We've sleuthed out the most scrumptious spots serving up pancakes—that very essential kid food—in NYC.
Sure you can find pancakes on nearly every brunch menu across the city, or you could whip up a batch (pour mix into bowl, add water) when your kid asks for them AGAIN! this week, but not every flapjack is created equal. Why not let NYC's pros handle this one? Besides, New York is one of the best places to take kids out to try new foods, and pancakes are no exception. We've found the best classic blueberry pancakes, red velvet pancakes, gluten- and dairy-free varieties, cheap and fancy ones, and crepes, too!
Read on for your next family brunch outing.
Bubby’s — Tribeca
Looking for those fluffy, melt-in-your mouth pancakes you recall from your grandmother? Meet Bubby's. The use of sour cream instead of milk (a James Beard recipe) are the secret to these fluffy pancakes at this Manhattan institution. Looking for something a little different?Try the sourdough version. The pancakes from the kids' menu also gives your little foodie the option to add either fruit or chocolate chips. Tough choice! Perhaps it's because I have a Bubby of my own, but this place makes me nostalgic with its old school, cozy feel. Oh, and the bottomless coffee is a nice touch.
Dessert for Breakfast
Sandwich Bar — Astoria
This beloved Queens spot does brunch right—meaning it offers a pre-fix brunch every day, so there's no need to wait for Sunday! Those with a sweet tooth will love the Oreo pancakes available on the a la carte menu. Quaint and cozy, but you'll always find a seat here. High chairs and friendly staff make the Sandwich Bar a great choice for families.
The vegan "bananarama" pancakes from Champs Diner come with chocolate chips. Image via Champs Diner.
Champs Diner — Williamsburg
For vegans, the lactose-intolerant or just those looking for an inventive twist on this classic food, try Champs Diner in Brooklyn's trendy Williamsburg nabe. This 100% vegan restaurant offers four varieties of pancakes: a classic hand-sifted pancake with the option to add fruit or chocolate chips, a decadent strawberry shortcake that comes with cake crumbles, bananarama and the rich red velvet pancake. Any of these choices will tickle vegan and non-vegan taste buds alike. There's even a gluten-free Belgian waffle option for those with other dietary restrictions. Fresh-squeezed juices, tofu scrambles and bottomless coffee will keep everyone happy.
Kids Will Flip For...
Norma's — Midtown
Norma's, located inside Le Parker Meridien, is a bit fancy but totally worth it. While there's no kids' menu per se, that's because the menu is chock-full of favorites like "irresistible banana-macadamia nut flap jacks" and pineapple-topped "Nutella-packed jacks." By the way, you'll find five French toast options and a gluten-free pancake stack, too. The prices run a little high, so this might be a good choice for that upcoming "Birthday Breakfast" or another special occasion. According to Norma's, they like kids "more than whipped cream," so the experience will not disappoint!
Perfect pancakes at Clinton Street Baking Company. Image by Takahiro Nagao via Flickr.
Sure to Satisfy All Taste Buds
Clinton Street Baking Company — Lower East Side
If you haven't yet discovered this narrow LES bakery and brunch spot known for its pies, biscuits and yes, pancakes, we're here to educate you. It's known for having THE best blueberry pancakes in town. A hard mantle to come by in foodie NYC. Not in the mood for wild Maine blueberries surrounded by perfectly plump pancake? (We'll try not to judge you.) Try the banana walnut or chocolate chunk versions, all of which arrive with a side of warm maple butter. Arrive in February when the joint celebrates Pancake Month and you can try a new flavor each week. Just check out the 2015 Pancake Month Menu and prepare to get excited for next February. Warning: The place is small, like everything on the LES, and popular, so the lines get really long. Put your name in and let the kids walk around while you wait it out.
Most Decadent Flavor for All Seasons
Café Orlin — East Village
Fall lovers rejoice. You no longer need to wait for crisp weather to enjoy pumpkin-flavored treats. Café Orlin serves delicious pumpkin flavored pancakes all year long. Topped with cinnamon yogurt, you can forgo the syrup and dig right in to this decadent breakfast.
Delicious crepes at Creperie NYC. Image by Jaysin Trevino via Flickr.
Crepes for the Win
Creperie NYC — West Village, Lower East Side
If you prefer your pancakes thin and crispy rather than thick and fluffy, crepes are just the ticket. Creperie NYC is one of the best, if not, the best on town. It offers 57 varieties of crepes, including sweet, savory, veggie and multiple chocolate fillings. The place is small so be prepared to take your crepe to go, or if you live in the area, get it delivered. You and your kids will be living it up Parisian style in no time!
Best In Brooklyn
Tom's — Prospect Heights
This Brooklyn gem boasts some of the best pancakes in this family-packed borough. Kids can choose from lemon ricotta, strawberry, chocolate chip, banana nut and a plate of silver-dollar pancakes. The homemade butter alone is worth the trip. The lines get long on the weekends, so if you can manage a weekday trip, you'll get in faster and enjoy a slightly quieter breakfast. Kids will love the colorful and cozy environment. We played "I-spy" while we waited for our food: There's tons to look at on the walls! Tip: Cash only at this old school spot.
Give the Chain a Chance
Big Daddy's — Several locations
New Yorkers are known for being a bit particular when it comes to their food, especially brunch. We want the latest and greatest, the newest and the best–and local is definitely in. But what if the best is a chain restaurant? That just may be the case at Big Daddy's. With pancake options like Berry Berry Yummy Pancakes and Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love, your kids are gonna adore this kitchy place. It ranks as one of the most kid friendly options with three locations in Manhattan and no lines for a table. My son loved the bacon cakes.
Mac-and-cheese pancakes at Shopsin's. Image by Mattias Kristiansson via Flickr.
Pancakes for the Quintessential NYC Kid
Shopsin's — Lower East Side
Shopsin's has a rep alright. Besides the long lines and the massive menu, the staff can be a little, uh, rough around the edges. But with more than 20 varieties of pancakes, no NYC pancake list would be complete without a mention of this iconic eatery located inside the famed Essex Market.
Tips for enjoying a meal at Shopsin's: Decide what you want beforehand; Keep your questions to a minimum; and be prepared for long lines. Leave the infant or tot at home, but older kids will go nuts for the mac and cheese pancakes and other varieties. Breakfast is served Wed-Fri only.
Pancakes not your thing? Try the chicken and waffles at Buttermilk Channel. French toast lovers look no further than Blue Ribbon Bakery.
Find more kid-friendly dining recommendations in the Mommy Poppins Restaurant Guide.