Readers share their pancake hotspots
Food writer Nancy Leson offers her list of don't-miss pancake restaurants and shares the spots readers suggested as their favorites.
Seattle Times food writer
In advance of this month's reader roundup, I put out this call: "Where do you go for pancakes?" And I wasn't just talking about the maple-syrup'd hotstack. The way I see it, Greater Seattle is a veritable international house of pancakes — and I don't mean IHOP.
We also have Vietnamese banh xeo, Japanese o-konomiyaki and South Indian dosas, to name a few. So I raised the flag for variations on the theme.
Indeed, there were Eaters who agreed with me, proving the Earth is flat, thanks to a wide world of pancake options from countries around the globe. But in the end, the majority of the crowd root, root, rooted for the home team: the good old-fashioned American pancake house. Here's their take:
"The text message that goes out simply says, 'Pancakes? 9 a.m.?' and we all know that it means meet at the Original Pancake House" the next day, said one fan of Seattle's Crown Hill classic. "The Dutch Baby!" chimes in another regular, who says his "out-of-town food snob guests" rave about it every time. As a longtime proponent of the Original Pancake House, this food-snob agrees with the Eater who insists, "I haven't met a pancake I didn't like there." My family favors the Parkplace location in Kirkland, where we always order the mile-high, cinnamon-scented apple pancake before lighting into everything from the Swedish pancakes (lingonberries? Ya, sure!) to the trademarked 49'er Flap Jacks.
Newsflash! The local franchise of this national chain will soon have a Bothell sibling, slated to open in June, just north of Thrashers Corner.
"I'm a big fan of the Pancake Chef in SeaTac and Tommy's Cafe in Renton. Both are old skool and delightful!" says one Southender. Pancake Chef has an array of great pancakes, nods another regular, while a third suggests I sample the crisp corn fritters, noting this pancake stop, in business since 1959, used to be one of the original Clark's chain "and still looks it."
Bellevue's Chace's Pancake Corral predate's SeaTac's pancake palace by a year, and if you haven't been, you don't know what you're missing. I come for the homey, small-town-atmo. Others for the "awesome pancakes and waffles," among them, the buckwheat pancakes known for "crispy edges and soft interiors."
North Seattleites hitch their wagon to the cakes at Cyndy's House of Pancakes. Avid Eater Chuck goes for the Holland Baby (with a side of "great friendly service"). And while the pancakes at Eastlake's 14 Carrot Cafe are worth a stop, says another pancake aficionado, she's with Chuck, adding, "you certainly can't beat the coconut syrup on the Tropical Stack at Cyndy's."
When I want pancakes in Edmonds, I head to the soft-tofu house Hosoonyi and order pajeon — the Korean rice-flour pancake enfolding seafood and scallions. But my Eaters would rather send you to the German-accented Pancake Haus in downtown Edmonds for potato pancakes. Or to its sunnier Highway 99 competition, the Family Pancake House. Founded in 1963 by Robert Mattwig (the "Bob" behind the serviceable pancakes-and-eggs combo of the same name), the place is known for its warmhearted staffers, and it offers an extended family of pancake-centric diners with locations in Redmond, Bremerton and Port Orchard.
Rest assured, however, that when it comes to pancakes, it's not all old-skool and time-warp. To wit, the vibrant, vegan Plum Bistro on Capitol Hill is home to one Eater's idea of pancake nirvana: banana pancakes with a chocolate mole sauce. Another suggests, "There simply is no Dutch Baby better than the one served at the Tilikum Place Cafe" near Seattle Center. But what I love about that lovely baby is it's available both savory or sweet, at breakfast and lunch.
"Amazing" is the word that describes the organic pancake options at Portage Bay Cafe, with locations on Roosevelt and in South Lake Union and Ballard, say those who regularly belly up to the cafe's toppings bar for fresh fruits, nuts and real Vermont maple syrup. And I'm with them. Care to add your take on the great pancake debate, and find links to more info? Come visit my blog at All You Can Eat.
About Nancy Leson
Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants. Check her latest thoughts in her All You Can Eat blog. Her column appears each Wednesday. Her restaurant roundups appear monthly, on Fridays, in the Restaurants and Entertainment sections.
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When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.