By Alia Akkam
A tower of pancakes — hotcakes or flapjacks, if you prefer — glistening under a sheen of sticky syrup is as much a comforting symbol of weekend mornings as the diner’s roving coffee pot. Whether strewn with blueberries, made with tangy sourdough or served in their naked buttermilk state, here are some of the country’s tastiest iterations of the carb-laden breakfast favorite. Check out the full gallery for all 12 wake-up-worthy spots.
Charleston, S.C.: Hominy Grill
A charming old home is the setting for Hominy Grill, where Chef Robert Stehling’s abundant Southern-style breakfasts and brunches are celebrated for dishes like shrimp and grits and fried chicken biscuits. Buttermilk pancakes — weekend specials sometimes yield permutations like banana walnut — may sound seemingly simple by comparison, but they are a toothsome, golden-hued revelation.
Chicago: M. Henry
On weekends, locals queue up at Andersonville favorite M. Henry, for bottomless mugs of organic coffee sipped alongside black bean cakes and drunken eggs. In-the-know diners also share dessert in the form of the decadent Blackberry Bliss Cakes, swaddled in warm fruit and vanilla mascarpone, and topped with a brown sugar-oat crust.
Houston: The Buffalo Grille
Since the mid-’80s, family-run Buffalo Grille has been an institution for the likes of Acapulco-style catfish and chicken-fried steak. At breakfast, the go-to order is the massively sized, plate-filling hotcake. A side of thick-cut, pecan-smoked peppered bacon gives the sweet and buttery confection a hearty boost.
New York: Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant
When husband-and-wife team Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman opened Clinton Street Baking Company on the Lower East Side, in 2001, it fast attracted the brunch hordes. They came for the biscuits and omelets, but the pancakes, ethereal rounds slathered in warm maple butter, have a cult following. In fact, every day in February, in honor of Pancake Month, the restaurant highlights inventive twists on the dish, such as Japanese pumpkin and German chocolate. If, for some reason, the buttermilk fried chicken doesn’t tempt for dinner, the usual roster of wild Maine blueberry, banana walnut and chocolate chunk pancakes can also be savored come nightfall.
Flip through the full gallery and let us know in the comments: What’s your favorite local spot for pancakes?