The Best Pancakes in Every State Gallery
February 9, 2018
Whether you call them pancakes, flapjacks, or griddle cakes, they’re just about impossible to dislike
The Best Pancakes in Every State
Yelp/ Cadillac Cafe
Have you ever met someone who doesn’t like pancakes? Finding someone who actively dislikes big, fluffy flapjacks topped with butter and maple syrup is about as rare as finding a unicorn. The reason? They’re one of the most delicious foods in existence — and we’ve tracked down the best place to find them in every state as well as Washington, D.C.
Alabama: Big Bad Breakfast, Birmingham
Yelp/ Brooke W.
Chef John Currence is the master of the Southern breakfast, and his menu at Big Bad Breakfast (which has another location in Oxford, Miss.) is chock full of classic breakfast staples like shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, and chicken and waffles. And his flapjacks –buttermilk pancakes served three to an order with warm maple syrup and your choice of breakfast meat – are just about perfect.
Alaska: Granny B’s, Anchorage
Yelp/ Dean W.
This small, quirky diner is an ideal Anchorage breakfast destination, with generous portions and a warm and cozy atmosphere. The pancakes here are exactly as you’d expect: big, fluffy, and slightly crisped in the corners from the butter on the griddle. The blueberry pancakes are especially memorable.
Arizona: Butters Pancakes and Café, Scottsdale
Yelp/ Benjamin L.
Only the highest-quality ingredients go into the menu items at this Scottsdale breakfast destination, which has 14 different pancakes on the menu ranging from a simple short stack to Banana Cream Cakes (fresh bananas and cream, graham cracker pecan crumb, and caramel) and Wildberry Bliss Cakes (stuffed with blueberries, layered with vanilla mascarpone, topped with vanilla cream, fresh wildberries, and glaze). The folks who run this restaurant have spent decades in the industry, and it shows; you really can do no wrong here.
Arkansas: The Pancake Shop, Hot Springs
Yelp/ Artifact Adventure C.
Serving some of Arkansas’ finest breakfasts since 1940, The Pancake Shop serves a no-frills menu of breakfast staples, including six pancake varieties: buttermilk, buckwheat, blueberry, buckwheat blueberry, apple, and banana. Whatever you order, you can expect your pancakes to be big, fluffy, and perfectly golden brown.
California: The Griddle Cafe, Los Angeles
Yelp/ Tiffany P.
Hip and constantly bustling, The Griddle Cafe is renowned for being one of the best breakfast spots in Los Angeles, and is also a top spot for celebrity sightings, if that’s your thing. But even if Jennifer Aniston is sitting right next to you, you probably won’t notice once your gigantic pancakes arrive. Their original buttermilk pancakes and red velvet pancakes are the stuff of legend, and in fact they’re so popular that the restaurant has started selling their proprietary mix online. But if you’re looking to go outside the box, try one of their nearly 20 creative variations, like Scotch on the Rocks (coconut, pecan, oat, and butterscotch chips), Black Magic (filled and topped with crushed Oreos) or Saturday Morning Fever (with Bailey’s and Kahlua in the batter).
Colorado: Mountain Shadows, Colorado Springs
Yelp/ Erika C.
This Colorado Springs diner is a big hit with the locals, who have been flocking here for its pancakes, omelettes, and fresh-made pies for more than 25 years. You can order your pancakes filled with blueberries, bananas, strawberries, or chocolate chips, but we suggest the Life is Good pancake, a big blueberry pancake topped with blueberries, bananas, and whipped cream.
Connecticut: Somewhere in Time, Mystic
Yelp/ Ed K.
This adorable little café is turning out some top-notch fresh baked goods, egg dishes, banana bread French toast, and pancakes. Available in either buttermilk or whole grain, you can fill your pancakes with your choice of blueberries, cranberries, walnuts, almonds, raisins, homemade granola, chocolate chips, or cream cheese, but they’re spectacular with just a drizzle of maple syrup.
Delaware: Drip Café, Hockessin
Yelp/ Edna R.
This small-town coffee shop specializes in using local and sustainable ingredients, and its pancakes (which are available in stacks of one, two, or three) are made with buttermilk and topped with high-quality butter and real maple syrup. They’re also available studded with bacon and topped with roasted apples, bacon, and housemade salted caramel sauce.
Florida: The Breakfast House, Sarasota
Yelp/ Tasha L.
