For this year’s food issue, we couldn’t ignore the tremendous variety in Lansing’s breakfast scene. However, for the sake of a diverse paper, we had to choose only one food to rate. After long and hard consideration, it was clear that the City Pulse staff had to visit a range of Lansing’s official and unofficial pancake houses — for science, of course. At each place, we tried two specialty pancake offerings and rated them accordingly. Here are our findings.
Midtown Brewing Co. 402 S Washington Square, Lansing Though a brewery isn’t what we’d equate with the perfect pancake spot, we decided to take a chance. Especially since we learned that the company’s buckwheat pancakes came with blood orange marmalade, vanilla yogurt, honey and fresh fruit. We lost a bit of wind in our sails however, when we learned that there was no more blood orange marmalade or honey. We also let the brewery slide on their single pancake menu item.
Appearance: The most attractive of any we came across. The yogurt zigzagged beautifully over the top and the mound of fresh fruit laden on top provided a great splash of color.
Texture: Buckwheat has a tendency to be denser than traditional white flour, so we braced ourselves for the risk of an especially heavy, chewy set of pancakes. We were delighted to find that they retained their airiness well.
Standalone Pancake Flavor: These pancakes had the least sugar of any we had tried so far, but the toppings made up for this. For once, using syrup didn’t seem like an unnecessary afterthought; it was complementary.
Toppings: The combination of the mango, blueberry, strawberry and red currants provided a fresh flavor that paired nicely with the unsweetened dough. The yogurt then bound them together well.
Overall: These pancakes were a hidden gem on our tour. Their individual elements worked perfectly together to form an amazing breakfast experience. We will definitely visit again.
5 out of 5.
Golden Harvest 1625 Turner St, Lansing Both the top requested option on social media and something of an unspoken Lansing classic, this was our first stop. We ordered the Bluenutchipberrycakes as well as the serverrecommended black cherry special of the day.
Appearance: Both arrived with a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, powdered sugar and an unexpected, but refreshing, slice of watermelon. Fresh cherries and blueberries gave away each’s identity. Two impressively large and nearly inch-thick pancake masterpieces were presented to us.
Texture: We were surprised at the wonderful fluffiness present in each bite despite its thickness. Each pancake provided two different crunchiness factors: the walnuts in the blueberry and the not-too-sweet, hard sugar topping provided with the cherry pancakes. The fresh fruit was a welcome addition too, providing a burst of flavor. Syrup and added butter would have made them too rich.
Standalone Pancake Flavor: Surprisingly salty. Each bite danced on the threshold of too much and just right, but expertly enhanced the sweetness in the pancake. Price: $10.99 for the special, $8.75 for the menu item. The extra $2 were well worth the price.
Toppings: Just the right amount. We weren’t left wanting more and it was certainly more generous than the average pancake house.
Overall: Well worth the visit. Golden Harvest offers an ambience like no other in the area and impressive pancakes and playlist to match. Despite the seemingly long wait, 90 minutes for our table, we were rewarded in the end.
4 out of 5.
Blondie’s Barn 5640 Marsh Rd, Haslett Haslett’s farm-themed breakfast spot was something we had to try once we learned of its Red Velvet Pancakes. There weren’t any other especially unique choices, so we decided to test them on a classic: buttermilk pancakes with strawberries and cream.
Appearance: The red velvet pancakes did not disappoint: bright red, drizzled with cream cheese frosting and surrounded by whipped cream. The buttermilk pancakes had a neat line of strawberry sauce layered over the top, with a healthy dose of whipped cream curlicues woven through it.
Texture: The definite winner was the buttermilk classic. The red velvet pancakes were tasty, but they were denser and thinner. They couldn’t compete with their fluffier counterpart.
Standalone Pancake Flavor: The buttermilk pancakes were outstanding here too. They packed a lot of flavor in the dough while maintaining an airy quality. Red velvet was delicious, with a memorable sweetness, but could have packed a stronger punch.
