DINING: Hotcakes Emporium serves big, light and fluffy stacks

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Dining - A&E

No disrespect intended toward The Original Pancake Houses and IHOPs—or even the Waffle Houses—of the world, but if I’ve got free time in the morning, I’m either going to get some work done or stay in bed.

“Going out to breakfast” just isn’t a willing-to-pay-for priority for me.

Lucky for me, then, that Hotcakes Emporium (8555 Ditch Road, 254-5993) is open until 3 p.m. Housed in what was, briefly, the home of a failed deli, Hotcakes Emporium has the key elements of the breakfast joints I grew up with at the Jersey shore, including the menus that go on and on (and include bad puns like “our 30 years of eggs-perience!!”), the getting-the-job-done service, the take-your-check-to-the-register exit—only with a deck view of Ditch Road instead of the boardwalk or beach.

ae-hotcakes-emporium03-15col.jpgHotcakes Emporium on Ditch Road serves up the stack of Apple Cinnamon Pancakes until 3 p.m. No syrup needed. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Where to start? We should have gone with something more adventurous than the so-so 3-Cheese Omelet ($6.75), which blended American, Swiss and Colby Jack with a trio of eggs into a could-have-done-it-just-as-well-at-home combo. It came with a choice of hash browns or grits and pancakes or toast.

We also went with a Mediterranean Skillet ($7.35), but only because the kitchen was out of the chorizo that distinguishes the Mexican Skillet. In the Mediterranean, ample pieces of gyro meat, feta cheese, onions and green pepper were sandwiched between an undercooked bed of hash browns and a topping of scrambled eggs. A side of rye bread—mandatory for me—came out warm and toasty, something not common

enough in breakfast eateries.

The star of the meal—as it should be in a place with this name—was a plate of big, fluffy hotcakes. There are plenty of choices—pecan, strawberry, silver dollar, Hawaiian, peach, banana nut, and even cheesecake pancakes among them—but we went with the Apple Cinnamon, with the fruit and gooey sauce making syrup unnecessary.

There’s a lunch menu, too, with eight salads, an array of sandwiches including clubs, Manhattans, and melts (plus already dated Freedom Fries), but I don’t expect to be trying any of them soon. While a Pork Tenderloin Manhattan ($7.75) may tempt, no matter what time of day I return, I know I’ll find my bliss in the Frisbee-sized discs of golden goodness. Maybe with blueberry, just to keep it interesting.•


Second in a month-long series of reviews of “heated” eateries.


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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

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  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim