Korbin Kinney

Congrats to the 2013 Graduates!

At The Original Pancake House in Denver, some of our favorite breakfast customers are our neighborhood high school kids.  As May comes to a close and summer is fast approaching, we would like to extend our congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2013!  You’ve spent many a morning with us, and we thank you for making The Original Pancake House your favorite spot for breakfast in Denver!

We would also like to congratulate a few of our favorite employees on their graduation this month!  Your service at The Original Pancake House has been top-notch and we appreciate your hard work.  Best wishes in your future endeavors!

Meet the Original Pancake House Denver's Graduates:

 

Korbin Kinney with DTC Manager and mom Karen Kinney

Korbin Kinney with mom DTC Manager Karen Kinney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate Braydin Mehnert

Braydin Mehnert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate Aaliyah Navarro with DTC Managers Karen Kinney and Jennifer Cheshek

Aaliyah Navarro with DTC Managers Karen Kinney and Jennifer Cheshek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate Kelsey Amsberry with her twin brother Blake Amsberry

Kelsey Amsberry with her twin brother

 


Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!

bacon
Who doesn't love bacon? The smell, the sizzle, the crunch and the taste…bacon is so scrumptious it’ll rouse even the sleepiest from their beds. At The Original Pancake House in Denver, we LOVE bacon. People come from near and far just to get a plate full of thick-sliced goodness. In fact, our bacon is so popular we served 30 tons last year. Yes, you read that right, 60,000 pounds of our delicious bacon. Thank you Denver!

In honor of this pork treat, here are a few fun bacon facts:

1. A 250 lb. pig yields approximately 23 lbs. of bacon.
2. Bacon is an ancient treat! The Chinese began curing pork belly around 1500 B.C.
3. In 1924 Oscar Meyer created a patent for the first sliced and packaged bacon.
4. The average American consumes 17.9 lbs. of bacon each year.
5. Dry-curing bacon is the oldest curing method. The meat is rubbed with salt, spice and sugar, and then is hung in a cool place for two weeks.
6. In 1920, a Parisian butcher created the formula for Bacon Cologne.
7. In the U.S. we make bacon from pork belly; however, in Canada they use the loin and in Europe they use the pork shoulder.
8. National Bacon Day is the Saturday before Labor Day.
9. Bacon contains a micro-nutrient called choline. Expectant mothers should eat bacon as this nutrient boosts intelligence levels in unborn children.
10. Bacon is actually addictive! It contains umami which produces an addictive neurochemical response in the brain.

Hungry yet? Brain full of bacon facts? If you are looking for a big bacon breakfast in Denver, The Original Pancake House is here to serve you! We leave you with this quote from one of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson: “I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family, and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post.”

Sources: www.friendseat.com, www.bacontoday.com, www.yumbacon.webs.com, www.baconsocial.com


What's up with all the plates?

OPH Plates 1

If you’ve ever been to The Original Pancake House, you probably noticed that our restaurants’ walls are decorated with plates. These aren’t just any plates that you can find on today’s department store shelves. Beautiful, hand-painted and handled with care, our plates are just one of the family traditions that makes us The Original Pancake House.

 

OPH Plates 2

 

Owner Sara Hueneke Ernst grew up seeing plates displayed in both of her grandparents’ homes. They were collectors and traders and they could never show off all their plates at once. So as family does, they passed them down to Sara, who now proudly displays them here at both of our Denver restaurants and at home.

 

OPH Plates 3If you ever see one you just can’t live without, Sara’s been known to trade plates right off the restaurant wall – as long as you bring something equally beautiful to replace it.

 

The Original Pancake House plate tradition is as old as our original recipes, and serves as a reminder of those special family breakfasts on weekend mornings. Come on in to enjoy one of your own. We’re serving up memories daily!


Throwback Thursday: Back to Our Roots

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane today, and discover how we got started serving breakfast to Denver.