This charming and low-key Sarasota breakfast spot serves a wide variety of omelettes, Benedicts, French toast, and specialties like Key West shrimp and grits. The pancakes are really something special, though; they’re available in styles including banana pecan, cranberry walnut, and white chocolate macadamia, and the house specialty is the Island Cakes, filled with coconut, macadamia nuts, and a grilled fresh pineapple ring.
Georgia: Clary’s Café, Savannah
Yelp/ Ryan W.
A classic Southern-style diner, Clary’s is a colorful, homey Savannah destination serving spot-on versions of Southern breakfast staples. The waffles and sticky buns are legendary, but don’t miss the griddle cakes – two big buttermilk pancakes served with butter and your choice of pure maple syrup or Georgia cane syrup—filled with your choice of blueberries, chocolate chips, or Georgia pecans.
Hawaii: Kihei Caffe, Kihei
Yelp/ Ann Y.
Located a stone’s throw from the ocean, this charming counter-service café with a cute patio happens to be serving some of Hawaii’s finest breakfasts from a 40 item-strong menu. The huge cinnamon rolls and classic Hawaiian loco moco (with two eggs, a burger patty, white rice, and brown gravy) are the real deal, but the big, fluffy pancakes are just about perfect, especially when stacked high and topped with bananas and macadamia nuts or pineapple and coconut.
Idaho: Smitty’s Pancake & Steak House, Idaho Falls
Yelp/ Dustin B.
As can be expected from the name, this low-key Idaho Falls eatery, family-run since 1971, does two things really well: steaks and pancakes. Top sirloin, ribeye, and chicken fried steak are dinner favorites, but come breakfast it’s all about the pancakes, which are available in a wide variety of styles: buttermilk (with strawberries, blueberries, bananas, or chocolate chips); potato; buckwheat; Southern pecan (with a special eggy batter); German; Baby Dutchman with lemon wedges and powdered sugar; Swedish roll-ups with lingonberries; and even gluten-free. We suggest you go with the classic, though: old-fashioned sourdough pancakes, made with a 100 year-old recipe passed down from the founder’s grandmother.
Illinois: Walker Brothers Original Pancake House, Wilmette
Yelp/ Karen K.
For more than 50 years, this outlier franchise of the Original Pancake House chain has been serving absolutely stellar pancakes, now available in more than 10 varieties including buttermilk, blueberry, Georgia pecan, bacon, potato, buckwheat, wheat germ granola, and gluten-free. The other locations don’t hold a candle to this outpost, simply because they were one of the very first franchisees and have been doing things their own way since day one. That includes using the highest-quality butter and cream and hard wheat unbleached flour in its pancake recipe. If blueberry pancakes are your thing, don’t miss these: You get six in an order, they’re studded with lots of fresh blueberries, and they’re served with fresh blueberry compote on the side.
Indiana: Lincoln Square Pancake House, Various Locations
Yelp/ Brittany S.
An Indianapolis institution that now has 10 locations in the state, the family-run Lincoln Square Pancake House has been going strong since 1989. And as the name might imply, the pancakes here are just about perfect. Golden brown from end to end and based on a recipe that’s been perfected over decades, they come with a variety of toppings including fresh fruit, chocolate chips, candied pecans, granola, and honey. The corn cakes, topped with Cheddar cheese and country gravy, are also a must-order.
Iowa: Bluebird Diner, Iowa City
Yelp/ Scott S.
This low-key, retro style diner serves elevated versions of classic country diner classics, like fresh-baked biscuits with cream gravy made with housemade sausage, eggs with homemade smoked pork chili verde, and cinnamon roll French toast. The buttermilk pancakes are definitely a standout; they’re slightly crisped from being griddled in butter, light and fluffy with just a little bit of chew, and topped with whipped butter and fresh maple syrup, with strawberries, blueberries, or grilled bananas optional.
Kansas: Doo-Dah Diner, Wichita
Just about everything is made from scratch at this homey Wichita destination, founded in 2012 by the husband-and-wife duo of Patrick and Timirie Shibley. The banana bread French toast, crispy corned beef hash, and avocado eggs Benedict are to die for, but regulars know to not miss the big, fluffy pancakes, topped with housemade vanilla molasses syrup.
Kentucky: Josie’s, Lexington
Yelp/ Kathy M.
