU. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  2. ^ Rose, Sara (12 February 2020). "Give the gift of pie this Valentine's Day with Village Inn". New Mexico Living. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  3. ^ Village Inn Restaurants. "Find your Village Inn". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  4. ^ Village Inn Restaurants. "Find your Village Inn". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  5. ^ VICORP Restaurants. "Village Inn: History". Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  6. ^ a b "VICORP Restaurants, Inc., Company History". Retrieved 2007-02-04.
  7. ^ Vaughan, Vicki (September 24, 1994). "Angel's Diner Creator Files Personal Bankruptcy Petition". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  8. ^ Milstead, David; Davis, Joyzelle (April 3, 2008). "Bankrupt Village Inn shutting down local restaurants". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on April 5, 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
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