The Pancake House

In the beginning…

 Sara’s great-aunt, Erma Hueneke, and her chef partner, Les Highet, purchased the very first location in Portland, Oregon in 1953. Back then, it was known as The Pancake House.

 

 

Erma & Les

 

 

 

There at The Pancake House, Erma and Les introduced their now-famous traditional recipes which remain largely the same to this day.

 

 

Ferd & Gen

Then in 1958, Sara’s grandparents, Ferdinand and Genevieve Hueneke, purchased the first official franchise of The Pancake House from Ferd’s sister Erma and her partner Les. They opened up a new location down the road in Salem, Oregon.

That same year, the franchise re-branded as The Original Pancake House, a name which continues today across the country at more than 120 other franchise locations.

Tom

 

Ferd and Gen continued to operate their restaurant until 1970 when their son Tom Hueneke took over. Tom later opened two more locations in Oregon and continued active operations well into the 2000s.

In 1975, Tom brought his 11-year-old daughter in to help out as a coffee girl. That coffee girl worked at The Original Pancake House in many roles for more than 10 years, plus another three years as sous chef in New York before heading out west to open two Denver locations in 1996 and 2000.

 

Sara

 

Today, we know that coffee girl as Sara Hueneke Ernst – owner, operator and living legacy.

 

Even as the years have passed, we’ve made sure to stay true to our roots – both in our family tree and in our recipe books. We welcome you and your family to enjoy the same home-cooked dishes we’ve been serving for 60 years, because tradition is delicious. Start yours today.


What's Cooking? Breakfast Foods from Around the World

Ever wonder what restaurants in other countries serve up for breakfast? We were curious to see if anything came close to our Denver breakfast, so check out our round up of morning cuisines from around the world.

 

South India and Sri Lanka: Appam

Appam (Image: Wikipedia.org)

These bowl-shaped pancakes are made from rice batter and coconut milk and are typically served with a spicy sauce, honey or eggs.

 

Japan: Nattō, Steamed Rice and Miso Soup

Japan (Image: Myspace.com)

This Japanese breakfast consists of nattō (fermented soy beans) served with steamed rice and a side of miso soup.

 

France: Croissants, Tartines and Café au Lait 

France (Image: Smithsonianjourneys.org)

In France, breakfast is usually a small affair, with most people simply enjoying a variety of fresh breads and coffee.

 

Egypt: Ful Medames

Egypt (Image: SeriousEats.com)

This Egyptian breakfast consists of fava beans mixed with garlic, onion, olive oil and lemon juice. It is usually served with a fried egg and pita bread.

 

No matter where you are in the world, be sure to enjoy the popular breakfast dishes of the area. Because whether it’s the Dominican Republic, Denmark or the Mile High City of Denver, there’s always going to be a local tradition that’s delicious.

 


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

"There are only two kinds of people in the world, The Irish and those who wish they were."

-Anonymous

We have to admit we’re guilty on this one, but we like to think we do a pretty good job at pretending. Last year, Jenn Wohletz from Westword wrote that our corned beef hash was the best she’s ever had.

Corned Beef Hash

We’ll go ahead and take her word for it, and you should too. Our recipe of freshly ground corned beef brisket, onions and diced potatoes is served with two basted eggs and three of our buttermilk pancakes. So this St. Patrick’s Day, we invite you to come get your day started with the best breakfast in Denver and embrace the Irish heritage you may or may not have been born with. Sláinte!


Dutch Baby Pancake

Important Ingredients: 5 Reasons to Love The Original Pancake House

We recently came across this article profiling the most important restaurants in America. The author noted that it wasn’t the fanciest, trendiest or most popular ones that made the list, but the ones with consistently good food, unique recipes and happy customers.

