Original Pancake House
In a word: Everyone likes breakfast!
Beth ate the 1/2 order eggs Michael with coffee.
JM ate the French toast and Canadian bacon.
John ate the eggs Michael with bacon and coffee.
Nichole ate the spinach crepe with coffee.
Sean ate the apple pancake.
The kids split the chocolate chip pancakes.
The bill was about $90, or $11.25/person, plus tip.
JM, John, Liam, and Sean gave Original Pancake House an A; Owen gave Original Pancake House an A-; Lily and Nichole gave Original Pancake House a B (see our grading rubric).
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In the Madison years running up to Eating in Madison A to Z, this group of friends ate together most every Saturday morning at Original Pancake House (in fact, JM and Nichole breakfasted there with the wedding party on the big day, flaunting taboo). Back in those days, when JM quipped in an office newsletter, "Thanks to BK and OPH for contributing to JM," he wasn't kidding. We reconvened specially for the List to see if the magic of that earlier time was still there or if our carb-saturated and sugared memories were simply the product of post-college overeating.
While this spinach crepe is decent for what it is - a mass-produced crepe - halfway through Nichole suddenly caught herself wishing fervently that she was at Bradbury's. OPH's crepes are filled and filling, but the batter is heavier on the oil than maybe it should be, which leads to a damp breakfast.
Gone are the days when more than one of our party would polish off almost a whole apple pancake in one sitting. Which is fine all around, because one of these bad boys literally provides all your calories for the day, and besides, leftovers are delicious as a cold sliced dessert. As Sean summarized:
In a world of delicate flavors and gourmet ingredients, it's big and dumb. But in a world of big and dumb, it's delicious and surprisingly sophisticated.
The sophistication lies in the multiple textures, from the custard body to the baked apple slices to the sticky syrup to the occasional cherished lump of cinnamon sugar that's not quite caramelized.
JM's go-to breakfast was always the French toast, potato pancakes, and Canadian bacon. He loves it for what it is: a big breakfast. The sweetness of the powdered sugar against the wet grease of the CB was always tasty if not always healthy.
Beth and Nichole were both the lucky recipients of potato pancakes with their meals. The potato pancakes are worthy of admiration, being the filigreed patties they are. Apple sauce and sour cream are both fine accompaniments but don't load the pancakes down with them too much, lest they lose their charms.
OPH is kid-friendly, too, with ample furniture, a family atmosphere, and at least some coloring sheets for distraction. The kids yummed up the chocolate chip pancakes, and Lily's only problem was that it was cold outside during the 15-minute wait.
Should we have given all that business to OPH back in the day when Madison boasts so many good places to break your fast? Eh, probably not. But a good meal shared with friends is a rare commodity and the less time spent asking "Where do you wanna eat?" the better (obvs). OPH is good for the camaraderie, if nothing else.