The Pancake House at The Forks – March 3, 2019

1970 The Forks
The red arrow points to where the Pancake House is now. The Canadian National Railway Yards, Winnipeg [ca. 1970] Winnipeg Tribune.  Image Courtesy of University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.
8 Stars

It’s all about the sunroom. Get there early for a seat with wonderful light and a nice view of people walking around with dogs and children. The turquoise paint is unchanged since The Forks was renovated from an Edwardian industrial rail yard to Winnipeg’s largest attraction in 1990; isn’t it funny how a colour can date a place?

The Original Pancake House at The Forks, Winnipeg

Sunday morning at 9:30am was already filled with families and squawking children. What were they doing there? It’s too early for this. Can you tell I don’t have and don’t want children?

The service was fast and friendly and they were constantly trying to fill our cups with standard coffee, which was nice if you like the stuff.

I am spoiled for coffee. Just as Andrew moved from Winnipeg to Nelson BC in 2011 and the Breakfast Connoisseurs blog petered out, (died) Parlour coffee on Main Street opened, thus starting Winnipeg’s Third Wave of coffee and I was indoctrinated. Parlour, Forth, Thom Bargen, Little Sister, Fools & Horses; they all serve high quality coffee. I used to think Starbucks was fancy.

[From Wikipedia: In March 2008, Pulitzer Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold of LA Weekly defined the third wave of coffee by saying:

The first wave of American coffee culture was probably the 19th-century surge that put Folgers on every table, and the second was the proliferation, starting in the 1960s at Peet’s 20190303-BA0B7AE8-05DC-4B4D-B442-632782C54741and moving smartly through the Starbucks grande decaf latte, of espresso drinks and regionally labeled coffee. We are now in the third wave of coffee connoisseurship, where beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, roasting is about bringing out rather than incinerating the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavour is clean and hard and pure.]

So I am now a permanent snob when it comes to breakfast joint coffee unless they are using beans roasted three days ago and a Chemex. Now that you know what my point of view on coffee is you can ignore my arrogant tones.

Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 5.05.54 PM
Chemex Coffee Brewer

The breakfast special of eggs, toast, hash browns and piggy meat was perfectly good. The potatoes were cooked to the point of “tasty brown” and still had the skins on, which is good since it proves they came from actual vegetables. Bacon: good. Eggs: as I ordered them. Toast: came with strawberry jam in a little cup even though it was not asked for. Nice touch. This basic breakfast came to $15.68 with tax and coffee.

The real thing to get here is the Giant Apple Pancake, which none of us ordered. It’s epic. It’s desert for breakfast or a Folk Fest Whale Tail for brunch. Unhealthily happy making. Since it is a Pancake House, and sugar and carbs seems to be what North Americans want to eat for breakfast, they also have French Toast, Belgian Waffles and

Frittata Omelette

Crepes, which as I said before is like chocolate cake for breakfast. Sigh; where have all the adults gone?

The Frittata style Omelettes are also quite good as can be proven by the amazing photo I took of one. Those are the rules of Instagram.

This might be the best option for breakfast at The Forks but in all fairness we need to go to Danny’s All Day Breakfast which is down the hall a bit. They offer chilli on your hash browns! Fools & Horses is also in the Market Hall food court (don’t call it a food court!) so I could have my coffee bell rung properly by coffee nerds with expensive beans.

Upon further inspection of the web page I see that they boast about a special blend of coffee they have. It tastes like every other breakfast place I have been in, but I am glad they are trying. They also have strawberry preserves for sale,  pancake batter, Maple syrup and toys at the front cashier. This is why kids love it here! Hot Wheels and stuffed toys!

The Arcade at The Forks with Pinballs!

After our breakfast we felt pleasingly crapulent and wandered down to the Phantom Arcade where the Sushi Train used to be and spent a few quarters. I was feeling self conscious and British and merely watched Rafael and Mike play the Funhouse pinball. They also had a vintage wooden (Bing Bong Bing) non electronic pinball from the 70’s.

The Original Pancake House is simultaneously a Winnipeg venture and a separate yet nearly identical American one where the Giant Apple Pancake is on both menus, but Canada has not yet embraced the Dutch Baby. The US OPH was founded 5 years earlier in 1953.

From the Pancake House website:

Ab_img_2-1“In 1958, Winnipeg entrepreneur Wally Guberman opened The Original Pancake House on Pembina Highway. The restaurant quickly became a popular favourite for family outings, business lunch meetings, student gatherings, and special occasions. Almost 60 years later the same familiar Pembina Pancake House sign is still there welcoming customers.

With the success of that first restaurant and armed with a business model built on creating quality food from original recipes, Wally and his brother Monty soon opened other locations around the city. Today you can choose from four locations in Winnipeg, including our newest restaurant on McGillivray Boulevard.”