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
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
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
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
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