The Original Pancake House
3310 W. Central Ave. Toledo 43606
“Let’s go out for breakfast!” is always music to my ears. Unfortunately with our hectic schedule it is heard too infrequently. However, on a recent day off from school, the kids and I were anxious to get back to the Original Pancake House; as we had been away far too long.
Strong comeback after 2010 fire
Though I so love The Original Pancake House, which has been a Toledo staple since 1976, I regret to say I had not been in since their devastating fire in the fall of 2010. An electrical fire in the kitchen left the entire restaurant damaged. “After the fire they had to gut the entire restaurant except the brick”, said manager Candie Hayes. For over 10 months owners James and Rebecca Cowan worked to rebuild. To say they have a loyal following of customers would be an understatement. Their loyal following anxiously awaited the re-opening in 2011.
I wasn’t sure what to expect upon entering, but when I did, I was so pleased the same feeling of hominess and warmth I had always felt remained. Though it is obviously new, with a brighter and updated interior, much of the brick and old wood was salvaged and used on interior walls. The décor maintained the feel of being in grandma’s kitchen. I strongly dislike the feel of a sterile restaurant with zero personality. I have always felt that atmosphere is half the experience.
Fabulous food and service
The interior may have changed over time, but the service and food they have always been known for remain a constant. On the menu it reads “Our staff is loaded with colorful personalities with hard work ethics ready to spoil you.” The owners refer to everyone as friends and family,
not merely customers. The Cowans have two children in the Service, and every day of the week veterans receive 25% off their bill. Manager Ms. Hayes said she’s never worked for nicer people. It is no wonder, then, that they continue to receive so much support from the community during the rebuilding, and currently.
The menu also mentions how they love kids and encourage you to bring them. They promise to always take care of the kids. As in the past, they continue to provide crayons and coloring books, and suckers on the way out. My boys were a tad rambunctious that day, but thankfully, our waitress didn’t seem to mind. I, on the other hand, was slowly losing patience and ever so grateful for those coloring books!
The kids’ menu is for children 10 and under and offerings begin at $2.25 with drinks extra. If your children are anxious to sink their teeth into awesome buttermilk pancakes, they may do so for FREE every day. Just one adult entrée gets free pancakes for two children! You should know, however, that their buttermilk pancake varieties are made with peanut oil. Granted, they are some fabulous tasting pancakes, but those with allergies need to be aware.
Beyond the basics
Simply put, the menu is HUGE, and with everything made from scratch with only the finest ingredients, you find yourself wishing to try several things. Portions can be rather large so they even suggest ordering half portions, or eating family style. I ordered the regular size German pancake (which is colossal) and took half home for my dinner! There are 12 omelets to choose from, 13 Belgian waffles, 11 egg specialties,
15 pancake varieties and 14 crepes options. The menu continues with wonderful lunch selections.
The apple pancake and German pancake are truly forces to be reckoned with, but I especially recommend trying the German pancake. You even make your own “paste” if you will, with fresh squeezed lemon juice, whipped butter, and powdered sugar. It’s a must try. My kids tried it, but preferred their omelets and pancakes instead. One day they’ll appreciate it more I’m sure. There is definitely something for everyone. If you are content with bacon and scrambled eggs, that’s fine, but if you are a foodie and want to expand your horizons, you found the right place!
Bottom Line: There is a reason The Original Pancake House has been a Toledo staple since 1976. Their great food and fabulous wait staff have kept Toledoans returning time and time again. Patrons are like friends and family, and they have always gladly welcomed children. Treat your family and yourself to breakfast and remember kids eat FREE pancakes every day.
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in
THE SHORT COURSE:
Kid-friendly: Yes, they love ‘em!
To avoid wait: Before 11a.m. on weekends may be best
Noise level: Moderate
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes
Kids’ menu? Yes, and
pancakes are always FREE!