No one ever has been able to eat a four giant stack at Charlie Parker’s, which is a shame, because if you do, it’s on the house. Otherwise, you’ll pay about $20. Actually, that is a bargain, considering that the four pancakes that comprise a giant stack are enough food for eight people, easily. Non-competitive customers order a single giant for about $5, and to finish that is a significant accomplishment. It covers an 18-inch diameter pizza pan and is nearly a half-inch thick. (It is flipped on the griddle using a pizza peel.)
Surprise! The giant pancake also is really good, made from a batter we want to call brut – not sweet at all, but fresh and farmy with a lot of good crunch to the edge. It arrives topped with a quartet of blister packs of Land O’ Lakes Fresh Buttery Taste™ Spread and a pitcher of corn syrup. All the spread and the whole pitcher of syrup barely stretch to cover the pancake, which expands to even greater size as it absorbs them both. A small portion of one of these mighty flapjacks is a terrific hors d’oeuvre before plowing into one of Charlie Parker’s fine breakfast horseshoes.
The shoes are a Springfield paradigm: big oval plates with a foundation of white bread topped by eggs, breakfast meats, hash browns and cream gravy and/or hot cheese sauce. About as hard to polish off as a four giant stack, the breakfast horseshoe makes a fine meal for two. Of course, the more typical lunch horseshoe is available, made with turkey and/or ham.
Charlie’s is an out-of-the-way Quonset hut diner that goes back decades but was given a spiffy-kitschy 1950s interior makeover that includes plenty of glass bricks, neon, and chrome-banded stools at the counter.