The Absolute Best Pancakes In The U.S.

Do you eat breakfast every day? If a full spread of America's favorite breakfast foods was laid out in front of you, which would you put on your plate first and why? If you choose pancakes, they should be absolutely perfect with a nicely bronzed toasting on their outer layer and a steamy, fluffy center. Hopefully, they're not made from a manufactured boxed pancake mix and are the real deal because that's the only way to enjoy them. Pancakes don't need to be complicated — they can be consumed plain, slathered with butter, or drenched in pure maple syrup. Fresh fruits and powdered sugar are other common toppings that also make for a pretty and colorful presentation. According to The List, nut butter, cheeses, and eggs can top off your morning stack and provide additional nutrition.

Not only do the following restaurants offer up some of the most unique flavor combinations for their pancakes, but they all have worked hard to accomplish their best pancakes through long-cherished family recipes and no-frills dining experiences. Each cake that pops off the sizzling griddles and into a hungry diner's mouth has a history behind it that makes it something special to savor. These places are also beloved in their communities, having a magical ability to bring people together, as was the case recently for one neighborhood in San Francisco (via Today). Here are 15 of the absolute best pancake restaurants you can find in the United States.

Dor-Stop Restaurant - Dormont, Pennsylvania

When you walk into the Dor-Stop Restaurant in Dormont, Pennsylvania (a south suburb of Pittsburgh), you're greeted with a whirlwind of sweet and savory aromas of the fresh breakfast ingredients wafting from the back griddles. One of those meals in production is their World Famous Hot Cakes, which you can't possibly ignore. They're thick and fluffy with a perfect cake-like texture. And they're huge. The Dor-Stop is a local family business that's been dishing out homemade diner food since 1986 (via The Dor-Stop Restaurant).

On their menu, their World Famous Hot Cakes are offered in several delicious, sweet, and seasonal flavors, including apple cinnamon, banana chocolate chip, walnut, and blueberry. From what CBS Pittsburgh reports, the Dor-Stop uses three variations of pancake batter: plain, pumpkin, and oatmeal-based. These batters are used to create all of the other flavor variations that are available year-round. Sometimes they mix it up, depending on the season, by creating limited-time flavors like strawberry chocolate chip pancakes, which they have promoted on their Facebook page. The flavorful pancakes feature hearty chunks of fruit cooked in the batter with chocolate chips in every, melt-in-your-mouth bite. A dusting of powdered sugar is sprinkled on top. The hotcakes were remarkable enough to be featured on the fifth season of Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" (via Good Food Pittsburgh).

The Pancake Place - Green Bay, Wisconsin

Operating as a family business for the past 40 years, The Pancake Place in Green Bay, Wisconsin is committed to providing the best breakfast in town when it opens its doors at 5 a.m. every day (via Eat Pancake Place). According to Elite Sports Tours, The Pancake Place represents what the city of Green Bay stands for — community. That's something hard to find these days in corporate-standard establishments. It's even represented in the tagline of their business, "Family Dining."

Its menu is extensive, which dedicates two full pages to its breakfast offerings. The current menu lists over a dozen different flavors of homemade pancakes that are as big as the plates they're served on. Some of the exclusive pancake flavors include cranberry and apple cinnamon, banana split, and Hawaiian, which feature ham and pineapple. Each stack is paired with the classic pancake must-haves such as whipped butter and maple syrup. Patrons can also add extra toppings of strawberry or raspberry if they'd like (via The Pancake Place menu).

In 2021, The Pancake Place was recognized as the No. 1 Best Breakfast, Best Brunch, and Best Family Establishment by the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Reader's Choice Best of the Bay. It came in as a runner-up in other categories, including No. 3 for Best Overall Restaurant in the city.

Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe - Chicago

One of the hottest breakfast spots in Chicago, Illinois is Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe. It's proud to use its own recipes and fresh ingredients to create meals that are bursting with a range of flavors. The cafe has been serving up homemade pancakes since it began operation in 2004 and currently has four locations across the Chicago area (via Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe). The menu for the restaurant in Prudential Plaza lists a wealth of specialty pancakes including flavors such as cinnamon roll, banana coconut cream, and Signature Berry Bliss which features a sweet filling of berry mascarpone and is topped with a mound of fresh berries. Each one sounds more like a dessert than a breakfast dish, but there's no room for judgments—just make room for more pancakes!

The owners, George Archos and Kevin Bethyo, initially created the restaurant to bring the best breakfast to the Chicago suburb of Libertyville. They built their business based on a mutual love for the early morning meal, which they felt was often overlooked. If you ask for their favorite breakfast, you'll get homemade pancakes with plenty of fresh berries, which are written across their menus (via Chicago Tribune). A restaurant that was established on a love of pancakes is guaranteed to dish out only the most drool-worthy creations. Just ask any of the whopping 42,000 customers who have checked in via their Facebook page.

Snooze - Denver

If you're from Denver or if you've ever visited the capital of Colorado, it would be impossible to have not heard about Snooze, An A.M. Eatery. It's a Denver-based breakfast chain that opened in 2006 and has aimed to set themselves apart from others by what's served on their plates and by what they dish out within their communities through sales donations and recycling efforts (via Snooze Eatery).

The eatery offers all of your buttermilk favorites with flavors like blueberry and chocolate chip. If you dare to be different, you can opt for the Blueberry Danish pancakes that feature a sweet lemon filling and a crumbly almond streusel topping with blueberry sauce. If you want to take it a step further, they feature limited-time specialty pancakes, such as Graceland Pancakes, at their newer Atlanta location. These are inspired by Elvis Presley's favorite peanut butter sandwich — the pancake batter is infused with bananas, then topped with a layer of peanut butter-flavored cream, caramel drizzle, and real bacon bits (via WSB-TV). In honor of the Atlanta opening, Snooze raised money for local nonprofit organizations and donated over $8,000 from their community breakfast events.

On National Pancake Day, Snooze celebrates with special, week-long pancake flavors and donates 100% of their pancake sales to nonprofit gardens (via San Diego Union-Tribune). It also gives pancake breakfasts as part of other fundraising events. What's not great about a stack of pancakes that make a positive impact on our world?

The Pancake Pantry - Nashville

The Pancake Pantry has been operating in Nashville, Tennessee since 1961 and has always used closely-held family recipes. The founder, Robert Baldwin, began teaching his son David the ins and outs of the business starting when David was only 10 years old. With such an early start, David led the restaurant into the success that it is today. Though he sold the business in 2017, according to The Pancake Pantry's website, David was responsible for first sourcing local flours from eastern Tennessee, which gave their pancakes a wholesome, local flair. The new owners continue with this tradition today.

At the end of 2021, they opened their second location, this time in downtown Nashville, a few miles away from their original Hillsboro Village place. Either one is the best spot in Music City to get a stack of fluffy pancakes. According to WSMV, the restaurant is known for long lines of hungry patrons who are willing to wait for their fix, but the second location will help get them in the doors faster.

Their pancake batters, fruit preservatives, and syrups are made fresh from scratch every day. On The Pancake Pantry menu, you'll have many choices from Old Fashioned Buttermilk pancakes "made from flour milled in the smokies (mountains)", sweet potato with a cinnamon cream syrup, pecan, and more. They also have a series of rolled pancakes that star a trio of classic buttermilk cakes with fruit fillings and toppings. They currently offer them in flavors Georgia peach, cherry, raspberry, and strawberry.

The Hudson Cafe - Detroit

Just prior to the beginning of Detroit, Michigan's revival, the Hudson Cafe popped up downtown on Woodward Avenue in 2011. It was perfect timing, as it has proven to be an important asset to the city's rapidly growing food scene. Its name was inspired by the former Detroit-famous J.L. Hudson Department Store that was the pride and joy of a once world-class city. The Hudson Cafe's goal has been to pay tribute to the city's past while contributing to a flourishing future. 

