Best of 2000: Best Pancake Joint In Town

The Family House of Pancakes
562 Broadway, Chula Vista
(619) 425-5133

Thirty-six years ago, Mrs. Spizzano arrived from Italy with her husband and family and started this modest restaurant with one aim. "I'm not here to make money," she'd always say, "I'm here to make a living." Maybe that's why you get 12-egg omelets, and pancakes so popular that on Saturday mornings people line up around the block. They've even installed benches for them outside. Their recipe is "so secret," even Betty, who has been waitressing here 29 years, doesn't know it. "Cooks still haven't told me," she says. But it's not just flavor. It's quantity. Order a two-egg breakfast with pancakes ($4.25), pay $1.50 more to get the Idaho potato pancakes, and watch three big white china plates appear: one loaded with two eggs over-easy and a slew of thin-sliced home-style potatoes, the second with three potato pancakes (plus bacon and butter), and the third plate with whipped cream and apple sauce. The Idaho pancakes taste brown and fresh and tender and moist and distinctly potatoey. But load 'em up anyway with the apple sauce and cream, and pour boysenberry and apricot syrups on them from slide-top jars. You will come to a sticky end, friend. Sticky but very happy. Open 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., seven days.

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