Even without any breakfast restaurants topping the list, we’re confident that we have all the ingredients necessary for an important restaurant:

  • 15-Ingredient-Made-From-Scratch Pancake Batter: You can’t find stuff this good in stores, folks. And we’re not giving away our recipe either.
  • The Dutch Baby: If a pancake and a crepe had a child, it would be The Dutch Baby. Oven baked and served with whipped butter, lemon and powdered sugar, this is one of our favorites.
  • Salty and Sweet: There’s a reason people don’t mind a little syrup getting on their bacon. It’s the perfect combination, and if you haven’t tried it yet, our Bacon Belgian Waffle will win you over.
  • Breakfast for Lunch: More commonly known as brunch, this is the most important meal of the weekend. Anyone care to disagree?
  • Green Chile: Coloradoans love their green chile, and we have some of the best in the country – Mark Schlereth’s Green Chile Sauce. It’s gluten-free and has become the official green chile of Coors Field and Pepsi Center. Try it on one of our omelettes, or with your bacon and eggs.

And when the most important stop of someone’s day is having breakfast at our Cherry Hills or Denver Tech Center location, well, that just tops the list. We invite you to come in and try one (or all!) of our important ingredients, and find your own reason to love The Original Pancake House.


Colorado Talk: Destination: Pancake Houses

Pancakes and StrawberryBy Pat Woodard

“The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves”

– W.C. Fields

Sometimes the most absurd statements contain the most surprising truths. It wasn’t popcorn I found in my pancake. It was celery. Not ON my pancake, IN my pancake. I was probably 10 years old and my older sister surprised me by making pancakes. That alone should have tipped me off. As any child will tell you, beware of siblings bearing gifts.

When I agreed to take on an assignment that involved eating pancakes, I was unenlightened by the remarkable evolution of the humble hot cake. Today, a pancake is a culinary work of art, infused with exotic flavors and esoteric ingredients.

My sister and W.C. Fields thought they were making a joke. Maybe they were visionaries ahead of their time.

I was looking for the unusual; pancakes with built-in tastes and textures I’d never heard of, or even imagined. Even using that criteria to narrow things down, there’s still too much here for one man, no matter how hungry, to handle. So, I’ve decided to do the only practical thing; pass the buck, or at least part of it. I’d like to share my assignment with you. More about that later.

I developed a list of restaurants that have either a menu filled with pancake variations or have an especially novel signature pancake. To keep this from turning into a multi-year, multi-pound expedition I put the focus mainly on metro Denver. I know. This leaves out dozens, scores, maybe hundreds of pancake nirvanas, but that’s where you come in. Again, more about that later.

The idea was to sample the oddest sounding, strangest looking, most off-the-wall griddle cake creations I could find, trying to limit myself to one choice per restaurant. I had only one other ground rule, and I refused to waffle. These had to be pancakes in the standard North American use of the term. No crepes or blintzes, no French toast or waffles.

Batter up!

DJ’s Berkeley Café

What some people would call “lazy,” I prefer to think of as “efficient.” Really, why go to the extra work of ordering eggs with a side of bacon and a short stack when you can just say DJ’s Toad in a Hole? At DJ’s Berkeley Café, that’s what they call their self-contained, gooey house specialty pancake. I call it a wonderful secret to be zealously guarded and forever kept from busybody doctors and overprotective loved ones. Are you ready?  Two pancakes the size of dinner plates, studded with huge chunks of bacon and an egg “over easy” cooked into the middle of each pancake. Looks like I picked the wrong week to have my cholesterol checked. I pierced the yolk and runny goodness oozed and fused with the rest of the ingredients. The only thing this pancake was missing was hash browns. I wonder if they take suggestions.

On this day, I brought along my research assistant so she could sample another of DJ’s pancake entrees, and perhaps give me a bite so I could write authoritatively about her selection.  That turned out to be harder than I thought because she didn’t want to share her chocolate chip and macadamia nut pancakes. That’s what happens when you have a 4-year-old research assistant.

Jelly

The first thing I noticed at Jelly, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, was that I seemed to be one of the few people not sporting body art. The place was buzzing with a young, urban crowd that exuded energy and fun. The next thing I noticed was that, demographic differences aside, I didn’t feel a bit out of place.

