One of my favorite things to do before going on a road trip is look for restaurants in the area. I have a very particular set of requirements so it’s good to be proactive. If we’re going to a bigger city, I will for sure look for vegan joints but small towns have me looking for the greasy spoon time capsules. If a review is bad because the place is outdated, it goes on the list.
If it’s quirky or novel, borderlining on roadside attraction, here comes Erin. (See: Mr. Happy and Pal’s!)
These are the very important duties I task myself with, in case you were wondering what I do when I’m not getting yelled at by attorneys at work or walking my feet off because I’m a slave to my step goal.
So when I came across Mr. Pancake, housed in a structure shaped like a river boat and family-owned dating back to the 60s, I refused to leave Wisconsin Dells until we ate there.
Especially after watching some local news story from 12 years ago highlighting the breakfast spot loved by tourists and locals alike.
That clip of the food-faced bitch getting floaters all up in her apple juice made me dry heave though.
But I was otherwise reminding Henry by way of FACE-SCREAM that we were going to eat at Mr. Pancake and he was like “ok” while pushing past me to finish his chores and Chooch would just curtly say, “I don’t know what that means” and then acted like it was NEWS TO HIM when we drove past it yesterday while going to our hotel.
Anyway, we almost had to scrap the plan because they’re only open until noon so we would have had to go Sunday morning except that we still need to drive to Chicago-ish to go to Six Flags and prefer to get to new-to-us parks when they open because we’re always on a mission, you know.
I’m sure Henry and Chooch were less then thrilled with my declaration that we’d just have to leave the hotel earlier than intended and get to Mr. Pancake as soon as they opened at 7.
We were the first ones here! We arrived at 6:53 and Henry was like I AM NOT SITTING IN THIS PARKING LOT IT WILL MAKE THE WAITSTAFF NERVOUS so we had to drive around the still-sleeping Dells. When we got back at 6:58, the lot was still empty and I told Henry to park right next to the door and he was like I AM NOT PARKING THERE I WILL PARK OVER HERE AWAY FROM THE BUILDING. What a weirdo.
Then I got out and ran over to the door but the CLOSED sign was still up even though it was now exactly 7 so I got nervous but JUST THEN the hostess came over and flipped the sign while smiling at me through the window of the door.
I ran back down the steps and yelled, “SHE CHANGED THE SIGN TO OPEN!” to Chooch who was like “yes I know I’m standing right here, I saw, you’re so annoying.”
MR PANCAKE SELFIE! WE WERE THE FIRST PATRONS! Our waitress’s name was Paula and she was amazing and really helped us navigate the tricky menu.
(It was not tricky but she still held our hands and promised us that we would never walk alone while in her care.)
(Fine. She didn’t hold our hands but her soothing tone implied that was spiritually braiding her fingers into ours while leading us down a path of tulip petals and housemade maple cinnamon syrup.)
FIRST ONES BEST ONES!
Chooch is in the Blocking His Face From Mommy’s Camera stage of his life.
You guys!! I got a blueberry waffle which came with lemon butter! When Paula checked in on us later, I blurted out with such urgency that her face flashed with alarm, “I didn’t know the butter was going to be lemony!” But then I gushed, “I love it!” so her face relaxed into her standard cheerful Wisconsin visage and she proudly declared that it’s made in house. JUST LIKE THE SYRUP.
A few years, two bitches from some local supper club took the reins of Mr. Pancake from the family who had been running it since the 60s. The history on the website says that they kept the OG recipes but added some stuff to the menu and I told Henry I bet the BARISTA section of the menu and the fancy house made butters and syrups were their doing. But for some reason I said it is a disparaging, snippy tone like these uppity supper club broads were really leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth for literally no concrete reason that I can give you to back up my intentions. Sometimes I JUST BE LIKE THAT.
Anyway, I also had my eyes on the Iowa Corn Pancakes (?!?!?!) because they were filled with corn and corn meal!! But I cannot eat three pancakes and there was no down-sizing option. However, Henry got an omelet which came with two pancakes and Paula said that he could substitute any of the specialty pancakes for a small upcharge so I told him to get the corn ones and he did and they were SO GOOD. Actual corn kernels plopped out when he cut into them. I mean, it wasn’t like a pouch of corn cooked into the cakes but more so just interspersed throughout. I love corn stuff, especially when it’s surprise corn like in Korea, where they love to sneak handfuls of kernels in where you’d least suspect it, like pizza and lattes.
음ㅁㅁㅁㅁ, 옥수수 🌽.
By the time we left, Mr. Pancake had filled up with patrons filling up on carbs before a day of water-parking, including a family with a really fucking bratty toddler that proceeded to scream its face off immediately upon being seated and at one point the mom yelled YOURE BEING BAD and I am going to start publicly calling Chooch out for being bad too. It’s what he deserves.
Mr. Pancake gets an A- from me though because I didn’t like their souvenir T-shirts and they didn’t have coffee cups for sale!! I would have bought one for sure. They should make white ones with a red outline of the Mr. Pancake river boat thing.