Northern Virginia’s IHOP Alternative


By Christine Viray, Staff Writer

If you are unfamiliar with IHOP, it’s a 24/7 restaurant where people can have breakfast for dinner. While it is well known for having an affordable selection of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, customers can have a similar but new experience at the Amphora Diner Deluxe and Amphora Restaurant.

With locations in Vienna and Herndon, Amphora is a family-run group founded by the Cholakis and Bilidas families, who opened the Amphora Restaurant in Vienna in the late 1960s.  Throughout the years, the company has grown and opened up another location in Herndon called the Amphora Diner Deluxe. Both locations offer catering options and have their own bakeries with varied selections.

Other than being open 24/7, what’s remarkable about the Amphora locations is that they’re open during the holidays.  With Amphora’s large selection of food, customers don’t have to worry about having limited options.

Unlike other restaurants, Amphora’s Herndon bakery offers birthday celebration options that allow customers to decorate their own cakes with professional pastry chefs.

Both Amphora locations are essentially the same in terms of what they have to offer, but the Amphora Diner Deluxe has a more unique and flashy exterior that stands out from its surroundings, especially at night. However, there’s nothing wrong with the Amphora Restaurant’s more traditional exterior and both locations essentially look similar on the inside.

Both Amphora restaurants offer an expansive menu with more than 350 options to choose from.  Customers can pick from a variety of pastas, burgers, salads, and Belgian waffles. In terms of the breakfast options, customers are able to make their dish a “deluxe”, which means that their order can include their choice of ham, sizzling bacon, or sausage with two eggs in any style that they prefer to have them cooked.

Amphora offers a wide variety of sundaes, splits, and pies for dessert. Like the dessert menu, Amphora’s bakeries offer freshly baked cakes and made-from-scratch cheesecakes like its award-winning strawberry cheesecake.

Amphora offers different drinking options as well which include sweet and creamy shakes, fizzy sodas that you can create yourself, and alcohol.

Amphora’s atmosphere is mostly casual and relaxed and customers are free to choose between sitting in a booth, table, or one of the private banquet rooms that are available. Then they are given bread and butter that they can eat while browsing the expansive menu.

The restaurants pride themselves on their high-quality food based on fresh ingredients. If customers have an issue with a dish or want something more, the staff will gladly help make their dining experience better.

In 2015, the Washingtonian named the Amphora in its “Best of Washington” list of restaurants. Amphora has its own newsletter and four social media platforms where people can follow them, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram.

During this fall and upcoming winter season, Amphora will host Spooky Gingerbread House Workshops and Holiday Gingerbread House Workshops at its Herndon location. They will also offer gingerbread house kits that customers can take home. Amphora also offers Thanksgiving pie selections until Nov. 20.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Gardener