For an indulgent breakfast, warm, rich pancakes are hard to beat. While Stone Age cooks were believed to be grinding flour and cooking it in hot patties as long as 30,000 years ago, the first American pancake, or “Johny Cake” as they were once called, appeared in a cookbook in 1796. If you’re looking for modern day pancakes in Charlottesville, VA, be sure to try the wonderful pancake dishes offered at the 5 restaurants below:
1. The Nook
The Nook in downtown Charlottesville is a popular weekend breakfast and brunch spot for good reason. Their breakfast portions are tasty, hardy, and skillfully prepared. With lovely, aged mahogany booths, a bar, and an outdoor café, The Nook, which has been in operation since 1951, is a great breakfast spot (and is open for other meals as well). Their fluffy buttermilk pancakes and full breakfast menu are available all day.
2. Tip Top Restaurant
Tip Top on Pantops also serves breakfast all day, as well as lunch and dinner. With retro diner décor, ample seating, and quick service, Tip Top is a great choice when you need to scratch an itch for old-fashioned, traditional breakfast. Also, if you’re looking for a wide variety of pancakes, they offer buttermilk, buckwheat, corn, chocolate chip, strawberry, banana nut, and pecan.
3. Blue Moon Diner
With breakfast all day and weekend brunch specials, the old school and eclectic Blue Moon Diner on Main St. does breakfast right. They offer their delicious buttermilk griddle cakes in a three-stack or as one single on the side. For a fun surprise addition, the pancakes come topped with powdered sugar that is stenciled into images and portraits from retro and contemporary pop culture. They are also open for lunch and dinner and regularly have local live music in the evenings.
4. Bluegrass Grill and Bakery
Just across the train tracks from the downtown mall lies Bluegrass Grill and Bakery, in The Glass Building, and they’ve been open since 2011. It’s made from scratch fare is very savory, plentiful, and popular; on a weekend morning you may want to get there early and be prepared for a possible short wait. But planning ahead is well worth it, because their rich buttermilk or honey wheat biscuits in stacks of two or four won’t disappoint. Their website shares this description from a review in The New York Times: “hearty southern comfort fare.”
5. The Flat: Takeaway Crêperie
If you prefer thin, sweet crepes to thicker pancakes, The Flat specializes in delicious, warm crepes offered with a variety of savory and sweet fillings. They are located on the Water St. side of the downtown mall and are open at 11 Friday-Saturday and at 10 on Sunday. Their “Greene Eggs” and “Hangover Relief” breakfast crepes are served all day. The Flat is a charming, compact space and has limited seating, so you may be taking your crepes to go.
Because Charlottesville has such a diverse and thriving restaurant scene, this list is certainly not exhaustive. But hopefully it will give pancake breakfast fans and connoisseurs some good ideas of where to start exploring Charlottesville’s pancake offerings. Enjoy!