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Never Seen Anything Like It

This IHOP owner was international enough, but what's a pancake?

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This story appears in the January 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The explosion was anticipated, but as it ripped through the night, I had to resist the urge to duck. I was in the midst of a lavish Independence Day party thrown by IHOP's largest franchisee, Joe Katin. Joe owns the ranch next door to Southfork Ranch, home of the fictional Ewings, who helped put Dallas on the map. Between bombs bursting in air, I learned of another IHOP success story--Rima Hakim.

Hakim, a petite, 37-year-old single mother of two preteen boys, immigrated to the United States at age 18. Her childhood was spent in a war-ravaged part of the Middle East where the bombs were noted for their destruction, not their beauty.

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