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.