Meet our Executive Chef Alex Tafoya

This past week we sat down with our Executive Chef, Alex Tafoya and got to know a bit about him and his culinary inspirations.  Here is what we learned!

Q: Tell us about yourself:

A: I was born and raised in Colorado Springs Colorado, and moved to Denver Colorado in 1997 with my Mom and Sister. I was raised by my wonderful mother who had a tough time raising two kids as a single parent but did a fantastic job in the end

Q: What is your earliest food memory?

A: My earliest food memory was when is was around five. I loved being in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother. My grandma would teach me how to cook beans and enchiladas and I loved it, and my mom would teach me how to make her famous beef stroganoff that I still make to this day at home

Q: How did you become a chef and get into the restuarant industry?

A: I got into the restaurant industry when I was 17 years old at a seafood restaurant downtown called Del Mar Crab House. I started as a food runner part time while I went to school at ACC. I enjoyed watching the chef’s so much I asked for a chance to step into the kitchen. When I did I loved the fast paced environment so much that I knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and enrolled into culinary school as soon as I turned 18.

Q: What was your first job as a chef?

A: My first chef job was at age 19 for a company called Buff Brothers at a restaurant called Dirk’s right after culinary school. It was there that I developed my skills as a chef and leader in not only the back of the house but the front of house as well.

Q: How long have you been with The Original Pancake House in Denver?

A: I have been at the Original Pancake House now for 2 years after a brief leave were I worked at the Original Pancake House for 3 years as a server, cook, busser and host.

Q: What is your favorite dish to make at OPH?

A: My Favorite dish to make at the Original Pancake House would have to be the Dutch baby and the Apple Pancake because that was a dish my mother used to make us as kids. Don’t tell my mom that ours are better.

Q: What do you cook for yourself when you are home?

A: When I am at home I love to cook beef wellington,  beef Stroganoff and if it can go on a grill chances are I will love to cook it as well.

Q: If you could have breakfast with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you have?

A: If I could have breakfast with anyone living or dead I would probably have to choose my Dad. He Passed away when I was 18  from cancer and never had the chance to see all of my accomplishments that I am very proud of. The meal of choice would have to be a Dutch Baby with a side of our thick cut bacon and a tall glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.


Thank you so much for sharing a bit about yourself Alex!  Next time you are out for breakfast in Denver, be sure to wave and say hello to Alex!


Celebrate National Hot Breakfast Month!


We all know by now that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.   If your normal routine of cold cereal is giving you the winter blues, it might be time to spice up your morning with a hot breakfast.  February is the perfect time to switch up the menu as this month is National Hot Breakfast Month.

For those who are on the go and need a very quick meal in the morning, hot oatmeal might be just the ticket.  Simply boil water, mix with instant oats, and you are ready to go.  If you plan ahead, you can even make traditional oats in the slow-cooker overnight and have them piping hot and ready for you as head out the door, check out our recipe here.

In our house, we like to make egg sandwiches each morning.  They are quick, easy, filling, and healthy!  Simply toast English muffins, fry up a couple of eggs, add cheese and ham if you like, and you are ready to eat in just three minutes.  You can even wrap these yummy breakfast sammies up in tin foil and eat them during the morning commute.

On weekends, when we have a little more time, we try our hand at homemade pancakes, waffles, and muffins.  And of course on lazy weekends we celebrate with breakfast out in Denver!  Sometimes it is nice to have your friends at the Original Pancake House do all the work, and clean-up, for you!

From our breakfast table to yours, happy National Hot Breakfast Month!


Holiday Stocking Stuffers!

It’s that time of year!  The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has us bundled up and running around town finding little things to bring joy to our family and friends.  To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite stocking stuffer ideas! christmas-21636_640

For the forgetful spouse

– Trying to get to your favorite Denver breakfast spot and they can’t find their keys…again?  This key fob locater may be just the gift!  Now they just have to remember to attach it to their key chain!

For the eco-conscious friend

– For the tree-hugger in your life, offers several gift options.  Choose between offsetting their carbon footprint or planting trees, for as little as $10 you can make your green friend a happy camper!

