Come On, Get Slappy

Slappy Cakes, the newish make-pancakes-right-at-your-table restaurant on SE Belmont Avenue, was the most fun I’ve had for $10 in a long time, even trumping my last good paw through the Walgreen’s clearance section. And that’s high praise.

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Slappy Cakes has been open for nearly two months, but it took me a while to get there. I was put off by the make-your-own-pancakes philosophy, it seemed gimmicky, so I wasn’t in a hurry.  Now that I’ve been, I can’t stop telling people about it. 

Anchoring the east end of the converted Belmont Garage at SE 43rd & Belmont, the restaurant space is clean and industrial, with concrete floors, soaring ceilings, exposed ductwork and neat rows of basic wood booths and tables. Bright orange light fixtures brighten the room, as do the cushy high backed stools at the cook’s counter and bar.

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The full bar is stocked with local liquors like Aviation Gin, Lovejoy and New Deal Vodkas, and Clear Creek Brandy. The list of signature cocktails is bookended by “Whiskey For Breakfast” (whiskey, fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, egg whites) and a “Bubbles” menu. Orange and grapefruit mimosas are a reasonable $5.50 (blood orange $6.50), and fans of the darling pink cans of Francis Coppola’s Sofia Blanc de Blancs will appreciate The Pink Lady–a can of Sofia and your choice of juice or housemade syrup ($8).

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Along the back wall, four large canvas paintings demonstrate the basics of pancake making.

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The menu lists a half dozen or so breakfast plates ($7.50-$11.25), among them chicken fried steak, a chanterelle scramble, huevos rancheros, and chicken tinga, many of which can be made vegetarian or vegan. There’s a choice of four Slappy benedicts ($8.50-$12) and an a la carte menu sporting everything from one egg ($1.50) to Gypsy toast-brioche French toast stuffed with apples, apple caramel sauce, and whipped cream ($4.50).

We shared the housemade brioche cinnamon roll ($4), which is drenched in a not-too-sweet glaze and possesses a layer of creamy, tangy housemade cream cheese that makes it terrifically moist and tender.

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Anticipating the pancake carb load to come, we also ordered a bit of protein, in the form of one sunnyside up egg and two breakfast sausages, both of which were slightly oily but edible.

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Then, the moment we’d been waiting for. The Pancakes. Large griddles are built into the tables, and controlled by a temperature gauge beneath the table’s edge. When you order pancakes, the server takes a wooden shield off the griddle, turns it up, then comes over and oils the surface with a mixture of canola and rice oil, which has a very high smoke point and almost imperceptible flavor. Your table is neatly outfitted with various housemade syrups and other condiments, and whipped butter or vegan butter is served with your pancakes.

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You can order buttermilk, pumpkin, whole grain (which is also vegan), or Gluten-free pancake batter, which arrive in petite 8oz squeeze bottles. We ordered one bottle per person, and it proved to be excessive, we easily could have made do with two. Next, choose your fixins–we opted for the bananas, chocolate chips, dried cherries, red wine-tarragon applesauce, and blueberries. The blueberries had been frozen and thawed–I wish they had been fresh.

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We squeezed tentatively at first, getting our pancake legs, creating neat, traditional-looking pancakes.
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My first attempt was not pretty. How embarrassing.  
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The batter is hardy, and even when overcooked/undercooked/manhandled, the pancakes were quite tasty. We gained confidence, and creativity flourished.

Mette made some happy pancakes.
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Darin made some nerdy pancakes.
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I made some naughty pancakes.
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Parents should keep in mind that pancakes can be a very educational tool. Mette practiced her handwriting.
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We made pancakes for almost TWO HOURS. Let me tell you, once you get going making pancakes on your exclusive tabletop griddle/canvas, it’s very difficult to stop. But the line for a table had reached the double digits, so we asked for the check. It was $29.50, less than $10 per person, and we were so stuffed full of pancakes I could hardly eat but two hot dogs for lunch at Crafty Wonderland. It was a happy, slappy way to start a Sunday.

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SLAPPY CAKES TIPS
1. Try to get there early on the weekend, if possible. The line becomes truly ridiculous after 9am.
2. Before flipping pancakes studded with chocolate chips or blueberries, try to cover the chip or blueberry with batter, to avoid them burning when you flip the pancake, which creates an unpleasant texture, smell, and griddle residue.
3. Have fun with your pancakes.

Slappy Cakes * 4246 SE Belmont Ave. * Daily 8am-5pm * Slappy Hour Daily 2-5pm * 503.477.4805 * www.slappycakes.com

Merry Christmas from this happy slappycake.

Merry Christmas from this happy slappycake.