This Lexington breakfast mainstay, named after owners Bobby and Jennifer Murray’s daughter, is a great spot for omelettes, Benedicts, biscuits and gravy, and a daily quiche. The pancakes are a major draw, though, and rightfully so: They’re light, fluffy, and high-rise, topped with whipped butter, whipped cream, and syrup, and filled with your choice of fresh blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, or Georgia pecans.
Louisiana: Stanley, New Orleans
Yelp/ Dina M.
Located right on Jackson Square, Stanley is one of the brightest, most charming breakfast spots in New Orleans, which is saying a lot. It’s run by chef Scott Boswell, who attracted a big following at his now-shuttered nearby restaurant, Stella! (note the Streetcar Named Desire references), and his all-day breakfasts here are definitely worth writing home about. His short stack of pancakes is picture-perfect: golden brown, light, fluffy, and dripping with syrup. Instead of butter, he tops them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and instead of maple syrup, he uses local Steen’s Cane Syrup, which is similar to molasses. You’ll be topping all your pancakes with ice cream after trying these.
Maine: Becky’s Diner, Portland
In Portland, Becky’s Diner is nothing short of legendary, serving stellar homemade soups, seafood dishes, and sandwiches. If you go for lunch, get the lobster roll or fried whole belly clams. But if you go for breakfast, don’t miss the pancakes, which are light, buttery, and served with real maple syrup. Make sure you get a side of homemade hash.
Maryland: Happy Jack Pancake House, Ocean City
Yelp/ Kayla D.
This Ocean City landmark, located just a block from the ocean, is a must-visit what at this seaside town. Going strong for more than 50 years, Happy Jack offers a whopping 19 varieties of pancakes, all made with a batter recipe that hasn’t changed in decades. The classics are all spot-on, including blueberry pancakes, pecan pancakes, and golden old-fashioned pancakes; but we suggest you opt for something a little bit wilder, like Peanut Butter Lover’s (filled with Reese’s pieces and peanut butter chips and topped with peanut butter and whipped cream), S’mores (filled with crumbled graham crackers and chocolate chips and topped with marshmallow), and Cinnamon bun (seasoned with cinnamon and topped with icing). The bacon pancakes are also an egg’s best friend.
Massachusetts: The Paramount, Boston
Yelp/ Kathy M.
The Paramount is a quintessential neighborhood joint, serving classic and unpretentious American fare since 1937. And hiding in plain sight on its breakfast menu? Some of the best pancakes you’ll ever encounter. Big, golden brown, and with a slightly crispy crust, they’re available in classic buttermilk or filled with chocolate chips, banana, apple, blueberry, or strawberry, or with fruit on top. Make sure you spring the extra two bucks for pure Vermont maple syrup.
Michigan: Pancake Factory, Shelby
Yelp/ Pancake Factory
The only downside to this small-town favorite? It gets absolutely packed on weekends. As the name implies, it’s all about the pancakes at this homey family-run restaurant, and there are lots of varieties on the menu. If you’re looking to go traditional, you won’t be let down by their buttermilk, buckwheat, pecan, chocolate chip, blueberry, or banana pancakes, which are fresh, light, and (of course) scratch made. But if you’re in the mood for something different, opt for their thin and slightly gooey flapjacks, their puffy German pancake (or its smaller cousin, the Dutch baby), or their pièce de résistance, the old-fashioned apple pancake, which is baked with fresh apples and a cinnamon glaze and could double as a decadent dessert.
Minnesota: Pannekoeken Huis, Minneapolis
An authentic Dutch restaurant located smack dab in the middle of Minneapolis, Pannekoeken Huis (Dutch for Pancake House, naturally) has been introducing locals to authentic Dutch pancakes for more than 20 years. These big, airy pancakes resemble a giant Yorkshire pudding, and they’re the perfect receptacle for the nearly 20 toppings and add-ins. French Silk Banana (sliced bananas, chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and chocolate chips); Banana Pineapple (with rum sauce and pecans); Traditional Apple (Granny Smith apples baked-in, topped with cinnamon sugar); and Triple Berry (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries), are super-popular, but purists can opt for a traditional Dutch pancake topped with only powdered sugar and a lemon wedge, or (very good) American-style pancakes as well.
Mississippi: Jo’s Diner, Flowood
Yelp/ Rachel L.