They take breakfast seriously at Jelly. The walls are decorated with cereal boxes featuring an eclectic mix of cover personalities. John Elway, meet Barbie. Mr. T, that’s Mr. Spock. Surrounded by cereal superstars, my pancake choice seemed only logical. I told my server I wanted the frosted flakes and banana pancakes. “Good choice,” she said, “They taste like banana bread.” They did, with the added crunch of sugary corn flakes. Surprisingly, Tony the Tiger was not one of the cereal cover boys gracing the walls of Jelly, but it looked to me like Elway was smiling down from his Wheaties box. In this town, you can’t do better than that.

The Original Pancake House

I knew I was in trouble when I went online to check out the menu at the Original Pancake House. It listed more than a dozen different pancake entrees, and I wanted to sample at least three of them. Ordering three meals meant risking the addition of my picture in the dictionary next to the word “glutton,” so I thought I needed a cover story. Then I realized I had something better; a family. For the first time ever, my wife and daughter eagerly agreed to help me with a work assignment. Anne ordered the fusion of buttermilk batter and crushed pineapple known as Hawaiian pancakes. Erin selected pumpkin pancakes that the menu boasted were better than pumpkin pie. I went with the coconut pancakes. They came filled and topped with toasted coconut and dusted with powdered sugar. They were all really good, but even better was the warm, citrusy explosion of flavor called “tropical syrup.” I’ve since seen numerous online requests for the ingredients. Yes, the Original Pancake House is a chain, with more than 100 locations across the country. That puts some people off. Fine. That means more for the rest of us.

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

The motto at Snooze, just a few blocks north and east of Coors Field, is displayed on a planter in the waiting area. “Peace, love, pancakes.” Peace and love have their place, I suppose, but I don’t think they were behind the 25-minute wait for a party of two at 11 a.m. on a Monday. There is some real creative mojo on the griddle here. Pineapple upside down pancakes feature the caramelized pineapple chunks, of course, but the toppings of vanilla crème anglais and cinnamon butter had my taste buds wondering what hit them. That’s not to slight the sweet potato pancakes topped with homemade caramel, pecans and ginger butter. The eye-popper is the “coffee and donuts” pancakes. Start with a pancake with a hole cut out of the middle. Then glaze that “donut” with maple icing and spread crushed pecans across the top. But wait, there’s more! Put a small cup of espresso cream on the side for dipping. Can’t decide? You can order a “pancake flight” that gets you one of each. Try it, and that “peace, love, pancakes” stuff will suddenly attain the authority of unassailable wisdom.

Wade’s Café

After even such limited exposure to the dazzling light of hot cake haut cuisine, I was ready for something that went even further. I knew it was dangerous, but I was no longer in control. I wanted, okay I needed, something even more unorthodox, more unpredictable, more unexpected.  I wasn’t sure it existed, but if it did, I had to find it. I hopped in the car and pointed it south on I-25. The wheels stopped at Wade’s Café. I desperately scanned the menu … and there it was! To me the words looked like illuminated script from some ancient, long buried scroll. “Buttermilk pancakes.” Wow. Talk about revolutionary! There were no surprise ingredients lurking beneath the top layer of batter, nothing sweet or salty, chunky or runny to make my palate go, “What the…?” This elegant simplicity would talk me down from the dizzying ledge of pancake panoply. Still, there were those 11 different toppings the menu listed. One called out in an irresistible siren song from my youth, evoking the imagination and independence of my little brother. When an 8-year-old puts peanut butter on pancakes while the rest of the family uses maple syrup, you can count on a little rebellion later on. With the conditioning toward the exotic that I’d been under, eating a “plain” pancake that was just plain good had me feeling a little rebellious myself. And a side of bacon made it even better.

My own search isn’t over just yet, and it may never be over. I still haven’t seen a menu with either celery pancakes or popcorn pancakes. But maybe you will.

Pat Woodard (pygmyowlpictures.comis a writer, broadcaster and producer whose work has won numerous Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards. He recently finished work on the PBS documentaryV-Day, 11.11.11, which examines what it means to serve in the military during peacetime and in war.


