Thursday, November 20, 2008

Flappy Jack's Pancake House: Get your kicks and your pancakes on Route 66.

Route 66 is the most iconic roadway in the country, maybe the world. It has a long time feud going with a very jealous Autobahn. Numerous songs have been written about Route 66 and it even starred in its own tv show. The Autobahn only has one song. And although Route 66 probably runs over its fair share of ancient Indian burial grounds, it still holds the moral high ground over its Germanic foe. And somewhere a punch-drunk Silk Road is wondering 'what happened?'
Number One Diner Companion Antoinette and I went for a drive down historic Route 66 looking for a breakfast joint. Once the bloodline of travel through the southwest, the 66 is now bypassed by most in favor of the freeways. The closer you are to civilization, the more common it becomes with strip malls, Jiffy Lubes and other trappings of the suburbs. Although traffic has changed, we knew that a classic eatery must be along this legendary road.

When I saw the sign for Flappy Jack’s, I knew we need not travel farther. This felt good. This felt right. Then when I saw the crowd of people outside, about 20 to 30 strong, I felt really annoyed.

Lots of people waiting could mean a few things: maybe the food is really good; maybe the service sucks or they are overwhelmed; maybe the after-church crowd is just really lazy and doesn't want to eat that far away after visiting God's House.
I ducked inside while #1DC Antoinette parked the car. I asked about the wait and was told 30 minutes. I put my name in and was handed a restaurant beeper.

I am not a fan of restaurant beepers. Ingenious idea for an Outback or a Red Lobster, it's practical but impersonal. I want someone to have to shout out my name and look anxiously around for a minute to see if anyone responds. I want someone to then look annoyed and peer around after shouting out my name a second time before I respond. This is what I like.

After waiting the full thirty minutes and looking over the window menu time and time again, I went back inside. Just as I was about to ask how much longer it would be, the beeper—which did not beep—flashed its red LED lights and vibrated in my hand. I felt like I had just won something. I had just won not having to wait anymore.

The walls of Flappy Jack’s are painted with scenes of the high points of Route 66: woody station wagons, car hops and...Al Capone.

Having had more than enough time to look over the menu, ordering was easy. At the window menu, my mind might have changed a dozen times, but one thing was for sure: I knew I had to get pancakes. It's a pancake house, after all. The only problem was, what kind? I thought the strawberry stuffed pancakes would be a winner. Or maybe the bacon pancakes? Then when we sat down I saw the placard for the seasonal Pumpkin Nut pancakes! Seasonal pancakes always win out.

The pancakes had a nice subtle pumpkin flavor. It's hard to get pumpkin just right. The walnuts added a nice crunch to the pancake in almost every bite. I had been hoping for something a little special with the syrup, but it's just not that kind of place. The eggs were decent and the bacon was crispy without crumbling into bits.

#1DC Antoinette ordered the french onion soup and the turkey avocado melt. Our waitress brought out a gang of packaged crackers, including rye crisps, my favorite restaurant crackers ever. I promptly made Antoinette load up her purse with them. The soup also came with a large thick slice of bread to sop the soup with. She thought the soup was good; not earth-shattering, but good.

Interestingly the pasta salad that came with the sandwich was made with orzo pasta and included pine nuts, which seemed very frou-frou for a place like this. The sandwich itself was decent with fresh tasting ingredients and thick cut bread. The fries were nicely golden and crispy.

Flappy Jack’s was good. It is clearly a popular place in Glendora. A lot of people eat there. A lot of people eat at Dennys and Chillis, too. I was only disappointed that it wasn't more homey. It really lacked charm. It seemed stuck in a weird middle place of classic family dining and trying to appeal to..well, to people who go places where they give you beepers.

Food: Good.
Service: Friendly.
Price: You are looking at $8-11 for most things. Beware the sides, which run around $4 to $5 each.
Pie: None.

640 West Route 66
Glendora, CA 91740

Note: Hours
M-Sat: 6am to 3pm
Sun: 7am to 3pm

1 comment:

offwhiteknight said...

My wife and I have eaten there several times and couldn't agree more. The pancakes are great, everything else is good, but the atmosphere does leave something to be desired.