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Jun 23, 2007 06:47 PM

Review: JP Pancake - Scottsdale

I can't really review JP Pancake objectively. We've been going here for a long time and basically love it. A few weeks ago we tried to go and saw a sign in the window saying they were closed for remodeling. It didn't look much different at that point, but there was some plastic sheeting blocking the kitchen area. The sign said they would be open on June 12. We went on June 16, and the sign now said on or around June 20. I called on Wednesday, and they said they hoped to be open on Sat, June 23. I called their number last evening and a person actually answered the phone. She confirmed they'd be open today. We were very happy at that news.

We headed over this morning at about 11am. We got there at 11:20. At first blush, the interior looked the same. The same semi-circle booths lining the walls were still there, as were the mixture of round and square tables in the center. The walls were very bare and had obviously been repainted. The counter in the back was missing the upper section of shelves and the coffee maker was against the kitchen wall. To someone who'd only been there a few times, it wouldn't look any different.

The place was nearly full and we snagged the last free table by the door. A few minutes later, Donna, who we believe is the owner, brought us our napkins and flatware, but no menus. This would seem odd, until you realize that shortly thereafter, Rachel, one of the waitresses, brought us our drink order of a chocolate milk for me and a Coke for Tara. Without us actually ordering. We go there enough that our order is almost a forgone conclusion. She also tried to guess our order, which us normally French Toast for me and chocolate chip pancakes for Tara. Tara couldn't decide which she wanted, so she split the difference. She got a single slice of French Toast and a side stack of chocolate chip pancakes. Both of our French Toast orders had cinnamon added. Our order was capped off by bacon for Tara and sausage links for me.

JP isn't a rush the food out place. The waitstaff's' shirts usually have their slogan on the back: "Perfection takes time". For some reason they weren't wearing the matching shirts today. Amidst the bustle, we asked Rachel about the remodel. Apparently, it wasn't so much a remodel as a repair. A pipe in the wall burst and they had to rip the east and south walls to repair it. From what we gathered, it wasn't a fun process and took longer than they had expected. All the basic stuff has been fixed, but they still need to finish off some of the trim work and put the decorations back up.

Thankfully, the food still rocked. My plate of cinnamon French Toast came on an oval plate, with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar and cinnamon. Two small ramekins of butter were on the plate as well. A container of syrup was put on the table, but I was in the mood for some real maple syrup. I'm from Maine, so what do you expect? My sausage came on a small plate on the side. The French Toast is made with challah bread. I buttered it up and took a bite. Even without the maple, it was great. The maple just made it better. In short order, I polished it all off and was in my Happy Place.

Tara's meal came on several plates. Thankfully, they had the pancakes and French Toast each on separate plates. Rachel missed the bacon order, but remedied that with no problem. Tara's dual hankerings were filled easily. She loved both of them and had the bacon for dessert.

A word about the service. As mentioned above, we all but have a standing order and they remember us. Rachel is an extreme smartass and gives the customers playful grief. A booth along the wall had a couple in it. At one point, they spilled a glass of orange juice. After cleaning the table, Rachel brought them new drinks, and put the guy's OJ in a sippy cup. Most of the customers seem to know her and roll with it. Most of the waitresses have been there for several years and know the regulars. It's a very relaxed atmosphere and they all help each other out.

JP is one of our usual breakfast spots as you may have guessed. We love the food and it has never let us down. The waitstaff is always friendly and always helpful. They are almost always packed early in the morning, but by noon the crowds die down a bit. They have some unusual selections, like their oven-baked pancakes. They are located in a strip mall at Hayden and Mountain View Roads in Scottsdale. Mountain View is just south of Shea.

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  1. I don't understand the situation with the syrup. I like real maple,also. Can you clarify what is available? Thanks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: johnseberg

      They normally serve just plain generic syrup. The maple syrup costs extra for a 1 or 2 ounce bottle.

    2. Any whole wheat or multigrain pancakes on the menu?

      5 Replies
      1. re: silverbear

        I'd like to say yes, but I'm honestly not sure. They have a large selection of pancakes, but I am a French Toast person for the most part and Tara stops at the chocolate chip pancakes.

        1. re: silverbear

          SB: We went there this past weekend and I confirmed that they don't have any whole wheat or multigrain pancakes.

          1. re: Firenza00

            A few work gouhls and I went two weeks ago. I had never heard of it.

            I hate the quiche - spinach, ham, swiss cheese. It was pretty good, not the best I've had.

            I did make a comment that they must be remodeling because it was dreary inside.

            Please note: If I ever open a restaurant that serves breakfast, REAL maple syrup will be part of your standard fare. That, and good coffee.

            1. re: Firenza00

              Thanks for the update. The various places with egg in their name -- U.S. Egg, Eggery, etc. -- seem to be the best choice for whole wheat pancakes.

              J P Pancake
              9619 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85258

              Us Egg
              131 E Baseline Rd, Tempe, AZ 85283

              Eggery Etc
              50 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85012

              1. re: silverbear

                Oo, now if we can just find gingerbread pancakes somewhere in the valley, I might just start going out for breakfast again. Or buckwheat! I have spent years searching, to no avail.

          2. Just went to JP for the first time, largely on the basis of recommendations here. And although I'm normally fairly oblivious to my surroundings, I found something very of-putting about the room. It's depressing. It's badly furnished, with poorly chosen and poorly arranged tables, so that one person was taking up a table for four. And the whole room had a sickly sweet smell which I assume is from inadequate ventilation.

            The food was good, but without any sense about pleasant presentation. And the idea of charging extra for maple syrup is not only tacky but, to me, a sign that they're really not serious about the food. No reason that they can't buy maple syrup in bulk, and use small containers (to stop greediness). For that matter, no reason they can't have some alternates, like fruit syrups. I also found it annoying that you couldn't just get a cup of coffee, but had to pay more for the unlimited version.

            I'll try it again, but wasn't thrilled.

            1. I finally got to try JP this morning. For the most part, I was impressed.

              The good:

              Interesting and unique pancakes. I tried the one with orange zest and dried cranberries -- an unexpectedly good combination. The pancakes had a nice fluffy texture and were not excessively filling.

              Friendly service. I had my daughter with me, and the server helped me wrangle a high chair and was consistently attentive to our needs.

              I did not object to paying extra for real maple syrup. At so many places, it's not even available, so I'm willing pay a premium to get it. Plus, the way it's packaged in little airline-style bottles makes it easy for two people to share or for one person to take the extra home for use another time. I did the latter.

              Nice selection of loose teas. It was so nice to order tea with my breakfast and have it delivered in a pot rather than with a teabag that I then have to dispose of.

              Room for improvement:

              As noted above, with all the pancake varieties available, it would be nice to see at least one whole grain option on the menu.

              The interior is somewhat dreary. It's funny. If JP were a taqueria or a pho joint, for example, I wouldn't object to the decor. I expect a breakfast place to be bright and cheery, however.

              2 Replies
              1. re: silverbear

                Yeah, the interior is nothing to write home about. We barely notice it anymore. I go there for the French Toast, not the decor. :-D
                Did you happen to get your waitress' name?

                1. re: Firenza00

                  Sorry. I did not, but she was quite pleasant and helpful. This was the first time I had ever dined out with baby but without wife along. I therefore appreciated the help in setting up the high chair, the extra napkins, etc.