Made-from-scratch recipes and fresh ingredients have been setting The Original Pancake House apart from its breakfast-spot competition since 1953. That's when its owners established an all-day empire committed to ingredients such as pure hard-wheat unbleached flour and butter made from fresh sweet cream.
Today, The Original Pancake House cooks across the country still construct scrambles and omelets from fresh Grade AA eggs. Powdered sugar lines the rims of oven-baked dutch baby pancakes, and granny-smith apples simmer in oven-baked pancakes (two of more than a dozen styles of pancake on the menu). Even the toppings are made in-house, including whipped cream, specialty syrups, and sauces. To complement these flavors, staff fill cups with fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and coffee blended specially to match the Original Pancake House's menu and upholstery. Although each location takes on the local charm of its surrounding city, all of them share in common a homey atmosphere that welcomes families with perks such as color-in place mats and kids' menus.
Name aside, The Original Pancake House isn't just a breakfast spot?in fact, it stays open for three meals a day, or six if you follow most doctors' advice to take a small pancake break every few hours. The savory side of the menu holds meat-and-egg combos and savory crepes stuffed with cheese and veggies.
Beneath the softly glowing paper lanterns above the sushi bar, chefs at Happy Teriyaki #4 are hand rolling maki destined for individual plates. But it's the signature sauce, fresh vegetables, and charcoal-broiled meats in their teriyaki dishes that are their claim to fame: the restaurant earned the title of Best Teriyaki in Evening Magazine and KING 5's Best of Western Washington awards in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
The owners' pride in their work is not only evidenced by their artful and flavorful culinary creations but also by the restaurant's inviting ambiance. Colorful Japanese screens add a touch of authentic flair to the dining room, where high-backed, private booths prevent fellow guests from copying homework. Beyond praising the "fast, tasty and affordable" food, Jennifer Johnson of the Weekly Volcano commended the staff for "service [that] has not only been efficient and swift but pleasantly provided."
When you grow up on a farm, and you discover you love flipping burgers as a teen, you tend to have pretty high standards for the patties you serve. That's the story of Bob Kildall, whose rural upbringing near Lynden, and fervor for good food, coalesced into some seriously great eats. After founding The Ronde-Voo Drive In at 25 and buying Bunk's Drive In shortly after, Bob attached his own name to his grillside handiwork.
Opened in 1982, Bob's Burgers and Brews has since sprouted a bevvy of locations across the region. At each one, diners dutifully show up for the burgers. Lots and lots of burgers. The menus tout twenty beef and chicken burgers, including the Grilled Sourdough, topped with Swiss and bacon, and the Western Bar-B-Q, topped with American cheese, bacon, and crispy onion rings drenched in Sweet Baby Ray's. These burgers share table space with sandwiches, salads, and, at some locations, breakfasts and Sunday brunches. Burgers
In addition to signature sammies, each location also sports a lounge, where patrons can sip draft beers and expertly made cocktails from the comforts of cozy seating. Faces often stay lit by the glow of plasma TVs, which flicker with highlights and live action from sports around the country.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,150 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs, slicing it into bite-size nuggets, or using it to build historically accurate Austrian villages. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex?s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Hermann Harris, owner of Cattin's Family Restaurant, manages to capture a little bit of everyone's childhood in his menu. Breakfast plates piled high with pancakes and eggs recall lazy Sunday mornings whereas hearty dinnertime entrees such as the popular chicken-fried steak or the Yankee-style pot roast bring to mind trips to grandma's house. Even Hermann's business model keeps kids as the focus: Monday through Wednesday ages 12 and younger eat for free and get a complimentary toy.
Yet grownups find Cattin's just as welcoming. Open 24 hours on most days, the diner makes a great spot for a late-night slice of homemade pie or a super-early cup of coffee at the counter. Sirloins and seafood also pin Cattin's as a hub for a dinner date or for the final showdown between surf and turf.