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. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.