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Flippin' for flapjacks

BY MARTIN HINTZ

 

Whether one prefers George Webb’s classically simple buttermilk wheatcakes or going all the way with International House of Pancakes’ Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n Fruity (done up with two eggs, two bacon strips, two pork sausage links and two buttermilk pancakes knighted with strawberry topping, warm blueberry or cinnamon apple compote and whipped dairy), area breakfast lovers have a range of choices featuring this traditional morning delight. Try these following locales for twists on a dish.

Blue’s Egg
317 N. 76th St.
(414) 299-3180

Blue’s Egg presents two of the best varieties of pancakes this side of heaven. The restaurant’s blueberry pancakes are presented with lemon crème anglaise, whipped butter and syrup, and its nutty mixed grain pancakes come with bananas, candy walnuts and the requisite maple syrup. All this for only $7.95. Definitely hearty, these buttermilk pancakes are offered as a single cake side dish ($2.95) or a three-pancake "basic" plate at $6.25. The cakes are about 8 inches across and a 1/2-inch thick.

Maxfield’s Pancake House
333 W. Brown Deer Road, Fox Point
(414) 247-4994
2727 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa
(414) 453-6000

Early risers stampede to Maxfield’s when the doors open at 6 a.m., while late sleepers have until 4 p.m. to get their share of German or baked apple pancakes. A Breakfast Club No. 1 special ($7.89) includes two cakes, plus two eggs, orange juice, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. The restaurant offers at least 21 marvelous varieties, from raisin walnut to Oreo cookie pancakes. The "addictive delight pancakes," made with chocolate chips and peanut butter, are popular with the munchkin set and their elders who just want to whoop it up. Maple, strawberry, boysenberry and blueberry syrups are optional toppings.

Miss Katie’s Diner
1900 W. Clybourn St.
(414) 344-0044

Just like its back-to-the-old-days surroundings, this iconic diner’s made-to-order secret house batter pancakes are plain and simple, all dished out by "Miss Irene" Cawthon, the cook here for 26 years. Warning: You can’t stop with just one. The basic order is three, but some hungry regulars reportedly have loaded up with 18 or more of the regular buttermilk or blueberry wonders. The restaurant is two blocks west of the Marquette campus and near downtown Milwaukee. It’s home-away-from home for judges, lawyers, students, construction workers, cops, business folks and visiting First Ladies Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michelle Obama, all of whom appreciate flavorful cooking. Founding grandma Katherine Picciurro (Miss Katie) would be pleased.

Nora B’s
890 Elm Grove Road, Elm Grove
(262) 780-1888

Widely known by West Side as one of the area’s "Best Places for Breakfast," owner Nora Barton and executive chef Christine Moshinski have turned their space in the Village Court shopping plaza into an eater’s dreamland. Breakfast is served all day, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a signature hungry man’s four-egg omelet, plus other breakfast usuals. But a lot of real guys and dolls now also go for Nora B’s fruit-filled pancakes. Blueberry, banana and strawberry options are standouts. Yet for decadence as morning breaks, try the chocolate chip pancakes or even flip over the buttermilk. Ask for the day’s special, which could be pecan or any other style. Options include potato pancakes, plattered with two eggs and served with sour cream or applesauce. These are cheap eats at $5 for a full stack of four buttermilk pancakes, $5.50 for fruit pancakes or a mere $3.50 short (two pancakes).

Original Pancake House
2625 N. Downer Ave.
(414) 431-5055
16460 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield
(262) 797-0800

The franchise brags that here’s where you can get "pancakes as you like them!" Les Highet and Erma Hueneke, founders of the Original Pancake House in Portland, Ore., collected recipes from around the world. Their choices now range from a pi-a colada variety with crushed pineapple and coconut, dusted with powdered sugar to Georgia pancakes packed with toasted pecans. For a change of pace, try an oven baked apple pancake with fresh Granny Smith apples and Sinkiang cinnamon glaze. Off-the-wall styles include buttermilk pancakes filled with real bits of bacon and served with whipped butter and hot syrup; as well as fancy Swedish cakes made with lingonberries. The OPH’s 49’er sourdough flapjacks are worth an amble to the Yukon.

Smyth, Iron Horse Hotel
500 W. Florida St.
(414) 374-4766

Served Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 10 a.m. in the Library of The Iron Horse Hotel, guests and out-of-towners can order buttermilk pancakes topped with berries ($9) or banana nut pancakes with pecans and vanilla butter ($10). Sprawling out, breakfasters can read the paper, chat, daydream or open up their laptops being careful not to spill the syrup. Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas make dawn more bearable. Both of the Library’s cake styles are house-made and open-road yummy. On Saturdays and Sundays, breakfast moves into Smyth from 7 to 10 a.m. Chef Jason Gorman’s signature Red Velvet Pancakes currently only appear on the hotel’s Route 66 Sunday brunch on holidays and special occasions. Yet they will be added to the full Route 66 menu this fall. This buffet menu is served on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where there’s also period music and special staff uniforms.