Breakfast makes me happy. It reminds me of weekends at home with my family, when I was a kid and my parents cooked, and later as a young woman living with my friends when breakfast was all we could cook. Then later still with my own kids, when pancakes were for dinner and the smell of sizzling bacon and sausages was absolutely the only thing that would wake them up and get them out of their pits in the mornings.
So finding a place that was worth all the effort of pulling myself together just enough for public viewing, getting dressed without dressing up, if you know what I mean, is really pretty much the holy grail if I’m honest.
Well… I’m very happy to announce that I think I have actually found it.
The Pancake Factory on Laurel Canyon and Victory, a little outside of NoHo, but that can be a huge bonus when you are meeting friends or family, plenty of places to park!
In what was once the local Ihop, The Pancake Factory is a newly and lovingly refurbished. The original owners of the Ihop decided to make a change and strike out on their own… and with pretty with spectacular results.
The food is honest, delicious, all home made, with high grade and really excellent ingredients, and it’s all cooked to perfection. The menu is mostly breakfast or brunch items, omelettes, breakfast platters, french toasts and many, many different types of pancakes. Try the cinnamon swirl, your head will explode with delight!
The portions are huge, in fact, you can easily split orders, and the sides, pancakes or french toast with every meal, are plentiful and really, really good. You may have cravings, be forewarned!
It’s a family restaurant, there can be no doubt, but what is it that defines a great family restaurant?
Many places claim to be, with their roomy booths and large tables and crayons for the kids, but I think a really great family restaurant needs much more than that. A really great ‘family’ restaurant has a menu large enough to please every finicky pallet, smiley understanding staff happy to accommodate your sprawling rabble, full of advice about what best to order, and of course it must have great food, but not just great, it must have food that makes you feel at home, comfort food, food served on big platters, food that makes you cheer when it arrives. A really great family restaurant must be all these things and more.
The Pancake Factory is just such a place.
This restaurant is not for the faint of heart, this is where you go when you are very hungry…there is a reason why every time I am there it’s busy. Weekdays, weekends, early morning or later at night, it’s always full of happy, well-satisfied people. Although I have never had to wait longer then five minutes, it’s a pretty big dining room, and everyone gets their food very quickly. I can only imagine that the kitchen must be chock full of cooks, all in some kind of perfectly coordinated culinary cha cha cha, turning out these sublime and satisfying dishes.
Most of the staff have been there as long as the owners have, 20 years or more, in the restaurant's first incarnation as an Ihop. The owner, Dale, can often be found still amongst the tables, doing magic tricks for the kids, or just happily eating his own food in his own very special place.
This is a very special place. No matter my mood it always seems to cheer me up, especially when I get the bill…which is always a pleasant surprise. The menu is very reasonable indeed, and did I mention the portions!? The coffee is hot and plentiful and if you don’t fancy breakfast there are some really excellent salads, over flowing with avocados and sweet tomatoes and crunchy farm fresh lettuce. The sliders are fantastic too, and huge. They have wonderful breakfast combo specials all week long, you’ll never get bored that’s for sure!
So if you have a hankering for a comfy booth, a welcoming smile and enough food for now, later and a midnight snack, do yourself a very big favor and give The Pancake Factory a visit. I promise this will be your new breakfast destination, whatever time of day it is!