Tag Archives: pancake pantry

Pancake Pantry: Worth the Wait?

16 Jan Uncle Buck Pancakes

I can’t write a Nashville brunch blog without mentioning our city’s most iconic breakfast spot: The Pancake Pantry.

Pancake Pantry, Nashville

Most people know one thing about Pancake Pantry: There’s always a line. This is almost true. If you go there on the weekend between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., there will be a long line snaking down Hillsboro, filled primarily with tourists and hungover Vandy/Belmont students.

Is it worth the wait? Some say yes, I say… be deliberate about your timing. If you are willing to sacrifice normal brunching hours, you can enjoy the best pancakes in Music City without having to wait in line. Either go at 7 or 8 a.m., or get there at 2:30 or 3 in the afternoon (my personal preference – hey, that’s what Sundays are for). The problem with going early is that by the time you leave, there is guaranteed to be a line, thus it feels like you’re rushed. If you go late (more like 3:30 when they close at 4), then you feel guilty about keeping the waitstaff there. But I still think it’s worth it not to wait in line. In fact, I refuse to wait in line, and even with a pancake-obsessed boyfriend, if we see a line, it’s not like there’s only one spot serving breakfast food in Hillsboro Village – we’ll just go to Jackson’s or Bosco’s, both have delicious brunches themselves.

Now, brunch usually requires mimosas or bloody marys to be decadent enough to be considered “brunch” and not “breakfast” – but I’m giving Pancake Pantry a pass on this one. Their menu of light, fluffy, delicious pancakes goes to such great heights that I consider it an indulgence even without the booze. Sure, their coffee is diner-quality, but in an age of local/pricy Bongo Java and Drew’s Brews, it’s kind of welcome that they haven’t changed with the times. (I’m pretty sure some of their servers have been working there since it opened 50 years ago.) Plus, this place is all about the pancakes. And the giant slab of butter on every plate rivals that of the pancake scene in Uncle Buck (click to view the clip).

Uncle Buck Pancakes

The first rule of Pancake Pantry is to make sure someone at your table orders one of the pancake varieties that comes with cinnamon cream syrup. This is the sugary equivalent of crack, or so I imagine, and I could eat it with a spoon. Usually I order the sugar and spice pancakes, which are cinnamon pancakes sprinkled with powdered sugar, but the crack syrup also comes with sweet potato pancakes (my alternate) or the French toast (but who orders French toast at the Pancake Pantry?).

If you’re allergic to cinnamon or want something a little different, they have a number of fruity options (not to be confused with IHOP’s Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n Fruity), including Caribbean, peach, blueberry, raspberry, orange/walnut and even Swedish pancakes with lingonberry. The buckwheat or cornmeal pancakes are good for the illusion of being more nutritious, but I rarely ever stray from one of the options that comes with the real thing.

caribbean pancakes at Pancake Pantry

Not to say that their other menu items aren’t worth trying. Ty has ordered pigs in a blanket before, which is, yes, sausage links wrapped with pancakes. I always get the hashbrowns, which are the cubed-and-crispy variety – one $3 order is enough to feed two or three people. They also have bacon, country ham, eggs, etc., and a lot of the egg dishes come with a side of their classic pancakes, so you can’t go wrong there.

The last thing to note about Pancake Pantry is that you almost always see a local celebrity gorging on pancakes at the table next to you. I’m horrible at recognizing country stars, but we’ve seen a Wooten brother or two several times, along with a few Titans players with their families. It’s always good to know that no matter who you are, there’s nothing like a $7 butter-laden, syrup-smothered pancake meal from the Pancake Pantry.

Location: 1796 21st. Ave. S. in Hillsboro Village (look for the line)

Sign photo courtesy of Flickr user afagen
Caribbean pancakes photo courtesy of Flickr user toastforbrekkie