All pancakes are not created equally. That’s a fact I’ve known for a long, long time. Pancakes at home have always been just ok. Sure they’re fluffy enough, but I have never been able to fully achieve that coveted restaurant pancake flavor. And I’m not talking about those big restaurants that use their own branded mixes and everything tastes the same anyway. I’m talking about the small, neighborhood diners whose flapjacks are mixed with close attention to flavor detail and flipped on a hot griddle with a passion, a purpose – to make the best tasting pancakes you’ve ever eaten. My friends, I believe I have found just the place….
The Pancake House sits at an odd angle near the corner of Westerville Rd. & Schrock Rd, and is surrounded by big, mature shade trees. It’s the kind of place that if you blink while you’re driving by, you just might miss it. It’s a tiny little eatery, and you wouldn’t even know it was there if not for the large sign on the side of the building, and a couple of small yard signs on the corner of the parking lot, which snuggly accommodates about a half-dozen vehicles.
Walking inside, the first thing you’ll notice is that the theme of the restaurant is 100% Ohio State football. Everything is scarlet & gray, from the curtains to the counters and table tops. Neatly framed photos and autographed jerseys adorn the walls, and other items, such as the basket for your condiments, bear the mighty “Block O” logo. It’s a tastefully decorated, Buckeye-centric dining room, while not overdone to the point of being tacky.
Seating is pretty limited to the counter, a few booths, and about 4 tables in the front of the house…so it’s a tight fit. We visited on a weekday, around 10:30 am, and they were almost completely full. Of course, that was just about the time that most people were finishing their breakfast, and it pretty much emptied out just after we arrived. If you like a small, cozy atmosphere, this is your place.
If there’s anything I’ve learned by watching shows like Kitchen Nightmares and Restaurant Impossible, it’s that you can tell a lot about a place by looking at their kitchen. One reason I love diners is the fact that you can sit and watch them cook your food right in front of you. The Pancake House’s kitchen was amazingly clean, which was a good sign. I took this picture though, to show the front of the grill…I thought the scarlet & gray control panel was a cool little detail. The cook (I didn’t catch his name) was very friendly and made sure to ask us if our food was ok, and cooked to our satisfaction. How often does THAT happen?
The menu at The Pancake House looks exactly like what you’d expect – lots of pancakes. It starts with your choice of buttermilk, cornmeal, or buckwheat pancakes that you can order in either a regular or a short stack. There are tons of other delicious pancake options and varieties, including pancakes with fruit, pancakes with nuts, and pancakes with chocolate. They also serve other breakfast favorite combos WITH…..wait for it.….a side of pancakes!!
I had such a hard time deciding what to order, but I eventually settled on The Works Omelet ($7.39). It was a hefty, 3-egg omelet filled with sausage, ham, bacon, peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese. It came with hash browns and my choice of either toast or a side of three small pancakes. The flavor of the omelet was really delicious, and they certainly didn’t skimp on any of the fillers. The hash browns were good, and I went with the three flapjacks over the toast.
Mrs. Grub Guy and I both got buttermilk pancakes as a side to our meals, and we both agreed that The Pancake House’s griddlecakes were hands down, the best pancakes we’ve ever eaten. Period. They were light, fluffy, sweet and filling. They were pretty much everything a pancake should be. They were served with a dollup of whipped butter on top, and a little pitcher of warm maple syrup.
Here’s the wife’s breakfast, the Sausage Steak and Eggs combo ($7.19). I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a “sausage steak” offered on a menu before, so I was intrigued when I saw it listed. Basically, it was an extra-large, extra-thick sausage patty, served with two eggs and hash browns. Her meal came with her choice of either two large hotcakes or two slices of French toast. She also went with the hotcakes (previous photo). Again, she was really impressed with the flavors of everything she ordered and absolutely loved her entire meal.
My son got the child’s Pancake & Bacon Breakfast ($3.89). He loved the presentation, and devoured the pancakes and bacon. It’s the small things like this that keep folks coming back to these kinds of great places.
And finally, here’s the Chorizo & Eggs Special ($6.99). I actually took photos of this meal and my son’s plate on a second visit, just a couple of days after our original one. We knew our hotcake-loving son would seriously enjoy this place, so he & I visited on Saturday, and I ordered this weekend-only special. You know a place is good if you go back twice in one week!! The platter of ground chorizo scrambled with two eggs, onions and tomatoes, came with freshly-shredded hash browns, and my choice of white, wheat or rye dry toast or two slices of French toast. The chorizo & egg scramble was delicious…but after I splashed it with some Frank’s Red Hot, it was perfect.
I opted for the French toast, since on our last visit, owner Joe Murphy suggested I try it next time. He certainly didn’t steer me wrong. The two slices of thick, Texas-style toast were lightly coated with egg & vanilla, and perfectly toasted on the flat-top. The flavor was delightful. They were sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with a big scoop of butter. The same warm maple syrup was offered of course. Great dish.
All the members of my family are serious pancake fans. After these visits, we have all become The Pancake House’s pancake fans. It really is a great place to eat. Everything we had was full of flavor and everyone we met was extremely friendly. It’s quite a bit of a drive from where I live, otherwise this is the place I would be hitting up every single weekend.
Do yourself a favor and head to Westerville at your earliest opportunity. Stop in and try one of their many hot griddle offerings, and I’m sure you’ll become The Pancake House’s pancake fans too.
The Pancake House is located at 129 W. Schrock Rd, Westerville, OH 43081 (Map). They’re open Monday – Saturday, 6:30 am – 2:30 pm, and Sunday, 8:00 am – 2:30 pm. For more info, check out their Facebook page here.