A no-frills diner with bright blue walls and a swivel-stool counter, the family-owned Jo’s has been bringing in the locals since 2006. Burgers and classic Southern dishes like crawfish etouffee and homemade red beans and rice are dinner standbys, and during breakfast hours regulars flock to the shrimp and grits, cinnamon roll waffles, and fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Piled high, filled with your choice of chocolate chips, blueberries, or pecans if you so desire, and topped with syrup and powdered sugar, they’re served with two eggs; grits or hash browns; and your choice of bacon, ham, sausage, or Andouille. Quite a deal for $8.29!
Missouri: Uncle Bill’s Pancake & Dinner House, St. Louis
Yelp/ Brian M.
Open 24 hours a day since 1941, Uncle Bill’s is renowned in St. Louis for its scratchmade breakfasts, country-style dinners, and house-ground coffee. The buttermilk pancakes are absolute perfection, served five to an order and topped with a big scoop of whipped butter, but if you’re in the mood for something especially decadent go for the Chocolate Alaska, 4 pancakes topped with ice cream, fudge sauce, and whipped cream.
Montana: Running Bear Pancake House, West Yellowstone
Yelp/ Wendy B.
Located just a few blocks from the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and only a couple miles from the Wyoming border, this low-key, small-town pancake house has been serving down-home breakfast and lunch specialties year-round since the mid-60s. Stop in for buttermilk or buckwheat pancakes topped with banana, blueberries, coconut, chocolate chips, peaches, pineapple, raisins, strawberries, walnuts, or cinnamon roll filling and icing (or get three of them wrapped around sausages for a stellar pigs in a blanket) before making your way into the park, and make sure you grab some homemade cinnamon rolls and boxed lunches for your pic-a-nic basket.
Nebraska: Cook’s Café, Lincoln
Yelp/ Stephanie A.
Anchoring an inconspicuous strip mall, Cook’s Cafe may look like a no-frills rec room, but it happens to be serving some of Nebraska’s finest breakfasts. The cinnamon rolls and biscuits and gravy are untouchable, and the big, fluffy pancakes are astounding. You can get them filled with blueberries or strawberries, but if you ask them to top them with some slices bananas and warm peanut butter they’ll be happy to oblige. We suggest you do.
Nevada: BabyStacks Café, Las Vegas and Henderson
Yelp/ Aaris S.
With five locations in Vegas and Henderson, BabyStacks is absolutely legendary for its pancakes, which come in a whopping 18 varieties. Red velvet, carrot cake, honey whole wheat, s’mores, lemon ricotta, peanut butter and banana, Cinnabun, hazelnut Nutella, orange creamsicle, rocky road, white chocolate chip macadamia nut – if you can dream it, they can do it. And these pancakes aren’t great just because they can get a little wild; they all start with a scratchmade batter that cooks up golden brown and supremely fluffy.
New Hampshire: Polly’s Pancake Parlor, Sugar Hill
Yelp/ Jessie W.
Picture in your mind’s eye an 80 year-old restaurant called Polly’s Pancake Parlor in a little New Hampshire town called Sugar Hill, and we bet you won’t be too off the mark from reality. It’s a low-slung brown building surrounded by verdant fields and old farmhouses, and the inside is homey and rustic. And, of course, the pancakes (which are smaller than usual at about three inches across) are fantastic. Six freshmade batters are available (plain, buckwheat, gingerbread, whole wheat, cornmeal, and oatmeal buttermilk) and you can choose from four add-ins (blueberry, walnuts, coconut, and chocolate chip), but there’s really no wrong choice. Buckwheat, whole wheat, and cornmeal flours are organically-grown and milled in-house; the maple syrup is (of course) pure; and bacon and ham are provided by the nearby North Country Smokehouse. The restaurant was the well-deserved recipient of the 2006 James Beard American Classic Award.
New Jersey: Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory, Jersey City
Yelp/ Lori L.
This Jersey City spot looks like just about every other classic New Jersey Greek diner, except for one difference: 27 different varieties of pancakes are on the menu, made from a buttermilk pancake recipe that dates back to the early 1970s. Chocolate chips and pecans; dried cranberries and apple cinnamon compote; warm blueberry compote and sour cream; ham, bacon, and sausage; walnuts, almonds, pecans, and honey; peanut butter and jelly; shredded coconut; chocolate chip, peanut butter, bananas, whipped cream, and caramel… the possibilities are just about endless.
New Mexico: Central Grill and Coffee House, Albuquerque
Yelp/ Karla M.
