These restaurants across the U.S. know how to make an incredible stack of pancakes.
Sourdough’s history in Alaska dates back to the great Klondike Gold Rush of 1896. The term was used as a nickname to describe miners, or prospectors, who had come from the West. Some say “sourdoughs” were those who had been through one of the state’s cold winters and saw the ice “go out,” while others believe it was used because prospectors always carried pots of sourdough on their backs. Miners often worked far from civilization, so they had to sustain themselves on local game, fish, and sourdough bread. Sourdough cultures, or starters, have been passed from generation to generation and are a staple in Alaskan cuisine. At Harley’s Old Thyme Cafe, the Old Time Sourdough Griddle Cakes are made from Harley’s starter every morning. As the menu says, “Sour cakes are thinner and not as fluffy as buttermilk cakes, but ‘Oh, what flavor'”!
Harley’s Old Thyme Cafe, 7550 Old Seward Hwy, Anchorage; (907) 349-8878; harleysotcafe.com
Homemade Version: Emeril Lagasse’s Blueberry Sourdough Pancakes
Customers at The Griddle Café have a real problem on their hands — there are more than 15 stellar pancake creations on the menu. How does one choose? You might start with some of their most popular flavors: Banananana, Red Velvet, and Tis the Season (pictured, recipe below). Banananana has brown-sugar baked bananas folded into a buttermilk batter, infusing every bite with strong banana flavor. Red Velvet brings the flavors of pancakes and red velvet cupcakes into a happy marriage. And pumpkin is the special flavor that makes Tis the Season pancakes a hit.
The Griddle Café, 7916 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; (323) 874-0377; thegriddlecafe.com
Homemade Version: The Griddle Café’s Tis the Season Pancakes
Who says you have to eat your dessert after dinner? Just as you might crave breakfast for dinner, other times you might wake up needing to satiate your sweet tooth. With three Connecticut locations and a fourth one coming, Chip’s provides the perfect breakfast treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. While you can opt for the more savory options, like their potato pancakes, the true crowd favorites are the “Build Your Own Pancakes”. You can add anything from peanut butter chips to chocolate chips and bananas, to all three! They’re definitely worth a bite next time you’re driving through Connecticut
Chip’s Family Restaurant, Multiple Locations, Connecticut; (203) 332-3370; chipsrestaurants.com
Homemade Version: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Pancakes
With four location in the city, this Atlanta-based establishment believes in wholesome, fresh preparation. The chefs even mill their own grains to make flour that’s used in their spectacular eats. The traditional, southern-style Sweet Potato Pancakes get amazing flavor from the addition of sweet potatoes. They are served with a housemade brown sugar butter and toasted pecans.
Highland Bakery, 655 Highland Ave. NE, No. 10, Atlanta; (404) 586-0772; highlandbakery.com
Homemade Version: Charleston Sweet-Potato Pancake
While Idaho and Sweden may not have an obvious connection, 3.5 percent of the state’s population is actually made up of Americans of Swedish descent. Swedes are famous for their meatballs (Ikea sells them like hotcakes), their ability to smoke fish, and their thin, eggy, pancakes. The best Swedish-style version in the state can be found at Smitty’s Pancake and Steakhouse, where they serve three delicate pancakes rolled with a choice of syrupy strawberries, blueberries, peaches, hot cinnamon-glazed apples, or lingonberries. The flapjacks are nicely finished with a dollop of whipped butter and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Smitty’s Pancake and Steakhouse, 645 W Broadway St., Idaho Falls; (208) 523-6450; www.smittys-if.com/
Homemade Version: Blueberry Shortcakes
Many restaurants offer some kind of breakfast special that includes eggs, ham or bacon, and pancakes, but at Flap-Jacks Pancakes House, they take it a step further by turning those ingredients into a sandwich. At any one of the four highly-rated Flap-Jacks locations, guests can order the Pancake Sandwich — “ham and two eggs any style nestled between hot fluffy pancakes.” If it’s a more traditional stack you’re after, try the buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries or cinnamon-spiced apples.
Flap-Jacks Pancake House, Multiple Locations; flap-jacks.com
Homemade Version: Savory French-Toast BLT
The Grove Cafe is no stranger to recognition from adoring customers and food critics. The restaurant is regularly picked as a best spot for breakfast by residents of Story County. It even got recognition for its breakfast eats in Food Network Magazine. One of the menu items that keeps them coming back is Our Famous Pancake. For just $4.00, you get a “famously huge” pancake. No frills are needed when you can serve up a delicious pancake that could feed a family.
The Grove Café, 124 Main St., Ames; (515) 232-9784; grovecafe.com
Homemade Version: Skillet-Sized Pancake
At this quirky tea salon with a farmhouse motif, dishes are served on mis-matched plates and everything is made from scratch. One item to note is the lemon-skillet pancake with bright green butter.
Hillbilly Tea, 120 South 1st St., Louisville; (502) 587-7350; hillbillytea.com
Homemade Version: Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Caramelized Apples
This French Quarter restaurant took everything that was already amazing about pancakes and made them even better by adding vanilla ice cream.
Stanley’s, 547 St. Ann St, New Orleans; (504) 587-0093; stanleyrestaurant.com
Homemade Version: Basic Buttermilk Pancakes
At Succotash, breakfast is king. The restaurant considers the morning meal its cornerstone, and it provides a number of enticing hotcakes to try. One of the favorites is the Burrito of Love — a plate-sized buttermilk pancake wrapped up like a burrito around two scrambled eggs, two slices of thick-cut bacon, and cheedar cheese. Once you have conquered the Burrito, try the Sumo Wrester — “a kitchen sink of your choice” stuffed in a buttermilk pancake and topped with gravy. Diners who finish that crazy dish get recognized on the Wall of Fame. For those who abide by dietary restrictions, Succotash offers a vegan shortstack and buttery, crepe-like, gluten-free Swedish pancakes. Make a tempting version of Succotash’s Swedish pancakes at home using the recipe below.
Succotash, 2601 Holmes St., Kansas City; (816) 421-2807; succotashkc.com
Homemade Version: Succotash’s Swedish Pancakes with Sweet Ricotta Filling and Gingered Peach Syrup
Amato’s has already been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Man vs. Food, so you know it must be pretty darn good. What draws locals, travelers, and television hosts are the homemade Italian sausage, red sauce staples, and their creamy ricotta pancakes. The signature stack is served with a choice of fruit — raspberries are an excellent complement.
Amato’s, 6405 Center St., Omaha; (402) 558-5010
Homemade Version: Ricotta Pancakes with Orange Syrup
When Guy Fieri decided to film an episode of Diners, Drives-Ins, and Dives about big breakfasts, there was one place that had to be on the list: Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory. You could spend half of your time at Brownstone Diner reading through the massive menu. But we suggest you stick to the pancake page, which already has more than 30 options. Try one of these standouts: the Combo Rollups (three pancakes each separately rolled with apple, blueberry, and strawberry compote); PB&J Pancakes (with peanut butter chunks and jelly); or Pigs in the Blanket (pork sausage links nestled in pancakes). Traditionalist can come for something less daring, like the Strawberry Buttermilk pancakes (pictured).
Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory, 426 Jersey Ave., Jersey City; (201) 433-0471; brownstonediner.com
Homemade Version: PB and J Banana Pancakes