Readers respond

Steve Meadors in Denver emailed us: “If anybody is on a road trip in the mountains, they need to stop at Moose Cafe in Kremmling. “Moose Cakes,” served each day till 11 a.m., come out the size of the plate that they are served on. They do take some time to cook due to the size and the elevation, so just sit back and relax. They do not have anything crazy in them but they are fluffy and great and will fill you up.” Moose Café, 115 W. Park Ave., Kremmling, phone 970-724-9987.

 

Tom Damon in Colorado Springs emailed: “Our favorite pancake stop is the Hungry Bear in Woodland Park, exactly halfway between our house in the Springs and our cabin near Cripple Creek. We usually select the 2x2x2—two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two meats. The restaurant is filled, literally, with stuffed bears, photos of bears, stories and poems of bears, and other beary memorabilia—something to look at while you wait for your food (which usually isn’t very long even when the place is crowded.) Hungry Bear Restaurant, 111 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, phone 719-687-5912.

 

Deb Grymkoski in Beulah emailed: “Tucked away down a back alley in Crested Butte is a very colorful but tiny place called Izzy’s. Their pancake (yes, singular, as I don’t know anyone who could actually eat more than one of these things) is so huge it hangs off the edge of the plate. You could share it with several people and there would still be enough to go around. Izzy’s, 218 Maroon Ave., Crested Butte, phone 970-349-5630

 

Vickie Morgan in Salida emailed: “Patio Pancake Place in Salida makes delicious cheesecake pancakes, and best of all for me, they can make them gluten free. Just add strawberry or raspberry syrup and they’re sinfully wonderful.” The Patio Pancake Place, 640 E. Rainbow Blvd., Salida, phone 719-539-9905.

 

Rich and Cheryl Burns in Rifle emailed: “The BEST pancakes ever can be found at the Village Smithy in Carbondale. They are the Santa Fe Cakes—three cornmeal pancakes baked with bacon, green chilies and cheddar cheese. We prefer them doused with the Smithy’s homemade salsa instead of syrup. YUMMY!” Village Smithy, 6 S. 3rd Street, Carbondale, 970-963-9990.

 

Adrienne Alyn in Colorado Springs emailed: “I got such a chuckle out of reading about your pancake search and restaurant recommendations.  I consider myself to be a true pancake maven and I have a suggestion. Hot Cakes on 18th and Humboldt in Denver is a great local stop, a big variety of plate size pancakes and all delicious. Hot Cakes Diner, 1400 E. 18th Ave., Denver, 303-832-4351.

 

Hal in Colorado Springs emailed: “Try the ricotta pancakes at Root Down. Great.” Root Down, 1600 W. 33rd Ave., Denver, 303-993-4200.

 

http://encompassmag.com/2012/12/colorado-talk-destination-pancake-houses/


Original Pancake House is reason to rise and shine

Westword Denver

Jenn in chains By Jenn Wohletz Tue., Sep. 25 2012

The best corned beef hash I've had, maybe ever.
J. Wohletz - The best corned beef hash I've had, maybe ever.

It's pretty effin' rare that I eat at a restaurant and can't find anything to complain about. I've dined at countless restaurants in my 35 years on this shiny blue orb, and I've seen plenty of good, bad and ugly. I've had meals that were overcooked, undercooked, cocked-up so badly my cat wouldn't go near the to-go boxes and -- on incredibly infrequent occasions when the planets align -- I've also had meals where everything from the service to the atmosphere to the food itself was flawless.

My brunch-hour breakfast at the Original Pancake House was one of those perfect meals.

See also:

- 100 Favorite Dishes: Apple pancake from the Original Pancake House
- Jason Sheehan: The Original Pancake House brings breakfast back to basics

The Original Pancake House Denver
J. Wohletz - The Original Pancake House.

