When Les Highet and Erma Hueneke founded the in 1953 in Portland, Ore., they probably couldn’t have guessed their take on pancakes from around the world would spawn over 100 franchise locations, including Tom Bruins’ outpost in Maple Grove.
But maybe it’s not so crazy. Consider the Original Pancake House’s specialties: the apple pancake, a single cake smothered with sautéed apples, cinnamon and sugar; or the Dutch baby, a bowl-shaped, oven-baked pancake that’s slathered with butter, squeezed lemon and powdered sugar. Who’s not gonna like that?
True, depending on what you order, OPH probably isn’t the best for those on a diet. Who cares. One of the many beauties of restaurant dining is eating what’s difficult or impossible to cook at home, and using that logic it’s just plain sensible to indulge as experts handle dishes like these.
But even for plain ol’ bacon and eggs, the OPH handles it with aplomb. I could eat their thick-sliced bacon every day – in moderation, of course.
And omelettes (another often-tough-at-home food) are another highlight, skillet-cooked and then oven-baked to ensure consistency. There’s gourmet crepes, too, like the continental with orange liqueur, sour cream and tropical syrup; and the cherry kijafa, which combines tart cherries and Danish cherry wine. Given the options, choosing your breakfast can be difficult.
What’s also nice is the atmosphere in Maple Grove’s OPH. Opened in a relatively young building, Bruins has managed to capture a bit of the 1953 original (I imagine) with a large stone fireplace, warm woodwork and friendly service. Historic OPH photos line the walls, giving you a sense that you really are eating the same apple pancake your mother or grandmother did 50 years ago. And by the way, she’s probably sitting next to you, eating another, because if there ever was a restaurant to please all generations, it’s OPH. My 3-year-old wouldn’t know where to begin with all the attractive options; narrow it down to a giant bacon slice and pancake, and he’s quiet for 30 minutes.
The only drawback to dining at the ever-popular OPH can be the wait. It’s well-known at OPH locations around the metro that if you try to go at prime time on the weekends, you’re likely not going to be seated instantly. So, plan around it. I’ve arrived after 12:30 on weekends and never had a problem, and besides, that’ll give you the morning to walk around a lake and make you feel like you deserve the Dutch baby.