PLATES O' PANCAKES
Check out where to find the best pancakes in Minneapolis and St. Paul
Photo by Martin/Flickr
By Lianna Matt
Pancakes are one of the most iconic breakfast foods. If you go traditional, you’ve got the pancakes of family breakfasts and cabin trips drizzled with sugary maple syrup. In Minneapolis and St. Paul, we’ve got plenty of those flapjack joints. We’ve also mixed it up a bit and thrown in other ingredients like mangos, granola, lemon ricotta and the like. Some people think pancakes are over-rated (we don’t even want to hear you start advocating for the waffle), but these Twin Cities breakfast nooks are doing a bang up job of changing their minds.
A Bite of Nostalgia
For some good ol’ fashioned pancakes, check out Bad Waitress, Original Pancake House, Key’s Cafe & Bakery, Fat Nat’s Eggs and Colossal Cafe. Yes, we know it’s a big group, but trust us, we could have added more. To get a little more specific, Colossal’s massive pancakes with yeast and some citrus zest aren’t for everyone, but for those who like it, they love it. Key’s has been a mainstay in the Twin Cities since 1973 and now has multiple locations serving its pancakes and its famous cinnamon and caramel rolls. Over at Bad Waitress, their single, lightly golden pancake covers a huge plate, and its fluffy texture effortlessly soaks in the perfect amount of syrup to accent the classic pancake flavor.
A Little Extra
Hell’s Kitchen has a huge breakfast menu (and a huge, 35-foot Bloody Mary bar), and their lemon-ricotta pancakes are basically iconic around the state. Over at Hen House Eatery, the pancakes have a great batter with a little extra flavor sprinkled in like cinnamon, blueberries, bananas and even tiramisu. Hazel’s NE doesn’t have a wide array of pancakes, but its Hippie Cakes with granola, mixed berries and whipped cream take the cake.
A Dive to Call Home
There’s not much to say about Mickey’s Dining Car and Al’s Breakfast except that they’re cut from the same cloth—small, crazy busy and classic diner dive. Al’s Breakfast recently caved into popular demand and has some late night hours so you don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. to grab a seat, and Mickey’s Dining Car is open 24/7.
A Corny Perfection
Victor’s 1959 mango or wild rice pancakes may be more famous than its corn pancakes; however, the corn pancakes are still pretty darn good. Maria’s Cafe has people positively flocking to it because of its corn pancakes—cachapas vneezolanas. Add some cotija cheese or enjoy the perfectly textured batter without. If you’re not feeling corn that day, they have a whole pancake section on the menu for you to peruse.
A European Take
Blackbird serves a plate of Swedish pancakes delicately opposite of Colossal’s monster serving. Fans often describe them as crepe-like, but nothing is overly sweet as the cranberry and blueberries topping it also substitute for the syrup. Only a truly good thing can substitute ricotta for butter in such an American mainstay, but Blackbird does it effortlessly. Scandinavia’s cousins are the Nords, and they’ve brought the other mention in this category: Pannekoeken Huis. While not strictly a pancake, these oven-baked Dutch varieties offer up similar comforts and come out on much larger platters. Try the pineapple upside down or traditional apple; both have the fruit baked into the batter. The bacon pannekoeken has savory baked in as well, and for sweet consider trying their French silk banana pannekoeken.