Known as a popular brunch spot in Detroit, the restaurant's pancakes are a hard-to-miss menu staple. They're thick, decadent, and stacked high with multiple layers. Patrons have many distinctive flavors to choose from. There's red velvet and Cinnabunn that are both topped with a cream cheese frosting, and there's Chunky Monkey which is prepared with banana slices in the batter, caramel, and white chocolate chips (via Only In Your State). The menu on The Hudson Cafe's website currently lists four varieties of crepes, which is arguably a much thinner type of pancake.

In 2021, the restaurant was rated as the No. 1 pancake spot by Secret Detroit for the premium quality and taste of both their original flavored pancakes and more eccentric flavors. It's a well-deserved honor for the best pancakes in Motown.

Sugar n' Spice Diner - Cincinnati

Why change something that doesn't need to be fixed? For over 80 years, this family-owned restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Sugar n' Spice Diner, has stayed consistent in all of its menu offerings, especially with its breakfast. They're known for their signature Wispy Thin Pancakes (via Eat Sugar n' Spice). They're still thicker than a crepe but their thin structure just makes it more acceptable to stack more on your plate. The Sugar n' Spice menu lists the Wispy Thin Pancakes as available in original flavor, blueberry, chocolate chip, and banana. They're also part of their breakfast special that's served alongside two eggs and the customer's choice of meat. Tripadvisor reviewer Auburnfan76 suggests that no one will leave this restaurant hungry due to the large, flavorful portions.

According to Cincinnati.com's The Enquirer, Sugar n' Spice opened a second location in 2020 in a space that had been previously owned by another old-school diner. The building features a classic stainless steel exterior that gives a serious retro vibe. The interior décor is full-scale 1950s with bright colors, checkered floors, and counter seating. There's even an assortment of rubber ducks sitting everywhere because it's standard that patrons at Sugar n' Spice get a rubber duck with their meal — did we forget to mention that? So when you order a towering stack of melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk Wispy Thin pancakes dripping in maple syrup, you get a cute little rubber duck as a memento. What's not to love about that?

Miss Shirley's Cafe - Baltimore

Miss Shirley's Cafe in Annapolis and Baltimore, Maryland was named as one of Food Network's Best Pancake Restaurants in the country, suggesting the "griddle cakes, packed with raspberries and white chocolate chips" are a surefire way to satisfy your breakfast sweet tooth (via Food Network). Miss Shirley's would describe itself as "upscale-casual," bringing roots of Southern cooking flair to Maryland. The business began in 2005 and was named the restaurant in memory of a beloved friend and colleague who had passed away. It's now an iconic Maryland restaurant, known for its excellence in customer service and top-quality dishes that use the state's seafood and vegetable industries (via Miss Shirley's).

Miss Shirley's Cafe is also known for its incredible pancakes. Apart from their original, homemade buttermilk griddle cakes, Miss Shirley's menu provides an assortment of delicious flavors like pineapple upside down with a cinnamon sauce, red velvet, and their signature cinnamon Danish pancakes with a cream cheese icing. According to The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, the pancakes are "worth the hype" because they're unlike any others you've ever had. The report highlighted the blueberry and white chocolate chip pancakes and the cinnamon Danish. These cakes are even further notable for their massive size and fluffiness and being "creamy and super sweet."

Miss Shirley's Cafe does more for the community than serving the best pancakes. It's also donated meals to feed over 1,000 first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic and delivered more food to hospitals, police and fire departments, military, and others (via WMAR 2 News).

Joey's Pancake House - Maggie Valley, North Carolina

How many people go on vacation and think about work? Maybe more people than they would like to admit, but it was a different situation for Joey and Brenda O'Keefe when they drove through Maggie Valley, North Carolina in 1966. They ended up buying a vacant restaurant space and opening a pancake house that eventually became the best restaurant in town (via Joey's Pancake House). Their homemade pancakes are the heart and soul of the business, and they have more than a dozen specialty flavors on their menu, including Original Golden pancakes, lemon poppy seed, Reese's Pieces, and sausage roll-ups that feature two links of sausage each wrapped in a fluffy original pancake. On the Joey's Pancake online shop, they sell their own original pancake and waffle mix so that customers can recreate the same great breakfast in their kitchens.

