No doubt about it, Brian Skinner, celebrating his one-year anniversary as owner of The Original Pancake House this month, knows what it takes to bring Savannah breakfast-lovers crowding through his door.
After nearly three decades working with Waffle House and Starbucks, he moved to Savannah in search of something different. When his business partner Vick Neely made a request for him to check out a certain eatery here on the Southside (with an eye to future investment), he was ready for a change in venue.
For 30 days straight Brian ate at The Original Pancake House for breakfast and lunch, observing the staff, trying every item on the menu, watching customer reactions and developing a growing respect for the fresh-made goodness and consistent quality of the food served there.
If you’ve never tried The Original Pancake House’s famous Apple Pancake, you will soon find out, as Brian did, it’s a tempting lure to foodies everywhere. Brian respects the traditions of this fine restaurant chain, founded in 1953 in Portland, Oregon, and opening in Savannah 10 years ago.
If you’re already an enthusiastic patron you will find this luscious dish unchanged and be happy to order the great, golden pancake, oven-baked, and piled high with thinly sliced Granny Smith apples and fragrant with real Sinkiang Cinnamon, shimmering under a glaze of real butter (whipped fresh daily in the kitchen) and brown sugar.
There is a trove of delights at this unassuming family restaurant that makes it stand out from the crowd. You’ll find no canned corned beef beside your sunnyside-up eggs: their hash is created from a slow-cooked corn beef roast, hand-chopped and mixed with diced potatoes.
They’re also known for their gallery of pancakes that are made fresh daily from individual batters like the German, Dutch or Swedish styles, the incredible 49er Flapjacks (Brian’s favorite) with their slightly chewy texture, or the Harvest Blueberry created from wheat germ with granola and a fresh berry compote. Georgia Peach and Pecan Pancakes are a family favorite and the Bacon Buttermilk Pancakes make a star appearance.
There are many delicious waffles to choose from as well, and a French Toast made of thick slices of real French bread laced with powdered sugar, amaretto and cream. If you like something a bit different, be assured that the crepes are some of the very best in town—three big, delicate crepes with buttery brown edges rolled around peach compote, blackberries, Swedish lingonberries, or the decadent tart-sweet cherries in Danish Kiafa wine, all topped with a snowy mound of real whipped cream made fresh for each order—forget the Cool Whip!
The juices here are all house-made from fresh-squeezed oranges or grapefruits—seven oranges in every glass-- and the Royal Cup Coffee comes with little pitchers of thick cream.
Bob’s Red Mill steel-cut oatmeal makes a tasty and satisfying repast on its own--add the real cream, brown sugar, sliced bananas, or other fruit and chopped walnuts to create your own unique bowl.
The breads deserve special mention—in fact, they are one of the reasons I keep coming back: dense, delicately chewy, yeasty, the whole grain wheat and Italian rye are superb and make a perfect accompaniment to any meal.
Omelets here may catch you by surprise if you come looking for the usual thin, flat style with a few veggies tucked inside—each of these beauties is made with five eggs, clarified butter and a dash of pancake batter, then tucked in the oven to create a huge, puffy delight stuffed with fresh sautéed spinach or mushrooms, peppers or onions, melted cheeses or diced meats, and topped off with a distinctive sherry-flavored gravy that’ll have you licking the plate clean.
Recently Brian has expanded the already generous menu with new egg dishes, roasted pork steaks, a juicy Reuben created with that perfect European rye bread, and new salad combinations such as the Spinach Strawberry served with toasted pecans, bleu cheese crumbles and lemon poppy-seed dressing.
Guests rave over the old-fashioned goodness of the thick-cut bacon and smoked beef sausage, and their grilled chicken breast has just the right amount of herbal twist.
The Original Pancake House, open 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch is now serving dinner Thursday through Saturday and Brian welcomes any suggestions for additions to the menu such as a Shrimp n’ Grits in Gravy or a wider variety of salads.
Kids have their own special menu to pick from and vegetarians will find ample choices to tickle their palate, such as the luscious, fluffy omelets or the exciting variety of pancakes made with a special sourdough starter—the light, airy, fine-textured goodness beguiles any appetite and gluten-free dishes are also available.
I’ve always been impressed by the friendly, chatty staff, the kind attention given to each order and the clean, bright look of the place. Sunday mornings are always packed and they open each day at 6:30 a.m. to feed early-risers.
Whether it’s old favorites like the Dutch Baby pancake served with lemon & powdered sugar or the new crab cake specials, The Original Pancake House now serves up their nationally acclaimed recipes with their own unique style from breakfast til dinnertime!