The Original Pancake House: A Winnipeg Staple
Dessert or breakfast? Slathered in cream cheese and topped with strawberries and bananas, Original Pancake House's French Toast Ambrosia is a big commitment.
Eggs and bacon, pancakes and French toast aren't exactly exotic and adventurous eats.
Tell that to Winnipeg entrepreneur Wally Guberman. He has built a successful and enduring chain of restaurants based on that assumption. Since 1958, The Original Pancake House has been packing in crowds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The decor isn't fancy. The service is fast and family-friendly. The coffee is plentiful and the food hits the spot with no big surprises.
The formula works.
For evidence, try to get a table on the fly any Saturday morning and especially Sunday morning at all three locations (The Forks, Pembina Highway and Portage Avenue). A 20 to 30 minute wait is not unusual. Today, continental eats like salads, burgers, sandwiches, wraps and soups are on the menu along with a breakfast staples like eggs benedicts, waffles and crepes.
The chain has become a favourite among Winnipeg families and seniors. On one recent visit, booths were also populated by packs of teens.
With help from my husband, we demolished the French toast ambrosia, a massive meal of French toast slathered in cream cheese and topped with a mess of stewed strawberries and sliced bananas. Was it breakfast or possibly dessert? Who knows and who really cares. It was a decadent gut buster.
To allay our guilt (and actually eat some vegetables), we tried to topple the chicken taco salad. It was also a huge plate loaded with heaps of lettuce, cheese, olives, and grilled chicken tossed with salsa and sour cream.
We failed our mission and left half the salad behind.
If you choose to do battle, save up your appetite. Portions are very generous.
The Original Pancake House has two other locations in Winnipeg : 1 Forks Market Rd, 947-5077; and 1445 Portage Ave at the Clarion Hotel, 775-9035.
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