Pancake Spots That Need to Rule Your Breakfast World

Melissa Heckscher
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Pancakes, flapjacks, silver dollars—no matter what your kids call them, we know they love them. National Pancake Day is March 1 and IHOP is offering a free short stack per guest from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. If you prefer to explore a spot that’s more local, we’ve done the grueling work of finding the best spots in our brunch-loving city to find pancake paradise all year long. From plain ol’ tried and true to the gourmet, read on to find the top choices for every taste.

For Nutella goodness & rainbow cuteness: Sugar Factory

The insane double stack rainbow pancakes come with a fully colorful rainbow stack, warm maple syrup, powdered sugar and butter. They’re served with chocolate chips, gummy bears, strawberries and whipped cream with rainbow sprinkles on the side. As a bonus, you get a Sugar Factory rubber ducky as a take-home gift. 

If rainbows aren’t your thing, they have a Nutella-focused breakfast treat. It’s topped with melted hazelnut chocolate, whipped cream, strawberries and served with warm maple syrup. ‘Nuf said.

5445 Park Place, Rosemont & 55 E. Grand Ave., River North; Online:

For fruity delights: M.henry

The blackberry bliss cakes live up to their name. These heavenly hotcakes are pillows of pancake-y goodness with silky vanilla marscapone slathered on each bite. Topped with blackberries and an apple crisp-like crumble, they will make the whole family dream for days.

5707 N. Clark St., Andersonville; Online:

For sweet simplicity: Sweet Maple Cafe

No need to be fancy: These no-frill pancakes are made from an original family recipe and served with Vermont maple syrup and pure butter. The space itself is small and homey (with free parking across the street); it’ll remind you of rolling out of bed at Grandma’s to the smell of pancakes on the griddle.

1339 W. Taylor St., Little Italy; Online:

For total indulgence: Bongo Room

Warning: If you let your littles indulge in more than a short stack they may be bouncing off the walls until the end of the day. The good news is you’ll happily volunteer to clean their plates yourself. Pumpkin chai, caramelized apple, white chocolate & caramel pretzel. . . these over these over-the-top creations taste more like dessert than breakfast. And, selections change often, so keep visiting. 

1470 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wicker Park & 5022 N. Clark St., Andersonville; Online:

For birthday pancakes: Southport Grocery and Cafe

Whoever thought to use cupcake batter to make pancakes is probably more of a genius to your child than Albert Einstein. This cafe makes some of the best cupcakes in town, which translates perfectly to the not-too-sweet griddled version served with vanilla butter. Oh, by the way, did we mention they’re gluten free?

3552 N. Southport Ave., Lakeview; Online:

For sheer variety: Walker Bros.

This North Shore mainstay (it’s been around for over 50 years!) knows flapjacks. The menu has over a dozen varieties from the kiddie favorite “little dollars” to the oven-baked thick and gooey apple cinnamon pancake. Each location is super kid-friendly with plenty of high chairs and spots to sit while you wait for your table. Because, let’s face it: There will be a wait.

Locations in Arlington Hts., Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Zurich, Lincolnshire, Wilmette and Schaumburg; Online:

For good old fashioned goodness: Delia’s Kitchen

These pancakes are so delicious you’ll forget they could even be good for you! They’re made with healthy whole grain buckwheat and simplicity is key. The old-fashioned stack is served in a classic manner with butter and syrup. The only challenge may be ignoring the bacon pancakes listed on the menu. Be sure to try their blueberry lemon ricotta stacks. So, so, so good!

1034 W. Lake St., Oak Park;

For the fluffiest around: Blueberry Hill

If large fluffy flapjacks smothered in fruit are your pancake style, this is your holy grail. Blueberry, pecan, banana and chocolate chip are just a few of the ways to top off your favorite breakfast treat.

Locations in Aurora, Darien, Homer Glen, Homewood, LaGrange, Oakbrook, Plainfield & Tinley Park; Online:

For a cultural twist: Svea Restaurant

Andersonville still brims with Scandinavian cultural influences, including the Swedish American Museum, which has a hands-on exhibition area for kids. But first, stop by Svea, an authentic Swedish restaurant-meets-diner. Try the paper-thin Swedish pancakes served with the fun-to-say, slightly tart lingonberry jam.

5236 N. Clark St., Andersonville;

For ooey-gooey goodness: Wildberry
 Pancakes & Cafe

Cinnamon spice and everything nice (like a warm vanilla glaze) is what these pancakes are all about. Every bite carries the perfect amount of sweet. If you visit the Randolph Street location, you and your kids can run off your sugar buzz across the street at Maggie Daley Park.

Locations in: Loop, Streeterville, Libertyville & Schaumburg; Online:

For a healthy start: Prasino

Gluten-free? Vegetarian? Vegan? Prasino has ‘em all and they are all delicious. We’re partial to the carrot cakes (vegetarian) made with fresh grated carrot, cinnamon and nutmeg topped with raisins, sweet cream and candied pecans.

93 S. La Grange, La Grange; Online:

For a lunchtime pancake: CornerStone Cafe

You’ve probably driven by the CornerStone Café a million times. Next time, stop for pancakes—especially at lunchtime when you can have pigs in a blanket. We’re talking old-school pigs in a blanket with two or three sausage links wrapped in some of the fluffiest pancakes you’ll ever eat.

2753 N. Western Ave., Bucktown & 2200 N. Clybourn, Lincoln Park; Online:

By Popular Demand: The Original Pancake House

Chicagoans are passionate about The Original Pancake House. And who can blame us when their specialty is an apple pancake oven-baked with fresh granny smith apples and topped with cinnamon glaze?

19 Chicagoland locations; Online:

— Maria Chambers & Jen Peterson


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