This low-key coffee shop is a great place to drop into for a satisfying breakfast or lunch, and we suggest you resist the urge to try the (excellent) banana French toast and biscuits and gravy and head straight for the buttermilk pancakes, which are fluffy, buttery, and served with real maple syrup. You can also try the “Crazy Good” pancakes, which adds blueberries or apples along with melted brie cheese to the mix.
New York: Norma’s, New York City
Tucked inside the high-end Le Parker Meridien Hotel, Norma’s is one of the most popular (and opulent) breakfast spots in New York (high-roller menu items include foie gras brioche French toast and a $1,000 caviar-topped lobster frittata). At around $30 per order, these are by far the most expensive pancakes on our ranking, but they’re worth every penny. Their blueberry pancakes with rich Devonshire cream are a best-seller, but you can also try their country-style buttermilk pancakes with Georgia peaches and walnuts, banana-macadamia flap jacks with banana brown sugar butter, Nutella “Packed Jacks” with pineapple chunks and raspberries, German pancakes with maple caramelized apple, and light and lemony griddle cakes with Devonshire cream. These are about as gourmet as pancakes can get.
North Carolina: Kate’s Pancake House, Carolina Beach
Yelp/ Roberto C.
Located just a couple blocks from the legendary Britt’s Donuts, Kate’s boasts a bright pink and green exterior, and a bright and sunny interior – a perfect setting for some spectacular pancakes. There are more than a dozen pancake styles on the menu, enough for every whim; you can go traditional (bananas, pecans, walnuts, and whipped cream); wild (stuffed with graham crackers and chocolate chips and topped with marshmallow, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream); or somewhere in-between (sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon chips, nuts, and whipped cream); but even if you just get a plain stack with butter and syrup, you can rest assured that these pancakes are the finest the state has to offer.
North Dakota: Darcy’s Café, Grand Forks
Yelp/ Ra S.
Step inside this unpretentious, old-school restaurant and you’ll find a U-shaped counter and a handful of booths, all occupied by people chowing down on no-frills dishes like pot roast, meatloaf, chicken fried steak, Tater Tot hot dish, and some of the finest pancakes in America. Dubbed Grandma Knudson’s Buttermilk Pancakes, these are based on an old family recipe, and approach stratospheric levels of deliciousness when the batter gets a hit of cinnamon and the top is swirled with cinnamon roll icing.
Ohio: SuperChef’s Breakfast & More, Columbus
Yelp/ Sara S.
Superchef’s, which has locations in Downtown Columbus and Gahanna just outside the city, is a trip. Its motto is “Art for Breakfast,” and it’s most evident in the pancakes, which are super-fluffy and come in a variety of outside-the-box styles. There are Red Velvet pancakes layered with whipped cream cheese frosting; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pancakes with peanut butter layered between each cake; blueberry pancakes with lemon buttercream; pineapple upside down pancakes; “Super Scriddle” pancakes stuffed with scrambled eggs, candied bacon, and housemade sausage; and “Baked Alaskan Banana Pudding Pancakes,” which sounds like something served for breakfast in heaven, doesn’t it? Can’t decide? Then get a sampler planter of four.
Oklahoma: Hatch, Oklahoma City
Yelp/ Kathy T.
No Oklahoma restaurant does all-day breakfast quite as well as Hatch, which serves a good mix of properly executed classics and super-creative and delicious inventions (we’re looking at you, griddled grit cakes topped with beer-braised pork, chipotle hollandaise, chorizo, and red chile sauce). And as for pancakes, you’ve got your classic buttermilk, chocolate chip, and birthday cake (yes, please), but there’s also the Bananas Foster (caramelized bananas, salted caramel dark rum sauce, and candied walnuts); Strawberry Dream (strawberry compote cream cheese Anglaise and candied walnuts); the Famous PanOKCake (bacon, local pecans, bourbon maple glaze, and mascarpone butter); and more. We suggest you pick three to design your own “pancake flight.”
Oregon: Cadillac Café, Portland
Yelp/ Cadillac Cafe
A true neighborhood gem, Cadillac Café has been a Portland go-to for more than 25 years. Breakfast is served all day long, and the buttermilk pancakes are a top seller. You can add bananas, dried cranberries, and hazelnuts if you like, but honestly these are so good that all they need is a pat of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Pennsylvania: Dor-Stop, Dormont
Yelp/ Rachel C.