The restaurant closed in 2016 after 50 years of serving generations of tourists and passersby in the Smoky Mountains region, as well as the faithful locals. However, Brenda couldn't bring herself to sell her beloved restaurant (Joey had died in 2001) until she found someone who shared the same passion for the place where her family dedicated their careers. She found that same enthusiasm in Roy and Sandra Milling and knew they were the rightful new owners. They reopened Joey's in 2018 and didn't change a thing from how it used to be (via Smoky Mountain News). In 2021, Joey's Pancake House was chosen as Tripadvisor's Traveler's Choice No. 1 restaurant in Maggie Valley.

Bubby's - New York City

It was Thanksgiving Day 1990 when Bubby's was opened in New York City by a baker, Ron Silver, who had worked selling his homemade pies to neighbors and local restaurants. Silver sourced only the freshest ingredients for his made-from-scratch meals from regional farms, creameries, coffee roasters, and orchards (via Bubby's).

The pancakes are the stars of the menu, and Silver shared some of his noteworthy recipe tricks with Forbes in 2021. His inspiration for crafting the perfect pancake came from his culinary hero, James Beard. He changed Beard's original recipe by swapping out some of the milk for sour cream, which has become his iconic, not-so-secret ingredient. He describes the flavor as "a mild tang" that pairs well with "super sweet maple syrup."

Other techniques he's perfected over the years are letting the batter rest before cooking, flipping the pancakes only once, and getting the griddle to just the right temperature, then slathering it in butter so that the pancakes get a nice, crispy exterior that doesn't stick. According to Insider, one of the most significant pancake dishes at Bubby's is the 1890 Sourdough stack that uses an age-old starter batter and is left to ferment for 24 hours, which creates a thin consistency and the most balanced blend of sweet and sour flavors that have ever been in a pancake.

The Griddle Cafe - Los Angeles

As Visit West Hollywood will tell you, Sunset Boulevard is one of the most legendary streets in Los Angeles and perhaps the United States. These days, you'll find the boulevard home to some of the best eats in town, including the best pancakes. The Griddle Cafe was rated by CBS Los Angeles as one of the top restaurants for pancakes in LA, where customers are guaranteed to discover truly "one-of-a-kind pancakes". The restaurant offers pancakes made with frosted flakes cereal mixed in to the batter (called Hear Me Roar) and others enhanced with Baileys and Kahlua liquors — talk about a way to wake up.

You'll find many more enticing pancake flavors on The Griddle Cafe's menu, such as Black Magic pancakes that are infused with crushed Oreos and have a mountain of whipped cream and additional Oreo bits. Further griddle creativity awaits with Selfie on Sunset pancakes that have cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips, and cream cheese. Teachers Pet pancakes feature a filling of cinnamon-baked apples. Weekends are the craziest time for most breakfast establishments, but it takes on a whole new meaning at The Griddle Cafe. As Los Angeles Magazine puts it, it's "bonkers" with patrons filing down Sunset for any of the best pancakes in West Hollywood.

Glo's Cafe - Seattle

Gloreen Raineri opened her diner, Glo's Cafe, in Seattle, Washington in 1987 and has been serving up all of her scrumptious, homemade breakfast classics ever since. While Glo's is known for its traditional eggs benedict dishes, the made-from-scratch buttermilk pancakes cannot be overlooked (via Glo's Cafe). The Daily Hive picked Glo's Cafe as one of the city's seven best restaurants for pancakes in the Seattle area and recommends going straight for the large four-stack because you won't regret it. The Glo's Cafe menu describes their pancake batters as made with "whole eggs, fresh buttermilk, and sweet cream butter." Yelp review by Cecilia B. mentions the pumpkin pancakes, a seasonal specialty, that are "perfectly savory and sweet." They claim that Glo's is worth the wait to get a table.

