Pancakes

Whether you call them cakes or flapjacks, there’s no denying the power of the pancake to deliver a gut-filling, heart-warming morning meal.

Pancakes

Flappers

Colossal Cafe

The ownership changed, and so did the ambition—in a good way. Colossal has always been known for its Flappers, yeasty pancakes with a little zip and sass. Top them with apples and walnuts tossed in brown sugar and honey, crowned with brie, and it's a whole new world of savory and sweet. Now that you can enjoy them in a roomier second location (that's actually bigger than a postage stamp) in the Como neighborhood, these cakes are ready for some new love.

TOP IT OFF: Don't ignore the Flip, which is freshly whipped cream folded into a soft yellow cakey bun. 2315 Como Ave., St. Paul, 651-797-4027; 1839 E. 42nd St., Mpls., 612-729-2377, colossalcafe.com


Glazed Donut Pancakes

Good Day CafE

In this age of wacky mash-ups, we can get solidly behind the glazed donut cakes at this bright and sunny spot. Airy and light, almost creamy in texture, the cakes are hearty on their own, but when the kitchen geniuses top them with donut glaze and powdered sugar, they're magical.

TOP IT OFF: Rumor has it that GDC's fluffy soufflé omelets are made using the old Lincoln Del's method. 5410 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley, 763-544-0205, gooddaycafemn.com


CORN PANCAKES

Maria’s Cafe

When is a pancake a cult superstar? When people drive a hundred miles to get it. Any weekend visit to Maria’s will find those long-distance visitors. They come for the corn pancake, fat kernels of good yellow corn turned into something roasty and savory by owner Maria Hoyos’s authentic Colombian recipe. Add salty cotija cheese for a little more savor, add syrup for a little more intensity, or add both for sweet-salty-corny supremacy.

TOP IT OFF: The hot homemade salsa is kicky and so good it’s practically gulpable; order fried eggs just to dump some on. 1113 Franklin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-870-9842, mariascafe.com


Buttermilk pancakes

The Bad Waitress

A pancake arrives the size of a large New York pizza, flopping off the plate in every direction, heaped high with fresh-cut bananas and chocolate chips, and is so good because of the perfect yin-yang of sweet and tangy that good buttermilk batter always has. The exterior is glassy crisp while the interior is tender and fluffy, and it is ceremonious and over the top with real Minnesota maple syrup. If you seek more out of life than IHOP, Bad Waitress is for you.

TOP IT OFF: Fischer Farms bacon, the stuff the fancy restaurants use, makes the simple farmer’s breakfast awfully good. 2 E. 26th St., Mpls., 612-872-7575, thebadwaitress.com


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Hell’s Kitchen

Strange, is it? The literally underground space tricked out like a goth vampire’s wedding nest, and off in one corner a television the size of a movie screen shows Good Morning America? Strange, yes, but sort of great, especially if you order the lemon ricotta pancakes, fragrant with lemon zest, rich with ricotta, and as sweet as good cake. Snare a bite with a few of the fresh blueberries piled on top. That’s a good pancake, fresh and energetic.

TOP IT OFF: Add a slab of grilled pit ham—smoky, salty, and a good foil to anything sweet, including HK’s legendary caramel rolls. 80 S. 9th St., Mpls., 612-332-4700, hellskitcheninc.com


MORE GREAT STACKS


Diners

Diners

Not many people order Adam and Eve on a Raft these days when they want eggs and toast, but there are still pockets of greasy griddle-top cooking that bring you back to simpler days and simpler eggs.

Eye-Openers: Breakfast Cocktails

Morning cocktail anyone? From bloody marys to coffees, these drinks will give you a mighty wake-up call. Sip on these ten critics' picks.

Egg Sandwiches

Egg Sandwiches

A complete dish in your hands, the egg is the perfect food, especially when joined by some melty cheese, perhaps a little salty breakfast meat, and a bit of cheffy bravado.

Coffee Loves Pastry

Coffee Loves Pastry

If you have to grab and go, make it meaningful with both caffeine and pastry groups representing.

Family-Friendly

Family-Friendly

These places know how to make it a good morning for you while keeping the kiddos entranced.

Donuts

Donuts

The humble hunk of sugary fried dough can be as simple as cake or as funky as chai these days. These five represent.

Reservations Required

Reservations Required

Easter and Mother’s Day are the biggest brunch days of the year. Here are the classic spots if you want to call early.

Manly Mornings

Manly Mornings

Meaty and massive are perhaps the two main characteristics of a morning meal that will satisfy a manly appetite. Not that that’s necessarily a gender thing.

Ethnic

Ethnic

Morning is universal. You don’t have to stick with the same old eggs and cakes.

Late Night

Late Night

Tucking into a mess of eggs or stack of cakes at the end of an evening just seems to cap the revelry. Plus, it will carry you through until bloody mary time.

Don’t Diss the Buffet: 3 to Hit

Don’t Diss the Buffet: 3 to Hit

Three different spins on all-you-can eat brunch buffets.

Make the Drive: Worthy One-Offs

Make the Drive: Worthy One-Offs

These breakfast dishes make these dining spots a destination.

Andrew Zimmern: Make The Most of The Most Important Meal

Andrew Zimmern: Make The Most of The Most Important Meal

Three-egg omelets were fine when you filled up and headed outdoors to earn your living, but now we need more balance.

Beth Dooley: What’s So Special About Al’s Breakfast?

Beth Dooley: What’s So Special About Al’s Breakfast?

It has been six decades since the original Al—Al Bergstrom—started flipping hash in an 11-foot storage shed squeezed in the alley.

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