Friday, April 9, 2010

The Original Pancake House

Today my mom and I met my aunt for lunch at The Original Pancake House on Swallow Hill Road in Green Tree. This was the first time I've been to The Original Pancake House and I'm really not sure how I feel about this place, other than not too positive.

To start, there was no hostess waiting to seat us. This is fine, if someone is watching for customers. We waited about 2-3 minutes for an employee to tell us someone would be with us 'shortly.' 'Shortly' turned out to be maybe another 3-5 minutes. This seemed odd because we were the only people waiting for a table and we could see a lot of empty tables. They definitely were not busy.

When we were finally seated at a table for four, we noticed there was only one place setting. No big deal, though it seemed odd because they didn't have to clear the table for us -- it was available when we arrived but no one had bothered to re-set it after they cleared it.

It took about another 5 minutes for someone to come take our drinks order. If this was a place serving liquor, I'd be happy with the time to peruse the wine/cocktail menu, but for coffee/tea/soft drinks, this was a bit annoying. It also seemed to take a while for our coffees and iced tea to arrive. When the drinks did arrive, no additional napkins/silverware arrived, so we all shared the spoon from the one place setting to stir sugar and cream into the coffee/tea.

The menu is huge. In addition to the breakfast food menu, there was a separate lunch/dinner menu of salads and sandwiches and other stuff I can't remember. I decided I wanted breakfast food, so I don't remember much of what was on the other menu.

The breakfast menu had lots of pancakes, French toast, Belgian waffles, omelets, crepes - it was a bit overwhelming! I finally settled on a breakfast plate with bacon, eggs (I chose scrambled), toast (I chose sourdough over white, wheat, and rye) and 2 pancakes on the side (I substituted blueberry pancakes for the buttermilk pancakes). I also decided to try one Cherry Kijafa crepe.The scrambled eggs were fine. Not runny, which is good since I dislike runny scrambled eggs. The bacon was thick and cooked well-done - it was cooked more than I would have liked but not burnt or too hard to bite. After eating the bacon and eggs (I have to eat my eggs first, before they get cold, because cold eggs disgust me, and I like to eat bites of bacon with my eggs to make the eggs more exciting), I tackled the pancakes instead of the slice of sourdough toast (I never did taste the toast because I got too full). Here's my 2 pancakes:The pancakes were good. Nothing special, but not bad. They are served with butter, maple syrup, and a little pitcher of blueberry compote. I don't add butter/maple syrup to flavored pancakes so I only used the pitcher of blueberry compote. The blueberry compote was OK but not as thick as I would expect; the sauce was very thin.

The Cherry Kijafa crepe was not that great.The crepe was too thick (in my opinion, but then again, I'm not properly trained in proper crepes, so maybe that's how they're supposed to be - ?) and the cherry and kijafa sauce were just too sweet & syrupy. I would not get this again. It might have been better as a dessert after a sandwich or salad and with some whipped cream on top. Neither my mom nor aunt liked the crepe. We ate only half of it. Thank goodness I didn't order crepes as my main meal.

My mom had buttermilk pancakes and a side of sausage.She said the pancakes were good, there were a lot of them, and they were lighter pancakes, not too dense and heavy.Her sausage was pretty good, but from the taste I had, I wouldn't choose the sausage over the bacon.

My aunt chose blueberry pancakes.She said that she always has their blueberry pancakes and that she really enjoys them. It's a large portion and there are lots of blueberries in the pancakes as well as the blueberry compote, butter, and maple syrup for on top.

As for the service, I didn't think our server came around enough to refill the coffee. She also neglected to bring enough place settings, not even when she brought the food, so my aunt finally got up and walked off to find silverware and brought it back to the table so she could eat her food that had already arrived. Even for a casual chain restaurant, not bringing eating utensils before the meal is horrible.

When we got the check, my mom laughed and said,'Oh I've never seen this before.' She showed us the check and, at the bottom, as a courtesy for those who are math-challenged, I suppose, they calculate the tip for you -- but they calculate an 18% tip and a 20% tip!!!! I guess that's what they expect you to leave as a tip?

Maybe this is the blog post where I reveal myself as a bad tipper, but I thought a restaurant tip was supposed to be 15-20%. I almost never tip 20% in a place like The Original Pancake House. Not even 18%. To me, that's a 15% place. Maybe more if the service is somehow truly amazing, but it wasn't, and honestly, I felt like we should have left only 10% because I was so disgusted with the lazy hostess/server and the time it took to be seated, served, etc., plus not properly/timely setting the table. To calculate an 18% and 20% tip on the check - I thought that was just too bold and completely inappropriate.

Would I go back? Yes, if a group of people wanted to go there, or if we met my aunt again since that area is a good halfway spot for us. Would I suggest to SP that he & I go there? No. First Watch and Bob's Kennedy Diner are closer to us and have better food/service.


  1. That sounds downright terrible. I've wanted to stop there since we live so close -- now I'm sure we continue to pass it by!

  2. Hmmm I was really excited about this place because it seemed like an interesting breakfast spot that Jared and I could go to... Maybe not so much now?

    I admit, I am not a huge fan of crepes. Maybe because my aunt used to make pacinci's (spelling?) and I hated them.

    Pancakes, though, they seem hard to mess up. Then again, I don't like powdered sugar on my pancakes...