January 28th is National Blueberry Pancake Day. We are told that the pancake as we know it was invented by the Dutch, even though most cultures do have their unique version of the pancake. We also know that blueberries are native to North America. Perhaps some enterprising cook in New Amsterdam first came up with the idea of combining the sweet taste of blueberries with that morning staple, the pancake. It could be; or not. We only know that you can judge a breakfast restaurant by the quality of this satisfying start-the-day meal. We searched high and low and urge you to visit these when you drive the nation…
New York, NY
Since New Amsterdam is now New York, why not begin there, at the Clinton Street Baking Company on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Their blueberry pancakes consistently rank at the top among those in the know in the Big Apple. The chef-team husband & wife, Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman, opened Clinto Street Baking Company in April 2001. Located at 4 Clinton Street (btw. East Houston & Stanton), it may be the Wild Maine Blueberries that make their pancakes so spectacular. Can’t get enough of their blueberries? Try the Blueberry Crumb Streusel with fresh blueberry sauce, blueberry fool and warm maple butter.
P & G’s Pamela’s Diner at 1711 Murray Ave (btwn Forbes Ave & Darlington Rd), in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, claim “There has never been a sadness that cannot be cured by breakfast food.” They sure do their part to make you start the day happy, and have been doing it since 1980. Go for their Blueberry Hotcakes – stuffed with blueberries, brown sugar, sour cream & topped with whipped cream. The brown sugar is a ‘Burgh Thing. Order it with their Bottomless Pot of Coffee (only $1.99). They have locations in Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Mt Lebanon, the Strip District, Millvale, as well as the Oakland address given here.
Chicagoans head for Nookies, at 1100 W Bryn Mawr Ave (at N Winthrop Ave.) for the best pancakes in the Windy City. Illinois. Nookie’s blueberry pancakes are loaded with real blueberries and served with a homemade blueberry syrup. Nookies Restaurant first opened its doors as “Nookies Snack Shop,” in 1973. Now there are three more Chicagoland locations.
The Majestic Diner at 1031 Ponce de Leon Ave NE (at Cleburne Terrace NE), in Atlanta, Georgia, a classic American diner, has been serving up “Food that Pleases” since 1929. The diner has a vibrant history, great location, and a wonderful interior all in its favor. Go for the Blueberry Pancakes and Bacon, ample blueberries and bacon cooked to perfection on top of delicious pancakes.
In the Mile High City, go to The Universal, at 2911 W 38th Avenue, Denver, Colorado, the buttermilk blueberry pancakes are big, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and presented with individual servings of butter and syrup. The décor is classy casual, what you might call a high end dinner style. Not extravagant but very comfortable and welcoming.
Los Angeles, CA
Blu Jam Café in the heart of Hollywood is the place for thick and crispy pancakes, with fresh blueberries. Blu Jam Cafe’s executive chef and owner, Kamil Majer, says, “Breakfast should never be boring. We should look forward to it when we wake up, and treat ourselves to the best food imaginable.” Blu Jam Cafe has been awarded the best breakfast in Los Angeles two years in a row. 7371 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.
In Phoenix, Arizona, it is the Heart and Soul Cafe, complete with a ’57 Chevy in the middle of the room (and if you ask nicely, you might even be seated at the dining table in the middle of the Chevy). They make Bacon Blue Pancakes that take the blueberry pancakes to the extreme with crispy bacon added to the batter, sweet and savory all in one bite. 4705 E Carefree Hwy # 117, Cave Creek, Arizona.
A regional chain, First Watch has a number of locations; we vote for the First Watch in Longwood, Florida – mom always orders the blueberry pancakes there and she is always happy. Yes, we’ve been to the several dozen other great breakfast places in greater Orlando, and for blueberry pancakes, none can top First Watch. 2425 W. State Road, Suite 434, Longwood, Florida.
Southwestern Michigan claims to be the Blueberry Capitol of the World (see below for another claimant). In Southwestern Michigan, head for the Crow’s Nest, at 16 S. Westnedge Avenue in Kalamazoo. The produce including blueberries in that corner of the nation is blessed by just the right sub-climate off the Lake. The Crow’s Nest serves them in a cozy atmosphere of exposed brick, weathered wood, light filled windows, and vibrant art.
The Red Barn Café and Pie Shop, run by the Penza family at 51 S Myrtle St, Hammonton, is nestled in the heart of New Jersey’s Pinelands. It is a 120 year old red barn that once housed a multitude of farm stock, and later served as a packing house for tomatoes, peaches, apples and an assortment of other Jersey produce. Now they offer great homemade pies, and lunches and breakfast: especially the blueberry pancakes. They’re done just right. Since the blueberries come from just down the road, in the “Blueberry Capital of the World,” it is a drive worth making!
Update: Thanks to Mark M. on Facebook for his recommendation: Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, Maine, which has stayed in the family since 1927 serving up delicious food that brings people back year after year. Aside from those delicious blueberry pancakes, you can now also order whoopie pies and donuts to be shipped anywhere in the continental U.S.