I was at the Original Pancake House at 5900 South University Boulevard in Greenwood Village, a part of the metro area I don't get to often. The neighborhood might best be described by a bumper sticker I saw in the parking lot that read "Cut Government Spending!" -- on the bumper of a Lexus SUV.The original Original Pancake House was opened in 1953 in Portland, Oregon, by Les Highet and Erma Hueneke, with a menu featuring international recipes they'd collected. It was such a hit that they franchised the concept, and the Portland restaurant earned a James Beard Foundation Award in 1999.

By then, Denver's Original Pancake House locations were already wildly popular. And the two surviving remain so: At noon-ish, the Greenwood Village restaurant was packed. I was seated at the second-worst table in the place, the one right by the kitchen, and I decided not to mind because I would have had to wait another thirty minutes for the worst table in the place -- the one by the restrooms -- to open up.

The OMFG waffle.
J. Wohletz - The OMFG waffle.

The smack-up-on-the-kitchen table in a breakfast spot is generally a place of suck because of the wafting aroma of omelets -- and when you're making those huge, oversized, feed-four omelets, you inevitably get EBC (egg burn crust) on the outsides. It can't be helped (unless you cheat and only cook the omelets two-thirds of the way and then and zap it already stuffed, like I do at home), and the revolting aroma tends to waft about and permeate everything, including my clothes and my subconscious.But I wasn't here for an omelet. I'd heard that OPH makes some magnificent food -- including, but not limited to waffles, crepes, house-made corned beef hash and, of course, pancakes. I ordered the house-special waffle -- lemon poppyseed with blueberry topping -- the corned beef hash with two eggs and pancakes, and the house special praline-banana crepes. I saw some other peoples' food go while I was ordering, and the home-fried potatoes looked pretty special, so I ordered a side of those as well.

The banana praline crepes.
J. Wohletz - The banana praline crepes.

Ordering accomplished, I looked around the room. The restaurant's ambience would have been off-putting had it been a dinner spot, but a lot of breakfast places do the "pretend-country-outdoors-barns-and-sh*t" style of decor; the Fight Clubcornflower-blue-tie-colored walls, faux-rustic blond-wood booths and tables, and blue-and-white painted porcelain plates might have been tacky had they not been clean, meticulously placed and well maintained. The dining room really looked like a well-scrubbed, fake-farmhouse dining room; all it was missing was an antique Victrola and some of those plastic parlor-cushion covers that only come off on Sundays, when there is company.The service at OPH was gorgeous: fast, efficient, friendly as hell, and worth a good 25-plus percent tip at the end. My food was on the table, smoking hot, in under fifteen minutes. The plates were tidy and the portion sizes far past what I was expecting.

The waffle was feather-light, with butter-crisp edges and perfect pits filled with fruity, floral, warm blueberry compote. The waffle didn't even need that topping, though, because the combination of buttermilk, lemon rind and a bit of sweetness was furiously good.

Damn good home fries.
J. Wohletz - Damn good home fries.

The corned-beef hash was just as good: tender, brick-red bits of not-too-salty beef and tiny dices of peel-on russet potatoes, flavored with onion and perfectly moist -- according to the menu, the cooks use cream to wetten it up, and that trick works very, very well. Topped with with two over-medium eggs -- I like to weed-whack them into the hash -- and this was the best plate of hash I've ever had, by a f*cking long shot.The Original Pancake House does not screw around with crepes, either. The plate was stacked with three giant crepes rolled up with what I suspect was over a pound of banana slices, pecans, caramel sauce and whipped cream. The single order had enough stuff to feed me for about three meals, and the crepes themselves were deliciously eggy, sticky, bouncy and warm.

Even the home fries were exceptional, so well-cooked and easy-seasoned that I wondered if the kitchen had par-boiled the potatoes first to avoid the blackened potato-peel edges (because that's what I do at home when I'm not too lazy, which pretty much means close to never).

And then the pancakes: airy-fairy light, uniformly bubbled and sized, with lacy edges and a mildly tangy buttermilk flavor that made that warm maple syrup sing like Katy Perry.

My Original Pancake House breakfast was more delicious than original sin. I'd get up before noon to eat here again...and that's saying a mouthful.