For the over-worked

– She canceled your Saturday morning Denver breakfast date again because she had to work?  Brighten up her cube with some fun games from  This fun website offers little gadgets such as mind bender games, stress balls, and even solar powered flowers for her desk.

For the techie

– For the family member or friend who is attached to their new iPhone, these gloves are just the gift.  The North Face E-Tip glove has full palm conductivity so you can stay connected and active on your touch screen without exposing fingers to the frosty elements.

!For the Foodie – Give the gift of Pancake Cheer!  Did you know The Original Pancake House Denver offers gift cards?  Share the joy of a delicious breakfast with co-workers, friends and family!  Nothing says love quite like the gift of a warm and delicious breakfast in Denver.

Happy shopping and Happy Holidays from your OPH Denver Family!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Tradition…is delicious!

Funny how perfectly our saying “Tradition is Delicious” fits the Thanksgiving holiday. Whenever we gather around the table with our loved ones, it’s hard not to include tradition.  And in the case of Thanksgiving, most traditions are delicious! We’ve collected a few interesting turkey day traditions from across the United States; read on to find out how folks celebrate

Thanksgiving Dinner

around the country.

What’s on the menu?

Perhaps the most important part of the holiday is the food!  But the Thanksgiving spread varies widely depending on geographic location.  Southerners often deep fry their turkeys, in New England you are likely to find a salt-brined bird, and in Hawaii they rub their turkeys with coffee grounds.  Side dishes also vary widely with variations on sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, veggies and cranberry sauce.  In the Pacific Northwest, locally foraged mushrooms are usually featured in the meal, while in the southwest, you might find Mexican influences such as spicy chorizo, chilies and cilantro. And for desert, the most common choice is usually the pumpkin pie, but in the south you are likely to be served a pecan pie and many mid-westerners opt for apple deserts.

What do we do after the meal?

Due to the tryptophan in the turkey, many folks find themselves napping after such a large feast.  But of those who manage to stay awake, many families opt for football on TV or perhaps a game of tag football in the backyard.  In New York City, you can’t miss the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an annual tradition since 1924.  And the local Turkey Trot is a great family activity for those who want to work off some of that gravy!  As it is a holiday of thanks, many families also use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to volunteer and give back to those who are less fortunate in their communities.

Giving thanks

One common theme among all American families is a pause during the gathering to give thanks.  It is important to remember the reason we gather on Thanksgiving Day and appreciate the wonderful food, family, and friends that we have in our lives.

At Original Pancake House Denver, we are very thankful for all of our loyal customers and wonderful staff who support us.  We are so grateful to all the folks who make The Original Pancake House Denver part of their breakfast tradition.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pancakes

All About Pumpkins!

Halloween is just around the corner and pumpkins abound on almost every front porch in our Denver neighborhood. With this healthy gourd on our mind, we came up with a few ways to incorporate pumpkin into your breakfast recipe repertoire. Read on to learn how you can make pumpkins part of a perfect fall morning.

Pumpkin Pancakes at home
Pumpkin Pancakes at home

Pumpkin Pancakes

We have our own secret pumpkin pancake recipe at Original Pancake House Denver, but here is a variation to try at home. Simply grind the oats with a blender or coffee grinder and combine with the remaining ingredients. Cook pancakes following the standard process and top with pecans and warm syrup!
½ cup oatsl
6 egg whites
¼ cup grams pumpkin puree
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp pumpkin spice
Splash of vanilla extract

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

This healthy fall recipe couldn’t be easier and tastes just like a fresh-baked pumpkin pie! Cook oatmeal according the package instructions. Once water is absorbed and oatmeal is nearly ready, stir in pumpkin puree and fall spices. Top your oatmeal with syrup, yogurt or toasted pecans.

1 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
2 tsp cinnamon
1 large pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 Tblsp maple syrup
Yogurt & toasted pecans (optional but delicious)

Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait

Another healthy fall breakfast treat, this parfait is guaranteed to be a family favorite! This recipe is so easy you could even make it for the family before work and school. Combine granola, pecans and crushed gingersnaps to make the parfait topping. Mix one half of the pumpkin spice with the yogurt and the other half with the pumpkin puree. Alternate layers of yogurt, pumpkin, and toppings and breakfast is ready!

