DC Ohana was in town this past week and wanted to have breakfast at The Old Pancake House, being Diner MDCC’s college classmate’s mom owns this place. Which to note, Diner MDCC is a medical doctor practicing on the west coast, where her college classmate and son of this location’s owner also owns his own The Original Pancake House up in the mainland. Pretty cool! Apparently being a restaurateur was more appealing than his pursuit of becoming a lawyer and judge. Hey man, follow your passion!
Like most eateries in Kalihi, a.k.a. “The Center of Hawaii’s Food Universe” (it truly is!), The Original Pancake House appears totally unassuming from the outside. That would be around midway between other businesses that make up Waiakamilo Shopping Center. You otherwise can’t miss it, with McDonald’s right at the front corner of the center on the corner of Waiakamilo Road and Dillingham Boulevard in the Palama area of Kalihi.
Yet once you enter the hallowed walls of The Original Pancake House, you’re transported back in time to an old school 60’s style All-American diner style coffee shop ambiance, filled with lots of folks getting their breakfast on, at what appears to be their go-to neighborhood favorite spot for that. It’s the total package. From “aunties” dressed in floral pattern uniforms and aprons, to the wonderful combined aroma of fresh coffee, bacon and hot cakes in the air. I LOVE THAT!
The cozy dining room on our morning visit was brisk with conversation and positive energy, a further testament to the enchanting effect of the scent of fresh-brewed coffee and pipin’ hot ‘n fresh pancakes!
The wall at the entrance features a couple of news media awards, as well as their specials of the day, which upon looking at Yelpers photo of this, it’s pretty much the same every day.
Without further ado, the menu:
Sorry about the glare at the top of the Pancakes section of the menu. The top three items are:
Wheat Germ Pancakes: Good for vim and vigor. $8.50
Hawaiian Pancakes: with Pineapple and Tropical Syrup. $8.50
Bits ‘o Bacon: Buttermilk Pancakes with Bacon Bits. $8.50
Within about 10 minutes of placing it, our order already began arriving!
Our lovely server was Auntie Kona… she is such a sweetheart!!!
Boom, there it is, the house specialty Buttermilk Pancakes, included with many of the breakfast items as a “side dish”, however as you can tell this “short” 3-stack can be a meal in itself!
Perfectly cooked, perfectly round, perfectly whipped butter-topped Buttermilk Pancakes. A thing of beauty!
Before continuing, note the Pancake Syrup available by default at each table is corn syrup based, not real Maple Syrup. Which personally I’m OK with. I like Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth! Certain pancakes and other specialties are served with special syrups, such as Coconut, and ooh! Lilikoi Butter!
Moving along, accompanying the Buttermilk Pancakes it’s served with, Diner K decided to try their house-made Corned Beef Hash, featuring Kosher Corned Beef, along with some scrambled eggs.
Diner EDC also wanted to try the Corned Beef Hash along with two over-easy eggs, while, instead of Pancakes, since others on our table already ordered that, being the true Kauai local boy he is, he opted for rice as his starch instead. Gotta’ stay get!
Diner BDC went for the Portuguese Sausage Omelet, which must be noted from the menu, that the Portuguese Sausage used in it is made in Kalihi. Wow! Also note she immediately hit it with Tobasco. Again, true local Kauai girl, used to her Hawaiian Chili Peppah Wattah…. shoots! Her order also came with a 3-stack of Buttermilk Pancakes.
Pharm.D. Diner MDC went for the French Toast, also served with the made in Kalihi Portuguese Sausage, and wonderful bowl of their house-made Lilikoi Butter. OMG!
Dude, Lili *beeping” koi *beeping* butter! How you gonna’ ack!!! S’-WEET!
Last but never least, Yours Truly went for the Dutch Baby, described on the menu simply as an Oven-baked German Pancake. And man, is this thing HUGE!
So huge, it needs its own Kalihi “sub zip code”. lol
The Dutch Baby is served with a side of whipped butter, confectioners sugar and lemon wedges. Interesting “twist” with the lemons!
Give that Dutch Baby a twist of lemon, a good dusting of powdered sugar, plus mo’ buttah, mo’ bettah!
I also hit it with some Maple Syrup.
And? The Dutch Baby comes across to me as being sort of a hybrid of a pancake and a custard pie. It’s fluffy, yet dense, all at the same time, while the “meat” of it is sort of gelatinous, and well, like custard. It even taste sort of like custard, yet it sort of taste like a pancake. I didn’t even ask how its made, nor did I Google it. I’m just giving you my impression straight off the top of my head. I definitely liked the toasty raised crust at the edge. I really should have ordered a side of breakfast meat to go along with this, as it really needs something salty and savory with it. Like pancakes, you can’t just eat the Dutch Baby alone.
Since Diner Pharm.D. MDCC doesn’t like eggs, she gave me hers from her French Toast dish, however eating that with the Dutch Baby was kinda’ like eating ham with bacon. Kinda’ one in the same, no? lol
I tried a bite of Diner K’s Corned Beef Hash, and it was just “a’aight”. Nothing to write home about. Kinda’ dry, actually. She didn’t finish it, which speaks for itself.
Now, The Original Pancake House’ house specialty Buttermilk Pancakes were pretty much “Bomb Dot Com”. As great as pancakes can get. Fluffy ‘n light, yet rich and full-bodied in flavor, with a silky, almost pillow-like mouthfeel. Combined with the whipped butter and maple syrup, total “money”. Dang it, why am I starting to quote Guy Fieri so much?
While I hardly ever drink coffee now, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, and you must have a cup ‘o joe with pancakes drenched in butter and maple syrup, right? Right!
Summing it up, between a consensus from the 5 of us, The Original House of Pancakes gets 3 SPAM Musubi, meaning “Very good!”.
Diner BDC enjoyed her Portuguese Sausage Omelet, yet ironically questioned the flavor of the sausage itself, as not tasting, well, like Portuguese Sausage, at least in what we’re all familiar with. She really enjoyed her Buttermilk Pancakes, as did everyone else. Excellent, excellent pancakes! Pharm.D. Diner MDCC gave a thumbs-up for her French Toast, while I give two thumbs-up for that AWESOME Lilikoi Butter it was served with! Liquid Gold! Diner EDC and Diner K’s Corned Beef Hash was probably the least praised over, being overall “a’aight”. My Dutch Baby was very good and a very interesting dish — not to mention HUGE! However I wouldn’t order it again, opting in a next visit to try their Coconut Pancakes, which lots of Yelpers rave about.
Service by our awesome server Auntie Kona was super-duper excellent, while our food arrived quickly and hot, coffee and water kept topped ,and parking a breeze right by the front door.
The Original House of Pancakes
Waiakamilo Shopping Center
1414 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817
Tel. (808) 847-1496
The Tasty Island rating:
(3) Very Good.
• The Original Pancake House (Kalihi location) – Yelp user reviews
• The Original Pancake House (Ala Moana location) – Yelp user reviews
• The Original Pancake House (Metro Washington DC area) / Yelp user reviews