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Went to Richard Walker's Pancake House and all I got was a sunburn

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I guess this should be my fault.

I've seen the lines, and I've read the reports here on Chowhound to avoid the place.

But when I'm not the one making the decision, nor paying the bill, sometimes life does suck.

So today we went to Richard Walker's for brunch. The lines snaked around the block, and we waited a good 40 minutes before being seated.

The 3 of us placed our orders (or at least we thought we did): a basic Apple Pancake, a Dutch Harvest, a Sante Fe Omelete.

The omelete came out about 5 minutes later, but we waited and waited for the pancakes, y'know the raison d'ĂȘtre for being there and for RW's existence?

Well, after about 30 minutes of waiting, our very plesant server came by and apologized profusely that there was a kitchen mixup and our orders were never placed. Gack!

So instead of waiting another 20-30 minutes, and watching everybody in line stare at us, we left. We were comped for the omelet btw (which was very good).

Then it was off to Rubicon for some sandwiches.

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  1. So now you know.

    After the bad experience I had there, I never went back. Too many other places to try that do serve good food without a 40 minute wait and shoddy service

    1. Sorry you had a bad experience. I went twice, and won't go back. They try to fit too many tables into their dining room. The last time I was there, they had left no space between tables, so I was trapped between other diners (and we were shoulder-to-shoulder). The server had to slide the table out for me to leave. The service itself was lacking. The server had this attitude like he was doing us a favor by waiting our table. It took us about 45 min to get food. There are too many great places in town for me to put up with that. Next time you're looking for breakfast, try Snooze on 5th in Hillcrest, Cafe on Park, or the Fig Tree (University and 5th, left on University, just past the Vietnamese place).

      1. @DiningDiva and beth1

        Can either of you, or anyone, explain its popularity?

        I mean, are the baked pancakes at least good? Good enough where people willingly -- happily, no less -- wait for 30+ minutes?

        Most of the folks we met in line weren't tourists, so it's not like they were drawing on the naive, starry-eyed, out-of-town masses. I mean there was a group that drove from San Marcos(!) waiting in line.

        7 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I don't remember the food we had when we went, and no, I can't explain it's popularity

          1. re: DiningDiva

            We did the 40 minute+ wait, once, some time ago. We had a booth and did not have problems with service. The apple pancakes were really good, and not too expensive. But, they were insultingly huge. That is why it is popular I believe. The servings are gigantic. Overall, not worth going back. We never did....

            1. re: wrldtrvl

              I don't remember the portions being huge, but then again I was there quite a long time ago. I *think* my friend got the famous(?) pecan waffle and the pecans were stale. I don't remember what I had at all. What I do remember was the snotty service and a restaurant space that was so jammed and noisy it was unpleasant. Neither the wait nor the food was worth the aggravation or a return visit.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Because the mo of San Diego diners seems to be "the food was bad, but there wasn't enough of it"

            1. re: ipsedixit

              I went to the branch in the Schaumburg/Palatine, IL area over 10 years ago and I can honestly say there was nothing remarkable about it. Not that the food wasn't good - it was okay, but it wasn't great.

              The pull is just the ridiculously massive portions of food. Think Greed. Like Medieval Times or any other establishment that offers portions of food the size of a small human.

              Quite frankly, I'm surprised that chain is still open. I don't think I've seen a location in Chicago - it must be a suburban thing.

              1. re: nikkib99

                Large portions here too, huh?

                I think I'll just start calling these places Richard Walker's Hash House.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                One thing that may create the lines is that they usually run a buy one get one coupon in the local toiurist rags.

              3. It's not like they are giving away the beloved Filet O' Fish or something..
                Head up to Snooze in Hillcrest next time ipsy..