Original Pancake House

Review by: Michael Stern

The Original Pancake House is a nationwide franchise; and miraculously, every one of the several dozen branches that we’ve sampled maintains the highest standards of quality ingredients and delicious food. Still, some are better than others. At the head of the list is the original Original Pancake House of Portland. Since 1953, this place has defined pancake excellence.

Original Pancake House pancakes are to ordinary restaurant flapjacks what champagne is to grape juice – so good they are almost like another kind of food altogether. They are elegant, complex, transcendent … and yet utterly satisfying the way only pancakes can be. The secret, other than good recipes for a large variety of ‘cakes from simple buttermilk silver dollars to elaborate crepes, is that the kitchen uses the highest quality ingredients; and this is no mere marketing-ploy boast. You really can taste the freshness of butter and eggs in everything served; even cream that comes with coffee seems like something from a farm kitchen; and orange juice is the pulpiest, most flavorful we’ve had anywhere.

Omelets – made with a half-dozen eggs – are beyond compare. The corned beef hash is superb. Bacon is thick and chewy, with just the right amount of crunch to every bite. The top-of-the-line pancake is baked apple, a vast plateau of deliciousness big enough for two mighty appetites. The other baked pancake, a Dutch Baby, lacks the gooeyness of the baked apple, but has the same deliriously eggy richness; and when you spritz it with lemon juice and sprinkle on powdered sugar, you create an elegant syrup that makes it an impossible-to-stop-eating sensation.

A word of warning: the Pancake House gets crowded on weekends and takes no reservations; come at an off hour if you can. And it is closed both Monday and Tuesday.

What To Eat

Dutch Baby

Large Orange Juice


Corned Beef Hash

Blueberry Waffle


Original Pancake House Recipes


What do you think of Original Pancake House?

2 Responses to “Original Pancake House”

Doug MacDonald

July 27th, 2009

I drove 60 miles from my home just to visit this restaurant. I’m always looking for the best breakfast place in any town and a lot that is said about this place had me hooked. I also had read of high reviews and recommendation’s in the Oregonian newspaper and the Portlander magazine’s guide to the best places to eat in Portland. Unfortunately I will not be going back.

My wife and I both had the pancakes and we were not impressed at all. They were neither tasty nor fluffy, contrary to what has been reported. The pancakes I make at home are what you expect and then some from a restaurant such as the Original Pancake House.

And this place is way overpriced for the food they deliver as well. I think they may be living on the laurels of the past that are no longer there. Bottom line: we will not be going back. There are too many other restaurants in Portland that serve up a breakfast that is worthy of a return visit.


Marianne Schlies

October 22nd, 2007

This FIRST restaurant, opened in 1953, of a now nationwide chain is exceptional. My first visit was 28 years ago when my family moved to Oregon. It is every bit as good as I remembered.

The fog, the nippy air, the warm fireplace and bacon aroma made our visit particulary welcoming. This is a small restaurant with only 17 small tables. There were 20 people waiting on the benches that line the entrance and we were told the wait would be 45 minutes. The patrons respectfully turned off their cell phones. No music played to entertain or annoy us. Guests talked with others in their group or strangers also waiting for a table. Everyone seemed on their best behaviour.

We were seated after 25 minutes and greeted by a friendly waitress. The menu offered pancakes, waffles, crepes, custom-cured breakfast meats and egg dishes. No potatoes on the menu, except for the light and lacy potato pancakes served with the corned beef hash. No soda pop is served, but our large pot of tea provided caffeine in a unhurried old-fashioned way.

The food takes awhile which gave us time to watch a waitress deliver a Dutch Baby and envelop us with its fragrant, perhaps sacred, steam. A tray of ruby grapefuit juice in large glasses made me think of luxurious jewels. Obviously we had travelled back to a past time.

My green chili and Monterey Jack omelet arrived puffy and oozing melted cheese. Research tells me they bake the omelet briefly after rolling it to allow the eggs to puff and the cheese to melt! The bacon was thick, smokey and crisp. The pecan pancakes were fragrant with fresh roasted nuts and tropical syrup. The corned beef hash was crafted from a recipe from another era. Every detail was perfect. Every mouthful reminded me of when my Gramma made up breakfast 40 years ago. This team knows how to cook!

If you want a step back into another era before cell phones, soda for breakfast, noisy backgroup music and McMuffins visit this gem of a restaurant and come away soothed.


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