I have to admit, normally I am not a huge fan of the "cook your own food" trend in the restaurant business. When I go out to eat I want to do as little work as humanly possible. I'm a pretty classic restaurant guy after all. I like to sit down in a comfy chair, nurse a glass of wine, and just enjoy the anticipation of a complete meal being delivered to my table.
However, I am going to make an exception for Slappy Cakes. If there is any food on this earth that is fun to make yourself, and nearly impossible to mess up, it is pancakes. I mean, there is just something satisfying about flipping a pancake and eating it straight from the griddle, and something even more satisfying about watching your friends do the same thing.
Located in a converted garage along a trendy strip of southeast Belmont, Slappy Cakes offers a large, open, brightly lit dining area, and ample seating with table top griddles. The griddles aren't obnoxiously large, in fact they feel a bit quant and cosy. They kind of reminded me of the old table top Pac-Man arcade games from the 1980's, but instead of a video screen you have a small griddle between you and your fellow restaurant patron.
So how does it all work? Well, you start by selecting a batter. You could go with a classic buttermilk batter if you want or you can get more adventurous with options like peanut butter batter. From there you pick your topping, or multiple toppings. There are a ton of options for those who prefer their breakfast food sweet or savory or a bit of both including bacon, cream cheese, fruits of all sorts, fancy butter, you name it. I'm typically have more of a savory pallet and I didn't find myself wanting more to choose from.
For those in your part that prefer to go meat-less, Slappy Cakes has got you covered! They have a vegan pancake batter option and plenty of toppings including dried fruits, nuts, and a whole lot more. I personally really appreciated this option as I have a lot of vegetarian and vegan friends and finding breakfast joints that provide a hearty list of food options can be tough to come by, even in Portland.
So taking all of this into account, the real question becomes, does it taste good? I know it is pretty tough to get a pancake wrong but lets face it, we all know it's possible. Nothing will ruin your day faster than a gross soggy pancake first thing in the morning. Bad coffee I can embrace, but bad pancakes!? No thank you! Recently the crew at PDX Urban decided to give Slappy Cakes a try and we had a wonderful time and walked away feeling mighty satisfied. I personally ordered the buttermilk batter, some goat cheese, and bacon and yes indeed, it was all mighty tasty. Toward the end of the meal I even cooked up a few more pancakes to save for lunch.
Even better, the wait staff was friendly and seemed to know how to handle large crowds of people. Those familiar with the popular breakfast scene in Portland know how much of a skill that is. We visited Slappy Cakes on a Tuesday morning and it was pretty busy. I can only imagine the crowds that show up on any given weekend morning.