Price: We paid $3.99 for a short stack of buttermilk pancakes and threw in an extra $1.50 for the strawberries. A half order of Red Velvet Pancakes cost us $5.99.
Toppings: The strawberry sauce had a fresh taste to it and it merged with the cream perfectly. The frosting on the red velvet pancakes was tasty, but there wasn’t enough of it to make it memorable.
Overall: Good presentation of a unique flavor and great mastery of a beloved classic.
4 out of 5.
Good Truckin 1107 S Washington Ave, Lansing, MI 48910 We headed down to REO Town to see what kind of a pancake punch it could throw. At Good Truckin’ Diner, we were devastated to find out they didn’t have Oreos, so no cookies and cream pancakes for us. We got good old chocolate chip instead and compared strawberry pancakes.
Appearance: The chocolate chip looked especially appetizing with a dash of powdered sugar on top of each cake. The strawberry batch was messier with the sauce on top.
Texture: Chocolate chip was excellent. A perfect ratio of chocolate to pancake, neither overpowering the other. The strawberry pancakes were tasty, but would have been tastier had the strawberry sauce on top not made them soggy.
Standalone Pancake Flavor: A perfectly acceptable pancake. A good balance of sweetness to salt. With a homemade feel about them.
Price: $8 for both dishes.
Toppings: After tasting the seemingly fresher strawberries at Blondie’s Barn earlier, the strawberry sauce on Good Truckin’ Diner’s pancakes left us wanting more. The chocolate chip however, was the highlight of the visit. The chips were expertly distributed, giving each bite a welcome, chocolatey finish.
Overall: The pancakes here were good and not something we’d shy away from on another visit. However, of the two, we would order the chocolate chip.
3.5 out of 5.
Hannah’s Koney Island 4790 S Hagadorn Road #110, East Lansing After losing out on a chance to try Oreo pancakes at Good Truckin’ Diner, we drove out to East Lansing to get our fix of Hannah’s Koney Island Cookies & Cream concoction. We were also excited to find that Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes were also on the menu.
Appearance: As in our Golden Harvest excursion, the two pancakes were hard to differentiate when we got them. Both were adequately doused with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
Texture: The dough had a great chewy, bouncy and fluffy consistency that made them easy and light to eat.
Standalone Pancake Flavor: Just sweet enough that syrup was unnecessary.
Price: Two half stacks of pancakes came to $5.75 each.
Toppings: If only the Oreos hadn’t huddled in the center of the pancakes, they would have been a favorite. The Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes, however, were a knockout. Not only was the choice unique, it provided a richness we hadn’t experienced yet on our pancake tour.
Overall: The provided flavors were a welcome surprise. We’d come back again for a taste of the Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes we missed out on.
3.5 out of 5.
Flapjack Shack 3000 E Grand River Ave, Lansing With a name like Flapjack Shack, there was no way pancake reviewers could miss this stop. We ordered the Pigs in a Blanket and Alaskan Sourdough Flap Jacks due to their local uniqueness.
Appearance: The Pigs in a Blanket was a pancake-wrapped sausage. Alaskan Sourdough was a plain, lighter and thinner cake.
Texture: Doughy is the prevailing word for Pigs in a Blanket. These pancakes had an unimpressive mouth feel and were overshadowed by their sausage filling. The Alaskan Sourdough pancakes were better because they were far thinner.
Standalone Pancake Flavor: The decent flavor of the Pigs in a Blanket was overshadowed by its texture. The Alaskan Sourdough was delightfully sour — until the aftertaste kicked in; then they became horribly sour.
Price: $5.39 for both.
Toppings: None besides the syrup.
Overall: The Alaskan Sourdough pancakes were a great idea. They even succeeded on the texture front. The issue was the cake’s extreme sourness that forced us to drown them in syrup — to little effect. The Pigs in a Blanket offered little solace however, because their filling outshined the supposed star of the show.
2 out of 5.