One of my favorite places to visit for breakfast and brunch is The Original Pancake House in Champaign. While it is technically a chain establishment and is not found solely in Champaign, it is a huge hit here and holds a special place in many localss' hearts and stomachs. I had some friends who were visiting from out of town the weekend when we last visited OPH, so we had to treat them to a deliciously filling brunch. Most weekends, the Original Pancake House has a line out the door with at least a 15-minute wait before seating, and this weekend was no different. Luckily, it was a beautiful day outside and we were fine with waiting in the sunshine for a few minutes before getting a table.
Once we were seated, we were immediately asked by our friendly waitress what we would like to drink besides water, which was already served. We all asked for coffee which was given to us in the classic Original Pancake House mugs that are also for sale near the cash register at the front of the restaurant. Our waitress was very attentive to our coffee needs, too, because she kept refilling our cups throughout our meal without us even asking.
The menu at OPH has a ton of options that can made the ordering process a little intimidating. I know that I am going to get some flack for this, but I am not someone who normally orders pancakes or any sweet, dessert type food for brunch, even at The Original Pancake House. I always prefer savory over sweet and therefore, I tend to order eggs and toast for brunch. But that's what’s great about the menu at Original Pancake House — with so many options and variations, it is easy for everyone to find something they will enjoy.
When it came time to order our food, my friend and I each ordered the Santa Fe Scramble ($10.50), which is scrambled eggs with fresh jalapeños, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro with pepper jack cheese, and comes served with a side of homemade salsa. I have had this dish before and it is one of my favorite egg dishes that I have had at any restaurant. The fresh jalapeño peppers and salsa gave the eggs quite a kick of heat and flavor that I enjoyed.
I also ordered a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice ($5) that came out with my meal. If you have not had the fresh orange juice from OPH, I highly recommend it. I know $5 for a glass of orange juice is expensive, but in my opinion, it is so worth it. It is honestly the best orange juice that I have had and tastes sweet and refreshing. I will get it every time I go to the OPH from now on.
My other friend ordered the Eggs Michael ($10.50), which is similar to Eggs Benedict, but with a few changes. The Eggs Michael has a toasted English muffin topped with sausage patties instead of Canadian bacon, is served with two poached eggs and covered in a rich mushroom sherry sauce instead of Hollandaise. It was also served with three potato pancakes that came with a side of sour cream and applesauce to dip them in. He said that the mushroom sauce really made the dish feel like a savory upgrade from Eggs Benedict. The mix of flavors from the applesauce and sour cream also paired well with the potato pancakes.
My boyfriend ordered the Meat Lovers Omelet ($11.50), which was filled with sausage, bacon, ham, and cheddar cheese. He also decided to add some fresh jalapeños to his omelet for some extra spice.
Most of the dishes are served with three buttermilk pancakes, which makes for a ton of food. The portions of the meals are already large, but it is hard to say no to pancakes when you are at the Original Pancake House. Luckily, my friend who ordered the Eggs Michael didn’t get pancakes with his meal and was willing to help me eat the rest of the mine, as I was not able to finish all of it. The buttermilk pancakes came out perfectly with a heap of butter on top and hot syrup served on the side. The sweetness of the pancakes was a nice contrast to my spicy scramble.
By the time we were done with our meals, we were full, satisfied, and ready for a nap. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meals and service at the Original Pancake House. I have already made note that next time I visit, I will get out of my savory comfort zone and try one of their signature pancake dishes, or even their legendary Dutch Baby. If you have been to the Original Pancake House, you already know that it is well worth the hype. If you haven’t, make sure to try this restaurant that is loved by many Champaign locals. I’m sure you won’t regret it!
The Original Pancake House
1909 W Springfield Ave.
M-F 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Sa 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Su 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
All photos by Brittany Busboom