Here's Where Perkins Got Its Pancake Recipe

There are few chain restaurants that demonstrate our hearty appetite for breakfast food quite like Perkins Restaurant & Bakery. If you've ever dined at a Perkins outlet, you may be able to understand how it earned its following for its classic buttermilk pancakes, drool-worthy pies, and homestyle cooking. 

While Perkins' pillowy pancakes are still one of its claims to fame, the business has evolved over the years to become the casual all-day restaurant it is today. According to the website, the chain now has 300 locations in 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Plus, it recently launched Bakery by Perkins, a virtual kitchen that delivers the restaurant's signature pies and other baked goods through third-party apps (via Restaurant Business). It has clearly come a long way from its early days as a pancake house, when it served unlikely pancake combinations like flapjacks and curried tuna! Though pancakes are a key part of Perkins' history, the origins of its buttery hotcakes might surprise you. 

Perkins got its pancake recipe from a different restaurant

You might expect that a restaurant called Perkins was originally started by someone with that name. Yes, the Perkins brothers, Mat and Ivan, are the ones responsible for opening Perkins Pancake House (as it was originally called) in Ohio and introducing its signature pancakes to the state. However, Funding Universe reports that we actually have a man named William Smith to thank for that original fluffy pancake recipe. Before the Perkins brothers opened Perkins in Ohio, Smith opened a pancake house called Smitty's in Seattle, Washington, in 1957. The following year, the Perkins duo "adopted Smith's recipes" and used them to open their own breakfast-focused restaurant in Cincinnati. 

Perkins and Smitty's continued to serve similar food but operated completely separately throughout the mid- to late 1900s. Thanks, in part, to Smith's recipes, the Perkins brothers flourished, soon offering more than two dozen kinds of pancakes and waffles on the menu, according to the website. Though burgers, savory dinner items, and famous pies have arrived on the Perkins scene since then, it all began with some darn good pancakes more than 60 years ago.