The holiday we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Yes, today is National Pancake Day. Venture out from that Bisquick mix and all cardboard imitations of pancakes and explore the Madison pancake scene. Take a look at these featured spots and realize there’s certainly no shortage of quality cakes in this town.
The Banana Wheat Pancakes at Sunroom Cafe would make Jack Johnson proud. The dish was recently featured in Madison Magazine’s 13 Tastiest Pancakes list, and with good reason. These pancakes are freaking delicious. Don’t go in expecting the typical light, fluffy sweet pancakes though, as these are dense and hearty and sure fill you up. The cakes themselves aren’t exactly sweet, but the huge slices of warmed banana interspersed throughout the batter make up for it. No syrup necessary.
Hefty, hefty, hefty. Portions, that is. When you’re looking for yummy, cheap food in massive quantities, Mickies Dairy Bar is the place to go. The pancakes are monstrous and delicious, but it’s their Griddle Cake that is dangerously addictive. Stuffed with oatmeal, apples, raisins and cinnamon, this is one hella good pancake. My relationship with this cake is a tough one that’s cost me normal blood sugar levels and, more importantly, friendships. Eating off the plate of my dear comrades who had themselves ordered the pancake has led to bitter disputes that never end smoothly. But the contentment I extract from each forkful of cinnamon-laden, syrup-drenched pancake makes up for all the troubles.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the Cottage Cheese Pancakes at Sophia’s Bakery & Cafe are an absolute must-try. The cottage cheese results in an incredibly moist and tender cake that makes these pancakes nothing short of amazing. Seriously, once you’ve had a taste of cottage cheese pancakes there is no turning back. They are intensely crave-worthy. Next thing you know, you’ll find yourself at an IHOP, crying at the inadequacy of what is now a clearly substandard pancake. Sophia’s is the pinnacle of pancake goodness that, once experienced, will be impossible to erase from memory. Be warned.
While ingenuity is appreciated, it’s oftentimes best to abide by the classics. And it doesn’t get much more classic than a big ass plate of Chocolate Chip Pancakes at Willalby’s Cafe on Willy Street. This hole-in-the-wall diner kills it in terms of cheap, no frills breakfast fare. It’s safe to order just one pancake here because it’ll come out the size of your head, plus some. The Chocolate Chip Pancake is necessary — an ordinary pancake will not do. The generous portion of chocolate will softly melt into the thin, dense cake in a way that will make you smile. Then add to this beautiful creation a massive amount of fluffy whipped cream, soft butter and just enough syrup to the point where your pancake is drowning in glorious calories. That is happiness on a plate right there.
The eternal dilemma arises — to eat healthy or give into the need to stuff your face with pancakes. At Manna Cafe & Bakery it’s possible to do both. Feast on the Collins House Oatmeal Pancakes, their signature dish that’s delicious and doesn’t completely undo hours at the gym. With a word like “oatmeal” in the title, these cakes are obviously the epitome of quality nutrition. The texture of these cakes is insane. They remain moist, yet have a fantastic bite to them, thanks to the oats. There’s also a slightly nutty quality to them despite the absence of nuts. Very delicious and certainly unique.
Excellence dwells within Marigold Kitchen. It sets itself apart from other breakfast places by keeping up with Madison’s lovely tendency towards fresh, quality ingredients. The way these fresh ingredients are blended together is what makes for an always wondrous breakfast experience. The flavor profiles of all of their dishes are a notch or two above your traditional breakfast fare. And in terms of pancakes, this is the place to be. They have a rotating assortment of specials, so there’s always a new cake to dabble with. A few of their recent features include: Chocolate Zucchini, Buckwheat Banana and Strawberry Rhubarb Custard Pancakes. Despite the ever-changing variety, the pancakes are fluff-tastic each time and served with a light, fragrant orange butter/syrup that takes the cakes over the top. Absolute heaven on a plate.