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The 15 best pancakes in America

Love your breakfast flat and fluffy? Try the best pancakes in America, from buttermilk pancakes to blueberry and beyond.

By Time Out editors and Patty Lee |
Flapjacks at Gather
Photograph: Anthony Soave Flapjacks at Gather

They go by a lot of names—hot cakes, flapjacks, griddle cakes—but the best pancakes in America have one thing in common: light, fluffy centers that, when done right, can only be described as cloud-like. And damn delicious, of course. From options flecked with chocolate chips to the classic buttermilk variety (and even some health-conscious versions), these takes on the breakfast staple are worthy of a syrup-fueled road trip. If you’re a lover of all things flat and fluffy, hit up these cafés, coffee shops, breakfast restaurants and diners for the best pancakes in America. Follow Time Out USA on Facebook; sign up for the Time Out USA newsletter

Best pancakes in America

Flapjacks at Gather
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Flapjacks at Gather, Chicago, IL

Lincoln Square

Anyone who argues there’s no reason to order plain pancakes at a restaurant when you can easily make them at home hasn’t had the beauties at Gather. So moist, so fluffy, so light—among the best in a city with some serious form when it comes to pancakes.

Magnolia Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Magnolia Café
Restaurants, Cafés

Gingerbread pancakes from Magnolia Café, Austin, TX

South River City

Diners can get their pancake fix 24 hours a day at this popular ATX eatery, where a Christmas-inspired variation graces the menu all year long. Packed with holiday spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and brewed coffee to give it that caramel brown color, the big-as-your-face discs land on tables with a simple pat of butter—no crazy toppings or fanfare necessary.

Hominy Grill
Photograph: Squire Fox

Buttermilk pancakes from Hominy Grill, Charleston, SC

Hominy Grill chef Robert Stehling’s pancake technique is unconventional—instead of a whisk, he folds the batter with a spatula, resulting in a flapjack that’s all at once moist yet light. A trio of flours (all-purpose, whole wheat and cornmeal) lend extra depth to the buttermilk stack, which, like the rest of the menu, is a study in humble Southern charm.

Photograph: Squire Fox
Tom's Restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/
Restaurants, Diners

Lemon ricotta pancakes at Tom’s Restaurant, Brooklyn, NY

Prospect Heights

Not much changes at the perfect pre–Brooklyn Museum eatery, Tom’s: The lemon-ricotta pancakes slathered in a medley of butters are still heavenly, cherry-lime rickeys maintain an old-soda-shoppe allure, and on weekend mornings, a line of hungry diners of all ages—munching on cookies and orange slices proffered by friendly staff, and hankering for those pancakes—stretches around the block.

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Kelly Bone
Polly's Pancake Parlor
Photograph: Courtesy Polly's Pancake Parlor

Cornmeal pancakes from Polly’s Pancake Parlor, Sugar Hill, NH

When pancakes are your namesake, there’s a reputation to live up to—and the flapjack slingers at sprawling mountain lodge Polly’s Pancake Parlor do an especially fine job with their cornmeal variety. Inspired by Johnny cakes, the fluffy three-inch discs get their deep golden color from organic corn flour that’s stone-ground on site. Add-ins like blueberries and chocolate chip are available, but it’s the local New Hampshire maple syrup that takes the (pan)cake.

See the best pancakes by city

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