Favorite Pancakes in New England | Polly’s Pancake Parlor
Photo Credit : Chris Burnett
Please note that many establishments throughout New England have modified their hours and/or operations in response to COVID-19. Always check for the latest information before making travel plans.
Pancakes — so simple, yet so tricky to get just right. Size? Some prefer plate-sized cakes, others prefer silver dollars. Thickness? Could be fluffy as a cumulus cloud, could be thin like a French crepe. Density? Light as air, or requiring a hefty fork. Then there’s taste (not too sweet, not too bland), color (cooked through with the slightest crisp, but certainly no hint of burn), and ingredients (wild Maine blueberries, dark chocolate chips, plain buttermilk…). Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference. Here are some of our picks for the best pancakes in each New England state.
After 75 years, the pancakes from Polly’s are tried and true. Sure, it’s no longer all you can eat for 50 cents (as it was in 1938), but the signature dish is still as tasty as ever. The grains are organically grown and stone-ground in-house, and the unique maple spread served with the pancakes is homemade. The business is owned by the daughter and son-in-law of original owners Polly and Wilfred Dexter, and the restaurant — situated in the White Mountains town of Sugar Hill and decorated with antiques and relics of its early days — still has a homey feel. Even better, you can pick up one of their signature mixes and enjoy Polly’s in the comfort of your own home.
Learn more: Polly’s Pancake Parlor | Breakfast in the White Mountains
Consider Kristin’s the Ben & Jerry’s of breakfast. In addition to the classics (plain, blueberry, strawberry, banana walnut, chocolate chip), there’s a full wall of specialty flavors to suit every palate. Cookie dough? You got it. German chocolate? Coming right up. Birthday cake, coffee cake, butterscotch, fluffernutter? Yes to all, and more. The pancakes are wonderfully fluffy, served in stacks of three, and drizzled with syrups of every kind (or just maple). Located in Braintree, just south of Boston, Kristin’s makes for a great trip out of the city for breakfast or brunch.
North Haven standby State Street Café not only nails the texture and presentation of pancakes (a large, thick pancake centered on a plate, piled with toppings and drizzled with butter), but also offers a full list of worthwhile flavors to try, ranging from whole wheat to Oreo. For a particularly filling breakfast, look for the granola pancakes: whole wheat pancakes with a blend of nuts, granola, and dried cranberries on top. With the choice to order a single pancake, short stack, or full stack, you can be as indulgent as you wish.
If you make it far enough up the Maine coast to reach Damariscotta, then you’re just cheating yourself if you don’t stop at Crissy’s for a stack of pancakes. And if you’re a fan of Maine’s small but flavorful wild blueberries, try the blueberry version here. The cakes nearly fill a whole plate, are fluffy but filling, and come with a dusting of powdered sugar and Maine maple syrup; other worthy options include plain buttermilk and chocolate chip. The vibe at Crissy’s is warm and inviting, thanks to blue walls and brick accents in a cozy house on Main Street.
This bright spot on Broadway Street in Newport offers a comfortable setting in which to enjoy a beautiful array of pancakes. Create a dish of your own by starting with three of “Koko’s Pancakes” and adding blueberries, bananas, chocolate chips, raspberries, cranberries, walnuts, pecans, or almonds. Alternatively, opt for the savory “Alpine” option (three pancakes topped with sliced sausage, caramelized apples, and cheddar) or the sweet “Berry Cakes Supreme” (three pancakes topped with fruit, whipped cream, and walnuts). The café’s excellent reputation has made it a very popular breakfast spot, but a stack of these pancakes is worth the wait.
It’s maple sugar and Vermont spice, so it must be everything nice. This Mendon eatery is located in an authentic sugarhouse; in the spring, diners can watch the maple magic happen from their tables or make a day of it and tour the sugaring area, snack on some maple candies, and browse Vermont crafts in the gift shop. But the best way to try the maple syrup here? Over a stack of pancakes, of course. There’s chocolate chip, maple walnut, sugar and spice (cinnamon and maple sugar baked into the cakes), buttermilk, pumpkin, and blueberry — more than enough options to please the whole family.
Where’s your favorite place in New England to get a stack of pancakes? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.