In 2020, as per their Facebook page, Glo's Cafe participated in a community food program, in which they donated their home-cooked meals to people in need thanks to monetary donations from their loyal customers. They're set to open a new location in the summer of 2022 in the Capitol Hill section of the city. It will provide the beloved cafe the opportunity to expand their business with outside dining space and extensive inside space. Glo's will also add brunch cocktails and new coffee menus to serve alongside their stellar pancakes (via Capitol Hill Seattle).

Magnolia Pancake Haus - San Antonio

A family-owned restaurant that built their business around the promise of "The World's Best Buttermilk Pancakes" has to hold true to their word, right? That's what the Magnolia Pancake Haus in San Antonio, Texas has done since 2000. They strive to provide unique dishes that are made with high-quality, fresh ingredients that keep customers coming back to all three of their current locations (via Magnolia Pancake Haus). According to Magnolia's blog, the restaurant was featured on Food Network's show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" in 2011, and it hosts an annual pancake eating competition. Would you be game for inhaling six hefty buttermilk pancakes with all the fixings to raise money for charity? We are.

The San Antonio Current claims that Magnolia is "no ordinary breakfast joint." They praise the uniqueness and quality of the meals that fly out of the kitchen and the talented chefs who create them. Eating here will make anyone feel stuffed, yet sometimes the eating continues because the food is just too indulgent not to. Magnolia's menu describes their Authentic Munchener Apfel Pfannekuchen, a most distinctive dish, as a mega-fluffy pancake that's cooked with spiced apples and served with European-style whipped cream. They also have options for more health-conscious batters that are made of buckwheat and whole wheat, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Ruby Slipper Cafe - New Orleans

The Ruby Slipper Cafe opened in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2008 with the objective of being a cozy spot where hungry patrons could gather and enjoy a delicious meal. No frills and no fuss — just great food and superior Southern hospitality. Their debut came as the city was continuing work to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina had hit, which represented a significant time in the city's history when communities came together, and helping one another was crucial. This cafe serves brunch all day with meals made from fresh, natural ingredients and even refreshing breakfast cocktails (via The Ruby Slipper Cafe). It currently has additional locations throughout New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well as in Alabama and Florida.

Gulf Coast Blenders rated them as a top brunch spot in all of NOLA. The outlet recommends the bacon praline pancakes that are a divine combination of sweet and savory heaven, the cinnamon swirl pancakes that are comparative to the most decadent cinnamon roll, and a special New Orleans-inspired pancake that is made of white chocolate bread pudding, just like the traditional dessert, doused in a whiskey-based white chocolate sauce. Makeda M. on Yelp confirms that these pancakes make the perfect treat for a well-deserved cheat day.

Polly's Pancake Parlor - Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

When it comes to family-owned establishments, Polly's Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire has an extensive history that spans multiple generations (via Polly's Pancake Parlor). The restaurant was built on land that has been in the same family since the early 1800s. The land was originally used for farming, which was notable for churning out various maple products. In the late 1930s, it only made sense for the Hildex Farm to open a tea room where they would serve pancakes with pure maple syrup.

According to Polly's Pancake Parlor's story, their pancake flavors have expanded over the years to please a wider array of taste buds and attract more customers. Today, the parlor continues to mill their own flour that's used in every pancake, as well as their own freshly-tapped maple syrup to drizzle on top. They use organic grains, such as cornmeal, buckwheat, oatmeal, and more, which are all stone-ground on location.

New England Today Travel ranked Polly's as one of the best pancake houses in New England because of its long-term expertise in crafting a perfect recipe that accomplishes the "thickest, fluffiest pancakes." Roadfood raves about the rustic quality of the pancakes and delish flavor combinations such as blueberry and cornmeal paired with the "clearest and most elegant maple syrup." With so many options in and around this maple syrup-heavy region, Polly's Pancake Parlor is one of the best spots for pancakes and unforgettable breakfast.