In midwinter, as darkness outpaces daylight, horses linger in the barn while people head for well-lighted cafés, following their noses to the aroma of hotcakes drenched with syrup. Here are some of the region’s best pancake places.
BUFFALO CAFE Whitefish, Mont. Daily specials vary between buckwheat, cornmeal, flaxseed, lemon–poppy seed, oatmeal, seven grain, and whole wheat pancakes "bigger than bowling balls." Topping choices include bananas, berry sauce, pecans, whipped cream, and yogurt. (406) 862-2833, www.digisys.net/buffalocafe.
CATEYE CAFE Bozeman, Mont. The Cateye’s creative cooks make buttermilk "kitty cakes" complete with whiskers, ears, and blueberry eyes, served with "catnip cream," an unbeatable yogurt-blueberry sauce. (406) 587-8844,www.cateyecafe.com.
GWENNIES OLD ALASKA RESTAURANT Anchorage. Nothing brightens a dark morning like Alaska-size sourdough hotcakes with a side of reindeer sausage. Check out the vintage photos and the mural of dancing caribou. (907) 243-2090.
HUCKLEBERRY THICKET Trout Creek, Mont. "I think nearly everyone orders our huckleberry pancakes," says owner Marla Hedman. "They’re just like the ones Mom served at our ranch." (406) 827-4438.
NO SWEAT CAFE Helena, Mont. Owner Debi Corcoran not only makes her flapjacks from scratch, she also sours milk for the batter. Her wheat-and-cornmeal pancakes have some crunch—and one fills a 12-inch plate. "If anyone orders two," jokes Corcoran, "I make them sign a release." Add berries, nuts, or raisins, then pour on real maple syrup. (406) 442-6954.
NORA’S FISH CREEK INN Wilson, Wyo. Just as good as any pioneer mama’s, the fluffy homemade hotcakes at this family-run place come topped with blueberries, walnuts, or chocolate chips. (307) 733-8288.
THE SHACK Missoula, Mont. Choose among buckwheat, buttermilk, honey, and whole wheat flapjacks, all as wide as a plate. Then dab with butter and top with blueberries, huckleberries, bananas—or even granola. (406) 549-9903.
Photography by Joshua/Wikipedia
This article was first published in January 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.