Pancakes go back in history practically forever, and it’s not hard to see why. A stack of fluffy, syrup-and-butter-drenched pancakes satisfies like little else. It evokes the happiness of a weekend morning, when that bit of extra time allows for the cooking of a delicious breakfast feast. Perhaps they are a tad nostalgic, too, reminding us of many a diner breakfast, where a golden stack gets delivered, and the only thing left to do is smother in syrup and enjoy.
In America, pancakes were first known as “johnnycakes,” “hoe cakes” or “flapjacks.” The name has evolved, but the basic concept is the same: a flat cake, of sorts, made from batter and fried. It’s endlessly customizable — chocolate chips, blueberries, cinnamon anyone? — and most of the ingredients are readily available in the pantry, making them a quick, go-to.
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Fortunately, we in Western New York have many places where we can enjoy a plate of perfect, or near-perfect, pancakes. We’ve compiled a list of five of some of the very best places to get noteworthy pancakes (in no particular order), based on consistency (are they hit or miss – or good every time) and options (is there a variety on the menu?). We hope you get out there and start your morning right with that happiness-inducing food — pancakes.
1. Campfire Grill
3003 Walden Ave., Depew / 716-725-9969 / campfiregrilldepewwny.com
The menu at this spot is camping-inspired, drawing inspiration from the great outdoors and the food that’s consumed in it. Bonus: the portions are huge. Here, pancakes are called “hotcakes.” They offer some truly scrumptious options, including s’mores, country apple surprise, fresh berry good, crumble, Oreo, chocolate and peanut butter and cinnamon roll. For the aforementioned specialty “hotcakes,” three are $6.50, and five are $9. Honestly, quite the deal.
3100 Transit Road, West Seneca / (716) 656-9655 / thepokedyolk.com
3698 Abbott Road, Orchard Park / (716) 822-9655 / thepokedyolk.com
The Poked Yolk offers diners phenomenal breakfast food and lots of options. The pancakes are truly enormous, so prepare for leftovers. Added bonus: they have lots of gluten free options. They offer buttermilk pancakes (two for $5.99); chocolate chip pancakes (two for $6.99); and blueberry pancakes (also two for $6.99). Additionally, they serve gluten free orange creamsicle pancakes ($6.99), featuring orange-flavored pancakes topped with an orange cream glaze. This place gets pretty packed, so be prepared that there may be a wait.
5235 Main St., Williamsville / 716-634-3447 / breakneggs-creperie.com
Pretty much everything at this adorable, French-inspired eatery in the Village of Williamsville is delicious. Although crepes are center of the menu, they serve an outstanding plate of fluffy buttermilk pancakes that should not be over-looked. You get your choice of three plain, banana or chocolate chip pancakes, served with fresh fruit and pure maple syrup ($9.75). If you go during prime breakfast time, be prepared that there will likely be a wait. (Break’n Eggs also has an “Express” location, where a wait isn’t likely, at 1280 Sweet Home Road, Amherst.)
749 Military Road, Buffalo / 716-447-9661
Sophias’s is classic Buffalo diner goodness, and its pancakes are no exception. The pancakes here are big, fluffy, inexpensive and consistently delicious. Their pancake offerings include the following: blueberry, chocolate chip, apple cinnamon walnut and banana cinnamon walnut. A short stack, which is two pancakes, is between $4 and $4.50, depending on the type of pancake, and a full stack, which is three, is between $5.50 and $6.50, also depending on the pancake.
367 Connecticut St., Buffalo / 716-884-1100 / blacksheepbuffalo.com
The Black Sheep serves a spectacular brunch, and the pancakes on that brunch menu are worth a visit. The pancakes ($10) are served with whipped butter and local maple syrup. The taste and quality of this dish combined with a more upscale atmosphere is what’s noteworthy here, rather than portion size. They also serve a pancake breakfast sandwich ($13), made with bacon or sausage, egg, cheese and hash brown.