This small-town diner has been serving good old home cooking in the Pittsburgh metro area since 1985. Just about everything on the menu is scratchmade (the meatloaf melt and burgers are especially tasty), but if you go for breakfast don’t miss the hotcakes, which are big, golden brown, and tender. There are more than a dozen varieties available, from apple cinnamon and chocolate chip to banana chocolate chip, oatmeal walnut, and oatmeal raisin.
Rhode Island: Brickway on Wickenden, Providence
Yelp/ Kevin C.
Pancakes are the star of the show at Brickway on Wickenden, which is one of the most popular breakfast spots in the city of Providence. The batter is made fresh throughout the morning, and the resulting pancakes are ethereally light and fluffy. Whether classic buttermilk or filled with blueberries, bananas, chocolate chips, or a combination thereof, these are a great way to start the day.
South Carolina: Hominy Grill, Charleston
Yelp/ Aleks K
One of Charleston’s most legendary restaurants (and one of the best restaurants in America, period), James Beard Award winner Robert Stehling’s Hominy Grill has been serving top-notch Lowcountry cuisine since 1996. Stop in for breakfast and you’ll find “buttermilk pancakes” on the menu, which are so much more than the name implies. They’re served three to an order, and perfectly light and airy. Filled with blueberries or topped with apple maple syrup and a scoop of pecan butter, they’re a great way to start a Charleston morning.
South Dakota: Tally’s Silver Spoon, Rapid City
Yelp/ Kristopher P.
Tally’s Silver Spoon can trace its origins back to the 1930s, but today it’s a creative and modern restaurant serving unique locally-sourced dishes devised by chef Benjamin Kinkel. The breakfast offerings are fairly straight-ahead, however, which is great news for pancake lovers. The pancake recipe (which hasn’t changed since the 30s) results in perfectly light and fluffy, golden brown pancakes, which can be smothered in bananas, blueberries, or strawberries; stuffed with blueberries or chocolate chips; or served with eggs and bacon, ham, or sausage. However you take them, they’re going to be pretty much perfect.
Tennessee: Pancake Pantry, Gatlinburg
Yelp/ Hayley C
Gatlinburg is what you might call a pancake town, with no shortage of places serving amazing flapjacks. But the Pancake Pantry, in business since 1960, was the first pancake house in the entire state and remains the best. The century-old building is a gem in itself, and the pancakes served here (and everything that goes with them, including the whipped cream) are made from scratch. Twenty-four different pancake varieties are available, but their flagship old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes are light, tender, and slightly chewy. Standouts include the melt-in-your-mouth cornmeal pancakes, rich Swedish pancakes with imported lingonberries, wild blueberry pancakes, Smoky Mountain buckwheat cakes, whole-wheat pancakes made with flour from a local mill, and a wide variety of crêpes. The Hayley Special, an off-menu item, is also popular with those in the know; these pancakes, topped with bananas, bacon, and peanut butter syrup, are completely out of this world.
Texas: Magnolia Café, Austin
Yelp/ Gabriela I.
Open 24/7 since the late 1980s, the two Austin locations of Magnolia Café have become local institutions, primarily due to their spectacular breakfasts. And regulars will tell you that the true star of the breakfast menu is the pancakes. Available with three different batters – buttermilk, gingerbread, and cornmeal – they can be made with bananas, blueberries, seasonal fresh fruit, pecans, and chocolate chips. If it’s your first visit, we suggest you go for the straight-ahead buttermilk pancakes, big pillows of deliciousness that you’ll want to climb into and take a nap. Make sure you spring for the real maple syrup.
Utah: Stacked, Logan
Yelp/ Tyson D.
Yes, the name is referring to pancakes, which are made with batter made from scratch in small batches using butter, buttermilk, eggs, and locally-sourced unbleached flour. Available in buttermilk, whole wheat, gluten free, and vegan varieties, you can customize them with a massive assortment of fillings and toppings, ranging from fresh fruit to hot fudge to pulled pork and Cheddar cheese. Or you can opt for one of the Signature Stacks, like Banana Cream Pie (chocolate chips, bananas, Nutella, and whipped cream); The Aggie Blueberry (white chocolate chips, fresh blueberries, and whipped cream); and Turkey pesto (turkey, provolone, pesto, and tomatoes).
Vermont: Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice, Mendon
Yelp/ Jenny P.
