Now with just over 100 locations around the country, The Original Pancake House started in the 1950’s as a diner in Portland, Oregon and now has franchised across the West Coast and moving to the East Coast as well. As it continues to grow, the restaurant says its got a commitment to high quality ingredients that keeps it ahead of the competition. My experience in this regard has been mixed. The Pancake House does some things well but overall my feelings on this breakfast chain is mixed.
The food is breakfast fare to be sure, all of it is the classic American favorites, the simple breakfast dishes that everyone loves. I gave a try to some of the simple favorites, and indeed there’s something wonderful about those pancakes. The chain touts it uses “93 score butter, pure 36% whipping cream, fresh grade AA eggs” and the result is that the buttermilk pancakes do pack a delicious punch, heavy but not overwhelming, and the buttermilk makes them sweet and tasty. The chain serves a cup of butter atop the cakes so it’s melty before it even gets onto the cakes, as well as a syrup, which was sort of bland.
The other dishes didn’t impress me as much; the restaurant does in fact use higher grade bacon, but the bacon that came to me was leathery dry. The eggs I had were pretty dry and simple too, and I suspect the problem is they were under a heat lamp for too long. And that seems to be the epitome of the main problem I had at the place, that service is consistently slow. I visited during a slow hour and during a rush and it in each instance it took awhile to get the attention of a server, and to get refills, and later to get food. That’s a shame too, because it means the ingredients, good and priced as they are, are at an end result still average. I should also add there’s absolutely nothing on the menu if you’re looking for a lighter or healthier breakfast, unless you get a plain crepe.
That said, the prices here are also higher than what I’ve encountered at the smaller mom-and-pop greasy spoons that are common to this type of restaurant. Typically the appeal of chains is that they are cheaper and more consistent, but neither of those qualities is present in this chain. While it’s a novel idea to have a diner like this one as a chain, there’s a reason they tend to be little local businesses; because they feel more genuine. The experience here doesn’t lead me to recommend the spot.
- The pancakes are the item on the menu I most suggest.
- Get water. A large orange juice is $4.50, and a coffee is $2.50.
- Little to no options at this spot if you’re looking for something healthier or smaller.