ELV has been a fan of the Original Pancake House ever since he ate at the original Original Pancake House, way back in 1962, in Portland, Oregon. About the only thing we don’t like about the place is the maple-flavored syrup they serve.
ELV understands that the margins are small on any breakfast and lunch place that doesn’t serve alcohol, but for all the pride this place exhibits in its juices (fresh squeezed), bacon (thick, smoky and meaty), and all sorts of pancake doughs and fillings, you’d think they’d bite the bullet and feature some Grade A Vermont to top their flapjacks with.
The other thing we don’t cotton to is how run down they’ve let their sign and exterior get at the original Las Vegas Original Pancake House on West Charleston. The place looks one step removed from a run-down muffler shop as you approach it, and no matter how good your breakfast might be, it hardly puts one in a good mood to be entering a place that looks like it’s going out of business.
OPH specializes in what they call an Apple Pancake — a giant, puffed mound of cooked dough smothered with enough sugary apples to feed a family of four. We’ve always found it too sweet and too much — really more like a dessert than anything to start the day with. An antidote to this teeth-numbing concoction is their German and Dutch Baby pancakes — thick, puffy, Yorkshire-pudding-like bowls of doughy goodness that come dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by lemon slices that, once squeezed copiously on top, make the who shebang irresistibly sweet and sour.
We have a hard time resisting one of those babies every time we come here, but when we do it’s usually for one of their top notch, bacon waffles, sourdough pancakes, or some good old bacon and eggs. Service is never less than speedy and friendly (even when they’re jammed on weekends), and even the coffee is good. Nothin’ special, mind you. No Ethiopian/peaberry/Tanzanian/arabica/robustas/vestal virgin blend — just a good, mellow cup o’ joe with the right amount of acidity to cut through the cholesterol.
Speaking of service, we once had a waitron here advise us not to order the corned beef hash (at the West Charleston from hunger site). “It’s much better at the Green Valley Ranch location.” they whispered to us. Feeling frisky, we ignored the warning. What we got was an unholy mush (tasteless corned beef paste was more like it). We shall never doubt them again.
ELV has eaten in two of the four locations of the OPH (Green Valley Ranch and West Charleston), and menus, prices and quality seem almost identical (with the exception of the aforementioned corned beef hash). This is hardly the cheapest breakfast in town — a recent meal for two ran $30 ($25+$5 tip) — making the management’s insistence on using substandard syrup all the more inexcusable.
ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE
4833 West Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89146