By Patrick Mares
The first thing that you notice when you walk into The Pancake Place on a Saturday morning is how busy they are. A filled parking lot gives way to a packed waiting area. The restaurant is a consistent winner of the Best in the Bay awards. Upon meeting owner Theresa Barlament, it became obvious the success of the restaurant is no accident. She seems to have a read on everything, whether it’s what the best photo presentation will be for a loaded hash brown or, her researching the latest trends in breakfast.
A recent addition is the Breakfast Burger, which has all the usual toppings, plus a fried egg for some pre-noon sandwich-ing.
Theresa’s efficiency could be a carryover from her last job. It was in the corporate world, one she held for nine years, but when the position required her to move to New York, she had a change of heart and priority in what she wanted to accomplish in life. She and her husband Kevin decided staying put was what they both most desired.
In her younger years she had worked at The Pancake Place as a part time job through high school and college. She knew what she wanted to do…again.
“Of course I had known the owners,” Theresa said “having worked here for so long, so I got my job back! Until one day when I offhandedly said, ‘If you ever feel like selling, just let me know.’ They called me the next day, and it just fell into place.”
“My mission statement is best-in-class service, and serving quality food at an affordable price. Our philosophy is ‘just home cooking.’ Everything is made from scratch. We go through about 550 dozen eggs a week, and roughly 2,100 hundred pounds of potatoes a week.”
Her aunt and uncle own a potato farm near Crivitz. “We get all the potatoes from them,” Theresa said. “We peel, boil and then grind them up, so when I say home made, I mean it.”
And one more rule.
“Guests come first.”
Which explains the two-time winner of the Best in the Bay Waitstaff the diner boasts.
The stuffed hash browns are also a newcomer to the menu. Theresa told us they had a single offering on the menu back in 2007, but since the Barlaments took over, they’ve added five variations. They also typically have a hash brown and pancake of the month. On our visit the hash brown was “cheeseburger” inspired. As for pancakes, they feature over 20 variations. Half an inch thick, and the size of a dinner plate, any of these constitute a meal in itself. Every day they are open until 8 p.m. and while they do serve breakfast all day, Theresa was very clear it wasn’t the only meal they specialize in.
“One of the more popular late day specials is the all you care to eat broasted chicken,” she said “the Pancake Place offers on weekends. It’s definitely a guest favorite. It comes with potato and dressing and cole slaw…kinda like your family style. I’m proud to say that we’ve won ‘best breakfast’ six years running for Best of the Bay. I’m hoping we make it seven years!”