Here are 11 places around Phoenix to find great pancakes — some of them plain, some of them fancy, all of them great.
Chase’s Diner2040 North Alma School Road, Chandler
For a simple, straight-up stack of classic, diner-style pancakes, hit the counter at Chase's Diner. These housemade buttermilk pancakes are grilled and beloved, and come with two eggs any style, and either bacon or sausage if you go for the combo. Pancake options are classic buttermilk, multigrain, pecan, and the monthly special (previous flavors have included pumpkin and carrot cake).
Heart and Soul Cafe4705 East Carefree Highway, #117, Cave Creek
This cute cafe with a '57 Chevy in the middle of the room (and a dining table in the middle of the Chevy) offers plain pancakes in a classic breakfast combo plus a handful of fancy pancake options. Heart and Soul's Bacon Blue Pancakes are just blueberry pancakes with crispy bacon added to the batter, but they're so much better than that sounds, contrasting the plump sweetness of blueberries against the salty crunch of bacon. Just as good (and maybe better, depends on the day) are the Granola Raspberry pancakes, filled with tart-sweet raspberries and topped with a bit of granola for crunch.
Matt's Big BreakfastMultiple Locations
Matt and Erenia Pool call their pancakes "griddlecakes," but it's easy to love these fluffy, golden-brown cakes by any name. Matt's Big Breakfast's pancakes are made from scratch and mixed by hand, using cage-free eggs. These faintly sweet fat boys are topped with sweet cream butter and 2 ounces of Vermont grade A maple syrup — a real plate-load of goodness for under $10. And, of course, breakfast is served all day.
Butterfield's Pancake House & Restaurant7388 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale
At this old-school, slightly kitschy breakfast restaurant (where the light soffets on the ceiling look like waffles), pancakes come in just about every possible permutation — buttermilk, wheat, gluten-free, banana, pecan, blueberry, strawberry, chocolate chip, wildberry, protein power, and even Oreo Cookie S'mores. For a change-up on the good old American pancake, try Butterfield's Swedish, a lace-edged, crepe-like cake, dusted with powdered sugar, and given a dollop of wild Swedish lingonberry sauce smack in the middle. So light but so luscious a side of butter seems completely superfluous.
St. FrancisMultiple Locations
You have to wait for St. Francis' weekend brunch (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) to get a crack at the Iron Skillet Pancake, moistened with extra virgin olive oil and baked in the wood-burning oven until its edges are crisped and slightly charred. Topped with caramelized apples, pure maple syrup, and whipped butter, this is dessert, not breakfast. But we're guessing you won't have a problem with that.
Wildflower Bread CompanyMultiple Locations
These cheery, bread-centric, fast-casuals with multiple locations keep up with trends, turning out a petite stack of light, airy lemon ricotta pancakes to rival any in town. At Wildflower Bread Company, you get a fragrant whiff of lemon the instant the plate is set down and tart hints of the fruit in every bite. Sided with butter, maple syrup (which tastes like brown sugar, and that's not a complaint), and blueberry compote, these babies are small but oh so effective.
Daily DoseMultiple Locations
Matt and JenLyn Long's sophisticated three-squares restaurants do a great job with pancakes. At Daily Dose, select your favorite batter (buttermilk, honey whole wheat, or gluten-free) then pick a topping or try them naked. But we recommend the mixed berry protein cakes — or wheat batter stuffed with banana, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, toasted almonds, and high-protein flax granola. Each heavy plate comes with your choice of sides like fruit, brown sugar oats, or DD hash (as if you needed the extra carbs).
The Original Pancake House6840 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
Over the many years this retro coffee shop with butter-toned walls and aqua booths has been cranking out breakfast, much has been made of the apple pancake. And rightly so. It takes 30 to 45 minutes to bake (far less if you get there before the crowds hit); it's a sugar bomb like no other, and it probably clocks in at something like 20,000 calories. In other words, this Original Pancake House dish is an item for your culinary bucket list — a sweet, custard-like concoction vaguely reminiscent of a tarte tatin, thanks to the pretty overlay of caramelized apples.
Breakfast ClubMultiple Locations
These upscale breakfast spots are all about options, offering buttermilk pancakes is served with a dusting of powdered sugar and Grade A Amber maple syrup. But when it comes to dessert-style pancakes, Breakfast Club doesn't fool around, offering '60s-era dessert classics — Bananas Foster. Need a more modern stack? Try the lemon and poppyseed with a sweet-cream whip and citrusy white chocolate.
Snooze an A.M. EateryMultiple Locations
Breakfast doesn't get more faux midcentury than at Snooze, a Denver-based breakfast and brunch chain with several locations in metro Phoenix (and growing). Diners can look forward to a retro-modern design, perks like free coffee, and an extensive menu of pancakes. Think blueberry Danish, pineapple upside-down, sweet potato, and chocolate chip varieties (and vegan too). Plus seasonal specials like red velvet and caramel pecan roll. And if you decide, you know there's a pancake flight (or, at least now you do).
The Lola6770 North Sunrise Boulevard, #109, Glendale
Any good brunch will feature mimosas and pancakes, and both can be found at The Lola inside the Westgate Entertainment District in the west Valley. Ever hear of a pancake board? You can put your curiosity to rest by ordering over this impressive dish, packed with a dozen small pancakes and a ton of sweet and savory toppings and seasonal fruit. It serves two to three people but would probably go a lot farther if you join it with some hearty morning cocktails.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on March 25, 2013. It was updated on February 16, 2021.