Winner of the Kids Pancake Recipe Challenge

Original Pancake House Denver’s Kids Recipe Challenge Winner!

Cole - Winner of the Kids Pancake Recipe Challenge

This past August, The Original Pancake House Denver hosted the Kids Pancake Recipe Challenge.  Open to all young pancake fans, the contest challenged youngsters to create the wackiest, most creative pancake recipes to share with the Original Pancake House Denver community.  All recipes were put up for popular vote on our Facebook page and the winner was announced on National Pancake Day, September 26.

We are thrilled to congratulate Cole Brody on his winning recipe for Vanilla Brown Sugar Gluten Free Pancakes!  Recently we took a few moments to chat with Cole about his love for pancakes and his recipe inspiration.  Here is what he had to say:

OPH Denver: What was your inspiration for Homemade Gluten Free Vanilla Brown Sugar pancakes?

Cole: I was trying to make really good pancakes that are gluten free and I love brown sugar for the sweetness that it makes the pancakes.


Cole's family at Original Pancake House to celebrate!

OPH Denver: Do you and your family make pancakes together at home often?

Cole: I make pancakes every Saturday and Sunday for my family, unless we sometimes go to Pancake House. My favorite part of going to the (Original) Pancake House is they make the best gluten free pancakes ever and I love them and I love the bacon.


OPH Denver: What are your favorite pancake toppings?

Cole: We usually eat our pancakes with maple syrup or whipped cream but my favorite toppings are chocolate chips and strawberry syrup. But not together.


OPH Denver: What is the craziest pancake you've ever had or made?

Cole: We made Lifesaver Gummy pancakes once and the Lifesavers melted and turned into jelly. We also made Fruity Pebbles pancakes and they tasted like fruity pancakes.


OPH Denver: What is your favorite part about breakfast?

Cole: Making pancakes for my family and they tell me how good they are.


OPH Denver: What grade are you in and what do you want to be when you grow up?

Cole: I am in 3rd grade at Greenwood Elementary and I want to be an airplane pilot and own an airline.


From the entire OPH Denver family, we would like to congratulate Cole on his winning recipe!  Want to make Cole’s Gluten Free Vanilla Brown Sugar Pancakes at home?  Cole was kind enough to share his secrets.  Happy cooking!

Cole’s Gluten Free Vanilla Brown Sugar Pancakes

1C Pamela's GF baking mix

3/4C Vanilla Soy milk

1 Egg

1 TBS oil

1 Tsp Vanilla

1 TBS Brown Sugar

Makes 8-10 medium sized pancakes

apple muffins

Celebrate Fall with APPLES!

Tis the season for apples!  One of our favorite fruits at The Original Pancake House Denver, apples are harvested every year from

Apple Pancakelate August through early October.  We love apples so much we feature them in several of our breakfast dishes – the Apple Belgian Waffle, our Potato Pancakes with sour cream and cinnamon apple sauce, and of course the incredible Apple Pancake!  To celebrate the apple harvest, we wanted to share a few fun facts about this quintessential American fruit.

  1. More than 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States, but worldwide there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples.  The crabapple is the only variety native to the U.S.
  2. Apples contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fiber.  The study of apples is known as pomology.
  3. The pilgrims planted the first apple orchards at the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In colonial times, apples were called “winter banana” or “melt-in-the-mouth.” Today apples are grown in all 50 states.
  4. The top apple producers around the world are China, United States, Turkey, Poland and Italy. Apples account for 50%of international deciduous fruit tree production. Worldwide, more than 44 million metric tons of apples are harvested each year.
  5. Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.  Each fruit requires energy from 50 leaves to grow and ripen.
  6. Apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
  7. Apple varieties range in size from a little larger than a cherry to as large as a grapefruit. The largest apple ever picked weighed 3 pounds.  Apples come in all shades of yellow, green and red.
  8. Apples harvested from an average tree can fill 20 boxes that weigh 42 pounds each.  A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds. A bushel of apples weighs about 42 pounds.
  9. Apples are a member of the rose family.
  10. It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider and about 2 pounds of apples to fill one apple pie.

And, because we all know “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” here is a great breakfast recipe featuring the mighty apple!


Morning Glory Muffins2011-04-18-apple-muffins-586x322

Hearty, healthy breakfast muffins


  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ cups carrots, grated
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ½ cup raw apple, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in another bowl.
  4. Add the flour mixture to liquid ingredients, and stir until moistened. Gently fold in remaining ingredients. Pour into well-greased muffin tins, about two-thirds full.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes, until light golden on the edges and tops.

And for days when you have plenty of time and want to treat yourself to the best breakfast in Denver, be sure to stop by either our Cherry Hills or Denver Tech Center restaurants and enjoy one of our famous Apple Pancakes!

Peanut Butter Toast

Quick and Easy Back-to-School Breakfast Recipes

Peanut Butter Toast + Fresh FruitWith August underway, gone are the mornings of leisurely breakfasts we all enjoyed over summer vacation.  But even with the hustle and bustle of fall schedules, it is still important to start the day off with a nutritious and filling meal!  Here are few quick and easy breakfast ideas that will start your busiest mornings off on the right foot.

Peanut Butter Toast: Packed with protein, peanut butter provides energy for hours!  One of our favorite “on the go” breakfasts includes a couple slices of toasted bread topped with a generous spread of peanut butter.  To make this meal even more delicious add honey, bananas or even raisins.

