HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Restaurants and real maple syrup

Was wondering what folks think about whether restaurants, specifically places that specialize in breakfast should offer real maple syrup? Are there places you frequent that do?

Because I can't stand fake syrup, I almost never order pancakes, waffles, or French toast when eating out.

In one case there's a place that calls itself "The French Toast Factory" and they serve 20 some different types. But, they do not offer maple syrup, which kindof ruins the whole deal.

I realize it's expensive, but do you think a place like that (or any place really) should offer real maple syrup? Perhaps for an extra charge?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I LOOOOOOOOOOVE real maple syrup! I would pay the extra fee to have it on my pancakes/waffles/French toast any day

    1. Here in the Twins, so close to Canada, most of the better breakfast places serve only real maple syrup in tiny one-serving bottles or cups. If you want more than that, they charge additional. Some places offer both, with a premium for the real stuff. Quite worth it, I think.

      Part of why I never liked IHOP was their abysmal syrup offerings.

      1. I think restaurants, esp. those specializing in breakfast, should have REAL maple syrup. Factor the cost into the price of the dish, offer only a certain amount (say 1/4 - 1/3 cup) and charge extra for more.
        It is especially a shame here in Canada, where maple syrup is widely produced.

        1 Reply
        1. re: thenurse

          They can't do it that way because a good portion of folks (majority even, perhaps) would rather have the fake stuff. But they could and should offer a fixed portion of real maple syrup for an extra charge. As long as it's a fixed portion there shouldn't be an issue with the cost.

        2. I may be spoiled living in montreal, but I don't see why a resto would offer corn syrup at all (and yes, even here there are many who do- though maple is always available for a small fee.). Why not just use honey as your standard if you're not using maple syrup?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Moosemeat

            We're talking about Aunt Jemima (maple flavoured corn syrup), not plain corn syrup.
            Oh to live in Montreal and be sheltered from the maple syrup woes of the rest of the country/world.
            Honey sucks as a MS substitute, you need that real maple flavour or nothing :(

          2. I always pay for the real syrup (when I can). What makes me crazy is having to leave some behind in the little pitcher afterwords! Bintliff's in Portland ME serves the real stuff (for a small fee) in small glass bottles with stoppers. You use what you need at breakfast and then take the rest home. A great solution in my book.

            1. my mom makes maple syrup each year-- for my whole life, so i crave it as a seasonal ingredient-- it's a springtime thing. most other people seem to think it's a fall-type flavor though. when eating breakfast out i'll order real maple & pay more for it or eat my pancake plain with butter. maybe jam.

              chain restaurants and diners serve log cabin-type stuff. i don't think that people in other areas of the country *get* real maple syrup. a lot of them tell me they are not used to such a strong maple flavor, and they prefer the processed corn syrup-based stuff because it's familiar. had relatives overnight and one of the kids dumped most of a pint bottle of maple syrup on ONE waffle, then turned up her nose. nice.

              1 Reply
              1. re: soupkitten

                There's also a viscosity difference. Log cabin type syrups are thick, and tend to coat the pancakes. Most maple syrup is less viscous, pours out of the bottle faster, and soaks in. I can see how someone who is used to the one, would misuse the other, and then not like the results.


              2. Cracker Barrel advertises pancakes with "a warm bottle of 100% Grade A Pure Maple Syrup."

                2 Replies
                1. re: yayadave

                  Grade B is the really tasty kind.

                  1. re: hrhboo

                    I'm Canadian so we have our own grades, but for my American friends:

                    Grade A Light - light in colour, light (in me) in flavour

                    Grade A Amber - darker colour, deeper maple flavour (my fave)

                    Grade A Dark - still darker, more intense flavour, less sweet

                    Grade B - darkest of all, most intense flavour, even less sweet. Mostly used
                    in cooking, although some stalwarts insist this is best for pancakes.

                2. I have carried my own maple syrup with me for more than 25 years; I have several small bottles, and keep one in each car, and one in my purse. Have syrup, will travel. In this area, most of the breakfast places now sell real syrup as an option with your breakfast for around $1.75. But I would never pay for it, and recommend you do not either. They should serve it if they are going to bother to make a decent pancake. Bring your own.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: janeer

                    I just love to hear that you actually bring your own MS with you. I have heard of people bringing their own salad dressings ( usually low fat or salt free) but now I'm going to bring a little jug of syrup on my next breakfast outing and I know everyone around me will be jealous.

                    1. re: othervoice

                      I think you should really bring the tall 32 oz bottle that Trader Joes sells - in a brown paper bag. :)

                      1. re: paulj

                        Good idea Paul, by the time I feed me and the kids it'll be gone anyway.

                    2. re: janeer

                      We live here in MD and one of the local favorites here is King syrup - basically a corn syrup. My wife will not eat any of the syrup type items (pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc...etc...) without having King syrup. She will eat with just butter if the place does not have King Syrup. It is as thick as molasses. She has learned to start taking it with her also if she plans to eat anything like that. The only other way she will eat them is if she knows the restaurant and they make apple pancakes.

                      1. re: RJJR

                        Yah, a lot of people in the mid-atlantic are into King syrup rather than maple or pancake. I don't really use it that often, but I do like it.

                        Also, during Fastnacht season, grocery stores in my area (SE PA) stock extra Turkey Syrup (Mrs. Schlorer's) - the topping of choice, although King and even plain old molasses sell like crazy as well. Real maple syrup kinda gets lost on a Fastnacht, presumably because it's so much doughier.

                    3. Funny you should mention it. I was recently at J. P. Pancake in Arizona, and was startled to find they charge extra for maple syrup. For $2.50(!) you get a tiny individual bottle, which I suspect has a huge mark-up. I found this tacky and offensive. Oh - and they didn't offer anything else except the fake; no fruit syrups, for instance.

                      I was going to send them a note. I think if they provided a small syrup pitcher with an ounce or two of real maple (which they can buy more cheaply in bulk), and charged 50c more for the pancakes, it would be far better.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Fida

                        i wasn't aware that there were huge maple forests in arizona. they charge a similar amount to what is charged where real maple syrup is locally available-- or for that matter, what pancake houses here in msp charge for a side of nopales. considering that you don't have to cook cactus down for days, or walk through the woods in knee high snow in order to harvest a heavy sap which you then cook down to get 1/40th the original volume in product, i suspect that $2.50 retail is a fair price.

                      2. Wasn't there a Seinfeld episode where Kramer brings his own maple syrup to the restaurant? I think it's an understandable and not altogether unreasonable thing to do, given the alternative of pouring artificially-flavored corn syrup over your french toast or pancakes.