There’s nothing like a good stack of golden pancakes in the morning with butter and syrup. And there’s nothing like the sugar coma they put you in an hour or two later after you finish them. The best pancakes I ever had were at the Historic Requa Inn in northern California. But, since we’re nowhere near the Redwood Forest, here are the best pancakes in Chicago.
The Original Pancake House
With a name like that, they better be serving up some darn good pancakes. The OPH is tucked away in what looks like a little house on the Gold Coast. And their menu features page after page of pancakes. Whatever way you like them, they have them. You can have anything from the standard Buttermilk Pancakes to their special Apple pancake, which is loaded with sautéed apples and cinnamon sugar.
This has been a Chicago staple since 1923. The line is usually out the door, but the wait is pretty quick. Not to mention that they serve you free doughnut holes while you wait in line, which are out of this world. The hostess also serves Milk Duds, but only to the ladies, before she seats you. Since it’s your all-American diner from the booths to the counters, don’t expect a quiet breakfast. The Meltaway pancakes are delicious and are made with some sort of malt. If you order a hot chocolate you get one free refill.
The Bongo Room opened in Wicker Park in the summer of 1993. Since then they have been making seasonal breakfast creations that have drawn new customers and kept their regulars coming back for more. They are known for their seasonally changing pancakes. Currently on their fall menu they are offering Cranberry & Yellow Corn Hotcakes, Apple Tarte – Tartin Pancakes, Pumpkin Spice & Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake Flapjacks, and Banana & Bacon Flapjacks.
Can pancakes be considered healthy? Sure, why not. At Prasino in Wicker Park, you can have your pancakes made with your choice of batter: buttermilk, multigrain, vegan or gluten free. Then you can have your basic prasino cakes, carrot cakes (a signature item that includes fresh grated carrot, cinnamon, nutmeg, golden raisins, sweet cream and pecans), ginger snaps, or devil’s chocolate. If you need something to wash all that goodness down, try one of their delicious smoothies.
Ina Pinkey the chef and owner of Ina’s has been making her customers happy since 1991. Located in the West Loop Market District and down the street from Harpo Studios, Ina’s offers free parking, which is nearly unheard of Downtown. Most known for her Heavenly Hots, they are light, thin pancakes served with a compote of peaches, raspberries and blueberries. She also serves Buttermilk Pancakes and Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes. If you want to make your own, she offers two recipes on her website.