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The Power of Pancakes: Nashville’s Pancake Pantry

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Flapjack fans line around the block at this Nashville institution
Flapjack fans line around the block at this Nashville institution

“Hey, honey – wanna get up, get dressed and go stand in line with dozens of other people on a street corner to go eat pancakes?” This conversation apparently in many homes daily happens, judging by the lines outside the Pancake Pantry, a Nashville tradition that keeps the crowds comin’. Opened by Robert Baldwin in 1961, it is now owned by his son David, who hopes his two daughters take over one day.

According to David, the secret to the pancakes is in the flour, which he gets specially ground and fetches himself from the hills of East Tennessee. The syrups are homemade on grounds and the cinnamon cream syrup is especially prized. (Check out a similar recipe below.)

Vince Gill, Amy Grant and their kids are fans, and Keith Urban has been known to chow down on a stack of Caribbean pancakes – buttermilk pancakes topped with banana, shredded coconut, chopped pecans and powdered sugar. With a cherry on top. The Pancake Pantry is popular with students at nearby Vanderbilt University as well.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get a bite on my recent trip there, but it’s at the top of my agenda for next time. I’m already dreaming about the sweet potato pancakes with the warm cinnamon sugar with butter syrup.

Cinnamon Cream Syrup

5 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple flavored extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cream, brown sugar, maple extract and cinnamon. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes. Serve warm.

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