HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


Pancakes anyone?

Anyone have any opinion on what chain makes the best pancakes. IHOP recently re-opened here after a 15+ year absence. It was OK, I wasn't overly impressed. We have a couple of "Original Pancake House" here, in general pretty good. And Bob's Big Boy here usually turns out some good pancakes. I have to grudgingly admit that the ones from the Golden Arches are probably one of the best things on the McD menu.

Also always wondered if there is a technical difference between pancakes, hotcakes, griddle cakes, flapjacks? (Any words I missed?)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have gotten hooked on IHOP's crepes. Especially the Swedish rendition. Annoyingly, they have dropped their potato pancakes from the offerings.

    1. A buddy of mine was out here one weekend and really wanted to go to IHOP one morning. Fine, I said. We sit down, start reading the menus and he asks me, "So, what do you usually get here?"

      I replied: "Heartburn."

      1. The only place I've found that has pancakes anywhere near as good as my homemade is Original Pancake House. Everywhere else I've tried the batter has obviously been beaten too much and the pancakes have "pull" because of the overdeveloped gluten. OPH also offers real maple syrup for an extra charge, which is so much better than the corn syrupy maple flavored stuff that I ate as a kid.

        4 Replies
        1. re: amyzan

          Funny, I really like the sourdough flapjacks at OPH, but it is partly because of the chewiness - which I don't like so much in other pancakes.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            I've never had those at OPH, will give them a try, thanks!

            1. re: amyzan

              And I agree about being able to make good or better at home. But sometimes it is nice to go to breakfast with friends or when I don't especially feel like cooking, and since I don't generally keep syrup in the house.....

              mom always made syrup.... simple syrup with maple flavoring... it was all i knew till I was in my early teens I think (and if you used enough of the flavoring it wasn't all that bad, but sure not the real thing).

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Yeah, a friend's mom used to mix sour cream and brown sugar for her kids instead of syrup. I don't know where she got the idea, but that's what they knew as "syrup."

                It's especially nice to eat pancakes without having to do the dishes!

        2. I've found that pancakes at IHOP vary a lot by location. I really like the ones they make on Wilshire Blvd in LA. But the ones I've had in Arlington, VA were gummy.

          1. It always depends on the location. Even with OPH, while all I've been to are good, some are heavenly. Sad to hear you lost yours.

            1. In South Africa Pancakes are flat as crepes and used for sweet dessertish foods mainly. Crepes are exactly the same, its just the french name for it, flapjacks are like crumpets, griddle cakes are waffles, and hotcakes are some weird old mans girlfriend. Its all relative I suppose...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Lindsay Yssel

                And there are pikelets, which seem like a fat pancake to me. Is that the same as a crumpet?

                1. re: mlgb

                  a pikelet is a flatter kind of crumpet and is not usually round.

                  1. re: smartie

                    Pikelets are round! In New Zealand they sell them precooked packaged like English muffins. They were a great breakfast for traveling, fit in the toaster or microwave.

                    I'm not really familiar with crumpets, though.

              2. Try IHOP's harvest grain and nut pancakes. Far superior to their regular ones. Worth going to IHOP for them alone I believe.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kindofabigdeal

                  Hi bigdeal...I completely agree, yum.

                2. I haven't been in one in years, but when i lived in Denver i loved Village Inn, I've seen a few here in Fl,but haven't been yet, the blueberry was killer, always got'm with strawberries,and whipped cream...very tasty!

                  1. In northern Illinois there is a chain of about 4 Walker Brothers Pancake Houses and their food is wonderful. They have every kind of pancake imaginable. Their coffee is wonderful and they have the most delicious hash browns with onion. I once had bacon pancakes there. They are pancakes with bits of bacon in the batter. Wonderful.....I keep wishing they would open one out by me.

                    1. I have had good luck at Perkins. For a chain "family-style" resto, it does well.

                      Never liked IHOP much.

                      1. Do you have Dennys? I've liked their pancakes.

                        Original Pancake House just opened in my area and I have yet to have a good pancake there. When I went, I ordered potato pancakes and it tasted like burnt eggs. Completely inedible to me. I also tried one of the regular pancakes that came with my mother's meal and didn't like that either.

                        Is it a regional difference? I live in the south and all the pancakes here are light and fluffy. OPH seemed to have an a lot more egg in the batter which produced a thin, heavy pancake.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sunshine17

                          Wow, that's weird, sounds like they're off their game. The OPH I go to in San Diego produces consistently fluffy light pancakes with good flavor. Has your location only been open a short while and not got it together perhaps? I'd suggest you try the german pancake or dutch baby if you go again.

                        2. Growing up in CA, we had the Sambo's chain of restaurants, which had fantastic, light pancakes...however, they went out of business around the mid-80s I think (perhaps because of their non-PC images - anyone?). However, their original restaurant is still (I believe - it was as of 5 years ago or so) located in Santa Barbara, on Carrillo across from the pier, etc.

                          1. Is U.S. Egg a chain? There are two or three here in Metro Phoenix. On my first visit to one (I've yet to go back!!), I had their signature protein pancakes, which contain blueberries and granola served with maple syrup (the pancakes are so good, you can enjoy them without the syrup!!). It is the best pancake I've tasted! So much healthier for you, too, with the anti-oxidant-rich blueberries, whole-grain goodness of granola and pancake batter! Very filling. I was hoping to try the French toast on my next visit, but I don't think I'll ever get around to trying anything else on US Egg's menu :)

                            If you should ever visit Wildflower Bread Co. (website online), do try the lemon-ricotta pancakes (served with a warm blueberry compote). Superb! Their signature banana walnut pancakes are very good, too, but I cannot eat them anymore as I've developed an allergy to bananas :(

                            1. I've wanted to try OPH... are those German and Dutch pancakes really as great as they're touted to be? My ideals of great pancakes are the protein pancakes at US Egg, the lemon-ricotta pancakes at Wildflower Bread Co., and chocolate chip pancakes at Waffle King's Virginia Kitchen (Herndon, VA) and First Watch.

                              I also love French toast!! Ideals are French toast at Morning Glory Cafe (at The Farm at South Mountain), blueberry French toast at Virginia Kitchen (crispy on the outside, with heavy coating of egg batter, and creamy/doughy on the inside, with blueberries mixed in the batter and extra blueberries on top!!), and the French toast at Brunchies (with a creamy orange marmalade compote). Haven't tried the French toast at TC Eggington's yet, but they look marvelous on other people's plates :)

                              Would anyone like to meet for breakfast/brunch in the Tempe/Phoenix areas soon?