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Original Pancake House

22 E. Bellevue Place, Chicago, IL - (312) 642-7917
Posted By Michael Stern on 11/1/2002 4:25:00 AM
As a matter of Roadfood principle, we shun franchises, searching instead for unique restaurants. In the case of the Original Pancake House, we are delighted to make an exception. Last time we looked, there were Original Pancake Houses in 24 states – at least a dozen of them in greater Chicagoland. And we’ve never been to one we didn’t like. For reasons we don’t know, the standards of this franchise seem higher than any other. Some Original Pancake Houses are spectacularly good such as Walker Brothers in Wilmette; others are merely excellent; at every one, we know we can count on Dutch Babies, French crepes, and Pigs-in-Blankets that are standards of pancake excellence; we know the eggs will be fresh, the butter pure, the bacon thick and hickory-smoked, and the juice freshly-squeezed, even the prunes extra-plump.

During a recent stay in Chicago, we paid a visit to the Original Pancake House on 22 E. Bellevue, where we ooed and ahhed our way through a glorious breakfast, including a puffy Dutch Baby and a huge baked German pancake, the latter a a plate-size mesa of eggy batter laced with apple slices and topped with dark, sweet cinnamon glaze. It was 7am and we had a whole day’s eating ahead of us, but it was impossible not to devour the whole multi-thousand calorie meal. It is one of the great breakfasts anywhere.

This is a charming little restaurant: an urban coffee shop with swift, pleasant service and comfortable tables that make lingering over breakfast and coffee a pleasure. It’s not the place to go if you are in a big rush. Everything is cooked to order; and the big baked cakes, slow-risen by the power of eggs, take a full fifteen minutes to prepare.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Here's a whole apple pancake on a plate, just before getting attacked by yours truly. This morning masterpiece is about as big as a half-dozen normal-size apple pastries. It arrives hot from the oven totally puffed up from baking, then gradually settles as you plow through it.
"Here's a whole apple pancake on a plate, just before getting attacked by yours truly. This morning masterpiece is about as big as a half-dozen normal-size apple pastries. It arrives hot from the oven totally puffed up from baking, then gradually settles as you plow through it."
Michael Stern





The Original Pancake House is a sure thing. Even simple breakfasts of bacon and eggs are especially good. The specialty pancakes are extra-special.
"The Original Pancake House is a sure thing. Even simple breakfasts of bacon and eggs are especially good. The specialty pancakes are extra-special."
Michael Stern


Here's a close view of an apple pancake. The texture of the 'cake is light and eggy; the gooey apple topping is devastating.
"Here's a close view of an apple pancake. The texture of the 'cake is light and eggy; the gooey apple topping is devastating."
Michael Stern


The Dutch Baby pancake is like a huge, plate-size Yorkshire pudding. Although regular syrup is provided, customers are encouraged to make their own from a combination of powdered sugar and lemon juice: delicious!
"The Dutch Baby pancake is like a huge, plate-size Yorkshire pudding. Although regular syrup is provided, customers are encouraged to make their own from a combination of powdered sugar and lemon juice: delicious!"
Michael Stern


The waitress was kind enough to take this photograph of us at the moment our pancakes arrived. It was early morning and we were feeling a little cockeyed at the time.
"The waitress was kind enough to take this photograph of us at the moment our pancakes arrived. It was early morning and we were feeling a little cockeyed at the time."
Michael Stern



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