Week 9 — Original Pancake House

With nearly 100 franchised locations in the United States, The Original Pancake House (OPH) in Montgomery is a special mention on this blog, seeing as it is considered a “chain” restaurant. But I figure since it’s not working every late-night corner like a Denny’s, a review would be alright. And the thing is: I love breakfast, so I’m more than happy to oblige to being a judge of its esteemed “top 10 ‘best’ breakfast joints in America” distinction. Also, I’ve never been to either place in the area, so, alas, here we are.

I’ve always been hesitant to go to this place because every time I drive by, there are gratuitous people waiting outside. From what I can tell, the wait is pretty hefty during peak hours and especially on the weekends. I figured that, since OPH is open until 2pm on the weekdays, it would be best for me to go around 1pm to circumvent any wait times. I was right. There were a number of tables open and, as a result, the service was quick and outstanding.

Location: Situated on Montgomery Road, OPH is conveniently located on a pretty major thoroughfare accessed most closely by Ronald Reagan Highway and I-275. There is plenty of parking, as the private lot is shared with the other stores and a large Kroger store that also find homes in the strip center. Pretty easy to get to and spot.

Atmosphere: The interior décor here isn’t all that important, but for reference, it looks about like every other breakfast place ever. The atmosphere doesn’t detract from the meal, but it really isn’t worth talking a lot about. I will say, though, that it was nice to have Tom Cochrane crooning as the soundtrack to my solo meal.

Buttermilk pancake, potatoes, and two eggs over medium
Buttermilk pancake, potatoes, and two eggs over medium

Food: OPH’s specialties note on the menu (thank goodness) that those particular dishes require a good 20 minutes to cook, and because I am only allotted a 45-minute lunch, I decided to “ain’t nobody got time for that” it, and I opted for something else. “Pancake” is in the title, though, and I’ve also heard fantastic things about those, so pancake it was. In standard Linsey form, I ordered everything a la carte (two eggs over medium, potatoes, and one buttermilk pancake) because I love variety. And variety with 3 buttermilk pancakes is way too much. Also, I have a girlish figure to protect, here.

I digress.

The pancake was outstanding, and I was afraid that, after ordering, I’d regret only having one. (Editor’s Note: as I sit here thinking about it, I do regret it, and I don’t regret many things.) I don’t typically order pancakes when I’m out, but felt it was necessary here. I’m so glad I did, too, because they were absolutely the best I’ve tried in the area. It wasn’t really the taste so much as the flavor partnered with the consistency, although the actual flavor was very, very good, too. I’m very particular about texture, and these were really, really fantastic and especially fluffy. (The eggs and potatoes I got were good, but they didn’t stand out above any other place I’ve had them, so they’re not really worth writing a blog about.)

Overall grade B- [out of a possible A+]

The wait staff was very helpful, knowledgeable, and quick; consequently, the succinct service had me seated, having eaten, and paid for my meal in plenty of time for my 45-minute lunch. The pancakes were pretty great and lived up to the hype. My other food items, however, were just kind of middle of the road. I’m really glad I got to finally try this place today. I really enjoyed it, and will be back, but I wasn’t really blown away by the entire experience/meal. One of the best “chain” restaurant experiences I’ve had, especially of the morning meal persuasion (and I unapologetically really like First Watch).

Also — shout out to Date for cluing me in on the great February weather (nearly 50 degrees and sunny). Otherwise, I’d have not left campus for breakfast for lunch today.


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