Five great pancake restaurants
Chicago joints to get your syrup on.
The room is big and wide-open, and yet thanks to the homey design (the mismatched chairs; the collection of plates on the wall), this diner feels more like a small, charming café. But don’t let that fool you: The menu has all the diner staples it should have, from plate-sized omelettes to hearty Monte Cristo sandwiches to the signature: oven-baked pancakes almost the size of the room. 101 W North Ave (312-643-2300). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Sedgwick. Bus: 72. 24 hours. Average main course: $9.
Warning: Most people leave Lumes so stuffed with pancakes that they’re ready to take a nap. The basic buttermilk pancakes (which come with almost everything on the menu, including the veggie-packed, Nerf football–size omelettes) are fluffy, and blintzes are thin and filled with sweet cheese. But it’s worth forgoing all that and waiting 30 minutes for the German-style “Dutch Baby,” a bowl-shaped pancake with crisp edges and a warm, soft middle. Finishing it will definitely make you want to crawl back into bed. 11601 S Western Ave (773-233-2323). Bus: 49A, 111, 119, Pace 349. Breakfast, lunch. Average main course: $7.
At this little sibling to Andersonville’s favorite breakfast spot (m. henry), the servers are as cheerful as at the original, the space is just as comfortable and charming, and the famed hotcakes are in perfect form: crisped on the outside, light and fluffy as clouds on the inside. 1133 W Granville Ave (773-761-9700). El: Red to Chicago. Bus: 3, 66, 151, 157. Breakfast, lunch, dinner (Tue–Sat) (closed Mon). Average main course: $12.
The children depicted in the murals of this quaint café scare the hell out of us, so we turn to the weekend brunch of Scandinavian comfort food to ease our minds. The thin, crêpelike pancakes are so spongy and light, they practically dissolve in your mouth. The tart lingonberries served on the side provide the perfect foil for the slightly sweet pannekaker, but spread them sparingly: These cakes shine just fine on their own. 3258 W Foster Ave (773-267-9888). El: Brown to Kedzie. Bus: 81, 92, 93. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Average main course: $13.
This enormous West Loop eatery has made it its mission to bring “mornin’ hon” hospitality to the heartland. The brunch is often touted as the city’s best, and while we’re not willing to go that far, we can definitely get down with the plate-size fruit pancakes and savory corn cakes (try the latter with some hot sauce). 1001 W Washington Blvd (312-850-2663). Bus: 8, 20. Breakfast, lunch (Mon–Fri), dinner (Tue–Sat). Average main course: $10.