Pancakes: Don’t have time to go out for pancakes at your favorite Denver breakfast spot?  No problem!  Make a large batch of pancakes over the weekend and either freeze or store them in the fridge.  Pancakes reheat beautifully in the microwave or toaster oven within just minutes.  Add a bit of fresh fruit, syrup and butter and you’re ready to eat!

Incredible Eggs:  Eggs may seem like a weekend staple, but they are quick and easy to prepare any day of the week.  Hard boil eggs the evening before if you are very short on time.  A hardboiled egg makes a great meal when served with a banana and a slice of toast.  Fried eggs are also quick and easy; they cook within just a couple of minutes and will satisfy hunger pangs throughout the morning.

Oatmeal: Nutritious and delicious!  Slow-cooked traditional oatmeal can be made a night in advance, or quick cooking oats make a speedy morning meal.  Simply add a bit of fresh fruit or brown sugar and you are ready to roll!

And remember, The Original Pancake House Denver will be here to serve you a splendid breakfast when the weekend comes around or when the kids are out of school!

Family Fun – Things To Do on Summer Vacation

Ah, summer vacation!  We still have a few weeks left before the kids go back to school and the lazy mornings and leisurely breakfasts are over.  At the Original Pancake House Denver, we love to start our dog days of summer off with a nice big stack of pancakes followed by a little family fun.  Here is a list of some of our favorite South Denver attractions to try with the whole family!

Speed Raceway

– Are the kiddos getting a bit restless as home?  Perhaps they have a need for speed!  The Speed Raceway is an indoor electric go-kart track and provides hours of fun and racing for the whole family.  Siblings can race each other (at moderate speeds) around the indoor track and cheer on their friends and fellow racers.

Pirates Cove Family Fun Aquatic Center

– AHOY!  For the hottest of summer days, Pirates Cove is just the place to cool you off!  With pools, water slides, a lazy river, and play area, Pirates Cove provides hours of refreshing fun for the whole family.  We recommend starting with a big breakfast first so everyone has enough energy to swim all day!

Littleton Museum

– Step back in time and enjoy the adventures of life in Littleton circa the 1860’s and 1890’s. Located on 39 acres, the Littleton Museum has served as the primary repository for the history, art, and culture of Littleton. Often cited as one of the top ten local history museums in the United States, the museum consists of two living history farms, a small lake, a collections center, and a main exhibition and administration building.

Centennial Center ParkCentennial Center Park

- The 11-acre, award winning, Centennial Center Park provides children of all ages hours of fun on one of three climbing walls, two expansive, age-appropriate play areas and the Nautilus water play area in the center of the Park.  Ideally situated on a slight bluff adjacent to Centennial Civic Center, Centennial Center Park also features “butte” and “meadow” nature areas, three decorative water fountains and a two-story covered shelter to overlook the plaza or enjoy a spectacular Centennial sunset.

Belleview Park

–Located just adjacent to Pirates Cove, Belleview Park offers numerous family friendly activities. Visitors can enjoy a ride on the Miniature Train, play by the creek or on the playground equipment, ride their bikes along the bike paths, and cool off with some concessions sold at the farm. The miniature train has run in Belleview Park for over 30 years, averaging 60,000 riders annually. The train runs every summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Kids can enjoy getting to know some farm animals, which include pigs, goats, chickens, and sheep just to name a few.

Westlands Park

– Westlands Park is a hidden jewel in the middle of the Greenwood Village corporate park area. The Westlands playground includes three play areas sized for toddlers to teens. There are two large climbing structures which satisfy both the technical climber as well as the inexperienced child. In addition to the main play area, there are three multi-use playing fields, an in-line hockey rink, a natural water sculpture, a pond and a hike / bike trail.

Cherry Creek State Park

– You can’t beat Colorado State Parks!  Cherry Creek State Park has it all with biking and hiking trails, a shooting range, a miniature airport for model planes, and did we mention that nice big reservoir to cool your toes?  Bring a picnic and spend the day playing in the outdoors!

Brunswick Zone XL Bowling

– Cool shoes, slick lanes, the sound of pins collapsing, no wonder they say “fun is bowling!”  At Brunswick Zone the whole family can escape the heat and get in on the action.  Kids of all ages are welcome to take their shot at breaking a score of 200! And when the bowling is done, Brunswick Zone XL also offers laser tag, a large game room and billiards!

You’ll need lots of energy for whatever activities you choose, so be sure to fuel up Original Pancake House Denver with a big breakfast before embarking on your adventures!

Golfing for Firefighters

Fundraiser 16

On June 23 and 24, The Original Pancake House Denver helped sponsor the annual South Metro Professional Firefighters Foundation Gala and Memorial Golf Tournament. One of the largest charity events in the state of Colorado, the tournament raises funds to support professional firefighters and their families who face financial hardships as a result of off-duty emergencies such as accident, injury or death. The foundation is a non-profit organization and provides funds to firefighters and police officers from Denver Fire, Englewood Police, Aurora Fire, West Metro Fire, Arvada Fire, Cunningham Fire, Littleton Fire and many other neighborhoods.

Fundraiser 02

This year’s event included a Sunday night gala followed by a charity golf tournament on Monday. The Original Pancake House Denver sponsored a booth along the course where we gave out fun OPH swag and refreshments to the golfers. With over 200 participants, we had the opportunity to meet several firefighters and their families, as well as members of our community who also support the South Metro Professional Firefighters Foundation.

Fundraiser 07

On behalf of all The Original Pancake House Denver staff, we are proud to participate in this wonderful event and support those who protect and serve local community!

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.”


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!

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.


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.