Review: McCall Pancake House, McCall, Idaho
This past weekend, I spent the weekend at the Winter Festival in McCall. I love its amazing snow and ice sculptures, but I especially enjoy the firework show over the frozen lake. But for a real treat, make sure to stop into McCall Pancake House for a Paul Bunyan sized breakfast.
History of McCall Pancake House
McCall Pancake House’s history dates back to 1949, and no, it has nothing to do with the “Original Pancake House” chain. When McCall Pancake House started, it was part house for the owners, and part drive-up restaurant to the diners. But as business continued to grow, the owners eventually found a new home to live in and converted the living space into sit down dining space. With a steady stream of patrons, often forming long lines and sharing tables with strangers, the restaurant eventually justified a new building. In 2002, McCall Pancake House opened for business in their new log-cabin style restaurant. But even with the much larger space, lines still formed, and another expansion was in order a few years later.
The continued lines and table-sharing strangers that are still so prevalent at McCall Pancake House are a testament to how good their food is. I’ve eaten here several times now, and each time the food has been great, the service friendly, and the atmosphere a joy. That atmosphere comes from the rustic cabin feel, fun pioneer decorating, and general Little House on the Prairie feeling that washes over you when you take your seat.
Breakfast Menu at McCall Pancake House
The menu at McCall Pancake House is printed newspaper style, and is chalked full of just about every breakfast item you can think of, including: omelets, French toast, waffles, crepes, scrambles, hashes, biscuits and gravy, eggs benedict, and of course, their signature plate-sized pancakes.
Most of the items come with their fresh house-made hash browns, which are actually quite good, even though they are under seasoned. They steam hundreds of pounds of potatoes each week just for these hash browns. Once steamed, they grate them and then fry them up on the griddle until perfectly golden brown. You can get them plain, or for a few dollars more, get them with chopped bacon and melted cheddar cheese. These are affectionately called “Those Potatoes.” They are delicious. You’ll just need to add some salt and pepper to them.
But the real star of the show, of course, is the assortment of pancakes. Holy crap these things are huge! They are at least 12-inches in diameter, and still somehow come out fluffy but with a perfect chew from the outside “crust”. They offer traditional Sourdough, Buttermilk, and Buckwheat batters to choose from, and provide huckleberries or blueberries as an option to add. But should you wish to be a bit more adventurous, they also offer two additional special pancake concoctions; Chocolate Chip pancakes, and my new favorite, Pineapple Pancake with Coconut Syrup. We ordered the traditional huckleberry buckwheat, as well as the amazing sounding pineapple.
The Huckleberry Buckwheat pancake was pretty good. Just one is all I could possibly ever hope to eat. They are just so big! Anyway, it was very good, and had a very strong buckwheat flavor. The texture was what you would expect from a buckwheat pancake, and the flavor was a bit too heavy for the huckleberries. But even though I couldn’t taste my huckleberries very well, the whole thing was pretty damn good with maple syrup. I ordered mine with a fried egg and their very tasty spiced sausage patty.
But the grand prize winner of our meal was the Pineapple Pancake with Coconut Syrup. Are you shitting me? This thing was completely awesome. I’d never even heard of a pineapple pancake before. This thing was complete genius. The pineapple bits sunk to the bottom of the pancake, caramelizing the entire bottom surface of the pancake. It was very similar to a pineapple upside-down cake, only better and much more fun. But what really brought the whole thing home was their house-made coconut syrup; a super flavorful syrup that tasted like really sweet coconut water with floating chucks of coconut in it. Amazing! Put the two together, and it was like the best pina coloda cakey concoction you could dream up. This idea is going home with me for the holidays, and will become an annual tradition in my home from now on.
And in case you were wondering, that is a bone-in ham steak it was served with. Bone-in? Who serves them like that anymore? I love this place!
We ate until we couldn’t fit another bite in, and still left with a take-home box with enough food to feed us both for breakfast again another day. Awesome.
The Bald Gourmet recommends McCall Pancake House for breakfast anytime you happen to be in McCall, Idaho.