Portland, Ore. is a food innovation capital. From peanut butter and jelly fries to the cock-n-balls at Voodoo Doughnuts (the name says it all), it’s nearly impossible to think of an idea that hasn’t already been made into a dish, restaurant, or food cart. Enter Slappy Cakes: a hidden gem nestled in southeast Portland. It’s a pancake house with a twist. Rather than ordering and receiving a stack of pancakes, you make them yourself at table-side griddles. If you aren’t into the fun that is going to a restaurant and flipping your own stack, there’s also a bar where you can order a pre-cooked meal.
Opening in Portland in 2009, Slappy Cakes has won plenty of awards, such as “America’s Best” from Food Network, for their creative twist on the art of pancake making. With its airy, rustic vibe and tangerine colored accents here and there, the building itself seems to nudge at your inner chef.
Amongst the sea of high chairs, griddles and batter-laden spatulas, waiters maze their way through, plopping eight ounce condiment bottles full of atypical flavors next to the grill. Peanut butter, chocolate, vegan, gluten-free, and even red velvet cake pancakes are all a part of the menu. Following a batter selection, an extensive list of delectable toppings make the mouth drool, like dried pineapple re Valdeón bleu cheese. But, don’t forget the sauces. Aside from the complimentary maple syrup and coconut syrup, lavender honey, lemon curd, and cinnamon sugar crème fraîche are all on the menu. Savory or sweet, the menu has it, taste buds mouthgasming the second a fork hits them.
With combinations such as red velvet pancakes sprinkled with white chocolate chips, and a buttery cream cheese frosting, mouthwatering is an understatement. Peanut butter pancakes with lavender honey happen to be an unexpected melt-in-the-mouth pandemonium. The lavender honey soaks into the peanut butter batter making the pancakes a sweeter version of a PB and honey sandwich — a PB and honey sandwich that would put your parent’s school-lunch-making skills to shame. Even the simple buttermilk batter provides an unforgettable taste. Paired with tangy coconut syrup and a handful of fresh bananas, it takes diners on a tropical vacation. An almond-speckled pancake with a dollop of chocolate hazelnut spread becomes a nutty whirlwind dream for any Nutella lover.
With decent prices for delightful, buttery, golden discs, Slappy Cakes is worth the long wait. It is popular, after all. Although the scene was somewhat chaotic, screaming kids, hot griddles, and flavorful explosions abounding, there seems to be a kind of tranquility. Waiting for the gooey pancakes to turn a buttermilky brown and sliding the spatula under the pancake to a perfectly executed flip is an experience on its own.
Open Monday through Friday from 8AM – 2PM and
Sunday and Saturday from 8 AM – 3PM
4246 SE Belmont St. Portland, OR 97215