Sure, this place may be a little touristy, but when an authentic, working sugar house in Vermont is making pancakes, it’s all but guaranteed that these flapjacks are going to be good. And at Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice, located a stone’s throw from Killington’s legendary slopes, they definitely are. They’re available in a variety of styles, including blueberry, sugar and spice (with cinnamon and maple sugar in the batter), maple walnut, chocolate chip, and the super-popular pumpkin. All pancakes come with pure maple syrup, and in one of the great “only in Vermont” moves, if you want artificial syrup, it’ll cost you extra.
Virginia: Pocahontas Pancake House, Virginia Beach
Yelp/ Michael U.
Sure, the furnishings may be a little tacky (it’s fully decked out with Native American-inspired décor, including a big teepee), but the pancakes at this Greek-owned beachfront diner, which has been going strong since 1974, are beyond reproach. Made from scratch using high-quality ingredients, these perfectly golden brown and fluffy flapjacks are available in classic buttermilk and silver dollar, topped with fresh fruit or fruit topping, or filled with pecans and topped with pecans in syrup. They’re also available gluten-free or made with organic multi-grain batter.
Washington: Portage Bay Café, Seattle
Yelp/ Emily L.
With four Seattle locations, this popular restaurant uses local, organic, and sustainable ingredients to create some delicious dishes. Its brunch is especially popular (the avocado toast with Dungeness crab is a wonder), kicked up about a thousand notches by its breakfast bar: a selection of seasonal fruits, nuts, and whipped cream that you can top your pancakes and French toast with. The classic pancakes are made with organic heirloom wheat flour, organic yogurt, brown sugar, and vanilla; you can also opt for vegan banana pancakes, Swedish pancakes, and buckwheat pancakes topped with ginger honey compound butter. Get your perfect stack of pancakes, head on up to the breakfast bar, and live the dream.
Washington, D.C: Ted’s Bulletin
Yelp/ Mary Kate A.
The Roaring 20’s-inspired Ted’s Bulletin has five locations in D.C. and its suburbs, and it’s always a popular destination for breakfast and brunch. Its pancakes are a must-order; they’re delivered three to an order, irresistibly golden brown and delicious, with maple syrup, two eggs, and hash browns. A side of bacon doesn’t hurt, either. All together, it’s one of the best breakfasts, period, in D.C.
West Virginia: The Preston County Buckwheat Festival, Kingwood
© Ziashusha | Dreamstime.com
There’s an actual town called Pancake in West Virginia, but as it’s named after a family (and is incredibly tiny), there sadly aren’t any great pancake spots there (or restaurants in general) that we could track down. But West Virginia’s Preston County is renowned for its buckwheat, so much so that every year since 1938 the town of Kingwood has hosted a buckwheat festival. Raised buckwheat cakes (not called pancakes) are very popular around these parts, but they’re usually cooked at home using old family recipes like this one; if you want to try the best pancakes in West Virginia, we suggest you mark your calendar for the last Thursday of September, when the festival, which is held in the heart of Kingwood, kicks off. The buckwheat flour used here is sourced from Stanton Milling, and $9 plates of butter- and syrup-topped buckwheat cakes and sausage patties are served all day during the festival at the volunteer fire department community building. Make sure you stick around for the car show, carnival, and Cow Palace.
Wisconsin: Mr. Pancake, Wisconsin Dells
Yelp/ Blake K.
A Wisconsin tradition for more than 50 years, Mr. Pancake looks almost exactly like a Louisiana paddlewheel boat for some reason, but just go with it. Run by the Thompson family (the third generation is now at the helm), this fun and friendly restaurant makes their batter fresh daily and keeps their ingredients a closely guarded secret. What we do know is that they fluff up to an almost impossibly high level on the well-seasoned griddle, and are available in 18 delicious variations. Their buttermilk pancakes are the flagship, and come topped with your choice of peaches, blueberry compote, glazed apples, or bananas. They’ll also incorporate Iowa corn and corn meal, pecans, pineapples, chocolate chips, oat and wheat, or peanut butter right into the batter. If you’re looking to go outside the box, try the bacon strip pancakes, which have a strip of crispy bacon nestled right into them.
Wyoming: Luxury Diner, Cheyenne
Yelp/ Stacey K.
This casual family diner has been in business for more than 30 years and serves top-notch renditions of classic country fare, like chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and cinnamon rolls. And as can be expected, its pancakes are phenomenal. They’re golden-brown, plate-sized, and slightly crispy, and about as no-frills as can be; you can add chocolate chips, pecans, or blueberries, and that’s it. No matter; a little butter and syrup is all you need.