Even the most finicky eaters are likely enraptured with pancakes — a veritable foolproof meal for the under 5 set. Pancakes are such a simple dish, yet they can be jazzed up in so many tasty ways; and kids are known to gobble up an entire stack before you can say “pass the syrup.” So ‘batter up’ and swing into one of these Portland eateries with your little short stacks to experience a divine helping of pleasing pancakes.

Slappy Cakes
At Slappy Cakes your kids will slide right up to the griddle, which is built into each table, while you take the pancake making into your own hands at Slappy Cakes restaurant. Making the perfect stack is as easy as 1-2-3. First, choose your batter, which is made from scratch daily, from classic buttermilk, vegan, sweet potato, peanut butter and gluten-free varieties. Next, pick your ‘fixins’ which include a delectable array of sweet and savory options like chocolate chips and bananas or crisp bacon, roasted mushrooms and vegan sausage. Finally, add toppings including house made syrups, lavender honey and lemon curd. Not in the mood for cooking? You can also order a custom-made single or short stack of pancakes and the cooks at Slappy Cakes will make them for you.
4246 SE Belmont Street
Portland, Or
Online: slappycakes.com

Helser’s
Skip the very long lines at Tin Shed and settle in for a shorter wait at Helser’s. (Or go early and skip the wait altogether!) A great way to begin a day exploring Alberta Street. This is a great little place to bring your kids–they have cute little cups for the kiddos. You will be waiting outside if you come after 9, so come prepared. The kids’ menu includes options range from $1-$3. And that $1 pancake is pretty darn big.
1538 Northeast Alberta Street
Portland, Or
Online: helsersonalberta.com

Jam on Hawthorne
For kids who favor pancakes with a sophisticated twist, Jam on Hawthorne flips up flapjacks infused with unique ingredients. Their lemon ricotta pancakes bear a mouth-watering description: moist from the ricotta, with a hint of lemon, the stack of three pancakes are served covered with warm blueberry compote. Kids on alternative diets needn’t miss out on the fun either. Jam on Hawthorne also offers oatmeal chai pancakes that are vegan and wheat-free. These two big pancakes are made with organic oats, spelt flour and Dragonfly Chai, and served with Earth Balance vegan butter and a side of real maple syrup or blueberry compote. Note: Jam on Hawthorne is known for their huge portions, so you may want to divvy up the meal between the family.
2239 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
Portland, Or
Online: Jams on Hawthorne

Original Pancake House
Did you know that the ‘original’ Original Pancake House was founded in Portland, Oregon in 1953 by Les Highet and Erma Hueneke? The duo collected their recipes from around the world, many of which were submitted to them by “housewives of the nationality originating the pancakes of their respective countries.” All of the pancake batters at the Original Pancake House use old-fashioned sourdough yeast which is grown in their own kitchen from a culture of potatoes, flour and sugar, activated by a “start of yeast.” They add, “The sourdough yeast gives light, fine-textured pancakes.” There’s something for everyone on the extensive pancake menu. The fluffy flapjacks may be filled with bacon, blueberries, pineapple, pecans, coconut and more. Or you can try variations on the house dish: authentic lacy Swedish pancakes topped with lingonberries, silver dollar pancakes, or three little pigs in blankets — pancakes wrapped around sausage links and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Their supreme standout: an apple pancake, “a single large pancake smothered with sautéed apples and cinnamon sugar baked to perfection.”
8601 S.W 24th Avenue
Portland, Or
Online: originalpancakehouse.com

Biscuits Café
This is one breakfast spot that you will undoubtedly have a hard time choosing what to eat. It’s not a big surprise that kids love their order of three small chocolate chip pancakes, but we also love their kid’s order of three small pancakes with fresh berries on top. Don’t let the fact that it’s a chain throw you off–the breakfasts are delicious, hearty, and portions are huge!
Mount Scott – Johnson Creek & I-205
9201 SE 91st Avenue, Suite 100
Happy Valley, Or
Online: biscuitscafe.com

Mother’s Bistro & Bar
If you want the kids to enjoy delicious pancakes, but you crave a more sophisticated meal, Mother’s Bistro & Bar has something to suit everyone’s taste. Treat little ones to a dish comprised of two of Mother’s fluffy, buttermilk pancakes, which are made from scratch. Add toppings including bananas, pecans, walnuts or chocolate chips, for $1 each. Then order up a Grilled Portabella Mushroom Scramble for yourself!
212 SW Stark Street at the corner of Second Avenue
Portland, Or
Online: mothersbistro.com

Urban Farmer
Urban Farmer located in the Nines Hotel in downtown Portland, offers a unique setting which fuses upscale ambiance and fine dining in a completely kid-friendly environment. Their kids menu features a hearty stack of delicious pancakes that most little ones would be hard-pressed to finish themselves, and the regular breakfast menu offers buttermilk pancakes topped with strawberry rhubarb and orange whipped cream.
525 SW Morrison Street
Portland, Or
Online: urbanfarmerrestaurant.com

Sanborn’s Restaurant
Family-friendly Sanborn’s Restaurant serves up a variety of delectable pancakes whipped up from scratch. For a truly special treat, order their fruit-filled German pancake. To make their mango pancake, the chef sautés the mango in butter until it’s caramelized, adds a sprinkling of their special ginger citrus sugar, tops it with German batter, then bakes it in the oven and serves it upside down so it’s light and golden! Traditional buttermilk pancakes are also available, as are buckwheat, and sourdough pancakes, the latter of which is “from genuine 1847 Oregon Trail starter, a thin pancake with the tangy taste of pioneer days.” Half orders are available, so it’s easy to tailor the dish to a pint-sized appetite.
3200 SE Milwaukie
Portland, Or
Online: sanbornsbreakfast.com

Have you visited these hoppin pancake spots? Where does your family sit down for a stack of pancakes? 

— Beth Shea

photo credit: Glenn Fleishman via flickr, Chris Winters via flickr, & Eden, Janine and Jim via flickr