Visited: Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at 7:30 a.m.
I write about a lot of topics these days on Breakfast With Nick – coffee, beer, travel, meals other than breakfast (gasp) – but it’s still written in my DNA to seek out those early morning spots, to explore the hidden gems, the strip mall finds, the breakfast places with little online presence. That’s what really makes Breakfast With Nick fun – this is why I started the blog originally, to document discoveries in breakfast and brunch across Columbus.
So while I’m not the one to “discover” The Pancake House in Lewis Center, my visit there still bore the hallmarks of an exciting breakfast adventure, and served as a reminder of why I do this.
The names here will get confusing, so let’s be up front:
- The Pancake House = a local family-owned breakfast diner with locations on Schrock Road in Westerville (where we had a so-so breakfast back in 2017) and this location in Lewis Center, which opened in 2019.
- The Original Pancake House = a local family-owned franchise of a successful breakfast chain originating in Portland, Oregon. They have locations in Upper Arlington on Lane Avenue and in Westerville off Polaris Parkway.
That clears it up, right? Both worthy, pancake-centric spots with their own strengths.
I went into this visit, to the Lewis Center location of The Pancake House, not sure what to expect. I had driven past the space dozens of times, but really hadn’t heard anything about it.
The Pancake House Lewis Center sits on the corner of a strip mall on Powell Road, west of the main drag of Polaris Fashion Place. It’s decorated simply like a classic American diner, with a big, open kitchen, plenty of booths and tables, and rows of windows.
As you’d expect from the name, pancakes are the main feature on the menu. You can order a stack of buttermilk flapjacks, but also have the choice of cornmeal, buckwheat, or flavored pancakes – blueberry, strawberry, cinnamon roll, cookies and cream, churro, Nutella and bananas.
The menu is rounded out with plenty of savory options: omelets, breakfast sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, skillets, corned beef hash, country fried steak. And the sweets don’t stop with pancakes: there’s French toast, waffles, and crepes.
But the real surprise, and what really makes The Pancake House a winner, is a specialty brunch menu (served any time) featuring unique finds like breakfast tamales, a Venezuelan brunch, huevos rancheros, chicken and waffles.
My brother-in-law and I order a healthy variety from the menu: corned beef hash and a side of chorizo for him; the Venezuelan brunch and a cinnamon roll pancake for me.
TL;DR: High marks all around.
The corned beef hash was spot-on: diced finely with potatoes, given a lovely brown crust on the flattop.
Kudos to the hash browns as well. I pick hash browns any day over home fries. Better texture.
They make their own chorizo, too. Fantastic texture and spice, served with diced tomatoes and onions. We got it as a side, but you can order it as a scramble.
I had to try at least one pancake at The Pancake House. I asked the server for her favorite, and she said the cinnamon roll pancake is a top seller. It’s fluffy and golden brown, swirled with cinnamon sugar and topped with scoop of cream cheese butter. It wasn’t cloyingly sweet, but you almost didn’t need the syrup.
My main meal was the Venezuelan brunch: two house-made arepas (little fried cornmeal pockets), two eggs, shredded stewed beef, black beans, and cheese. The arepas were a tad dense and dry, but they helpfully cut slits into the cornmeal pockets so you could stuff them with beans, meat, cheese. Seasoning was good all-around, and it made for a flavorful, filling, and hard-to-find breakfast.
The Pancake House is also home to Gelatolicious, a small gelato shop run by the family. It’s served from a separate counter tucked near the front. Our server dropped off the coffee and ice cream menu, too, from which you can order espresso drinks, shakes, floats – even an affogato mixing espresso and gelato.
There’s no doubt we’ll be back to The Pancake House soon. The service is warm and welcoming, the space is ideal for big groups and small, and the menu features well-made breakfasts with several items you don’t really find elsewhere.