1/4 cup low-fat granola
2 tbsp. pecans, chopped/pieces
2 gingersnap cookies, crushed
1/3 cup 100% pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
1/3 cup. fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
1/8 Tsp. pumpkin pie spice

And of course we recommend you stop by Original Pancake House Denver for one of our favorite breakfast dishes and try Sara’s Pumpkin Pancakes! Ours are filled with rich pumpkin, molasses and fall spices, then topped with warm butter or fresh whipped cream. We can’t think of a better way to start the day!

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!

En route to perfect omelette

Fluffy Foamy Omelette Recipe

At The Original Pancake Denver, we take our breakfast recipes very seriously.  One of our favorite breakfast menu items is the omelette.  Light and fluffy, filled with a favorite topping, omelettes are always a crowd pleaser!  There are many methods to omelette making, and most home chefs have a favorite technique.

The Original Pancake House Omelette Recipe

Here are a few tips for creating the perfect fluffy, foamy omelette at home.

1. To start, make sure your eggs are whipped until they are light and even a bit frothy.  Some chefs recommend adding one tablespoon of

En route to perfect omelette

water to make sure the egg mixture is extra light.  For a solid meal, we usually use three eggs.

2. Choose the appropriate sized pan.  A 7-8” non-stick frying pan is perfect for a three-egg omelette.

3. Warm your pan over medium heat.  Add fat to the pan to ensure your omelette never sticks.  This step is very important; if you skimp on the fat you will create an omelette disaster!  Butter, oil, bacon fat or a combination of any of these three will work.  In general, you want to use at least a tablespoon to ensure your omelette does not stick.  Tilt your pan in all directions to make sure the fat evenly coats the pan.

4. Turn your pan down to low heat.  All omelette connoisseurs agree that the best omelettes are cooked low and slow!  No one enjoys brown or burned eggs.  Add your eggs to the pan and sprinkle your favorite toppings over the top.

5. This next step is one of great debate.  Once the eggs are in the pan, some chefs recommend lightly stirring the eggs and pulling them away from the sides to ensure evenly cooked eggs.  Others recommend you do not touch the eggs once they are in the pan; instead place a lid over top and let the omelette cook covered on very low heat for 5-8 minutes.  We recommend experimenting with both to see which works best for you.

6. Once the omelette has finished cooking, fold in half or in thirds and ENJOY!


Though we can’t share all of our omelette trade secrets, we encourage you to find and perfect your favorite technique.  This breakfast (or lunch!) dish is certainly an art and patience will garner great rewards!

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!

Summer Favorites

Temperatures are rising, the flowers are in bloom, and flip flops abound - summer is here!  At The Original Pancake House Denver we like to enjoy the season with a few breakfast items that celebrate summer from beloved vacation destinations.  So though you may be dining on breakfast in Denver, your taste buds will be on a summer vacation!


Dreaming of warm sand between your toes?  Take a summer beach vacation with the Coconut Belgian Waffle. Our golden brown Belgian waffle is filled and topped with toasted coconut and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Served with whipped butter and warm tropical syrup…can you hear the waves and music of the ukulele?


If the art and culture of a European adventure are more your style, then slip away to Paris with our Continental Crepes.  Enjoy three delicate crepes rolled with sour cream, tempered with Triple Sec and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Topped with our warm tropical syrup, you’ll be touching down at Charles de Gaulle in no time!

bb pancakes


When it’s a “sco-cha” in Colorado, you might want to head up to Maine! This beautiful northern state is filled with cool lakes, fireflies, campfires and blueberries, yah? To show our appreciation of summer in Maine, we love to dine on Blueberry Pancakes! These classic buttermilk pancakes are filled with plump blueberries and lightly dusted with powdered sugar.  Each order is served with whipped butter and warm blueberry compote syrup.  It’s wicked good!

Who knew you could travel the world while eating breakfast in Denver?  Pack your bags and slide on into a booth at The Original Pancake House Cherry Hills or Denver Tech Center location…your flight will be boarding soon.

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.