1961 W. Wilson
Batavia, IL 60510
October 10, 2006
Near the far south end of the Randall Road Sprawl sits Apple Villa, tucked away next to a music store and a saddle repair shop. The entrance to this strip of stores is actually off of Wilson Street by the Wendy's, so after making that turn just go all the way to the north end of the parking lot and you're there. But why follow these directions when you could just follow your nose, and the scent of golden, delicious apples slowly cooking from inside their famous brick ovens?
Alright, their ovens probably aren't made of brick. And there really isn't an overpowering apple scent inside the dining room, let alone outside on the streets. But there should be, or at least you'll think so once you taste their "famous Apple Villa pancake." Just getting an up-close look at it will make you reconsider everything you ever thought you knew about pancakes. Then again, if a pancake is as big as a deep-dish pizza and full of sliced fruit, is it really still a pancake at all? Regardless of whether or not it's actually a pancake, it's probably more famous than most other restaurants' "famous" foods of choice. After all, it's what they're building their brand and image on.
It's been a few years since I'd been to Apple Villa, but I remembered that the Apple Villa pancake was far too much for one person to eat on their own. So we decided to split one, and we ordered the 10" version of it with vanilla ice cream on the side. There's a smaller, 8" version too, but I assumed that wouldn't be enough for us. How wrong I was.
There's a minimum wait time of 20 minutes for the Apple Villa pancake, but I think we ended up waiting close to a half hour for ours. A warning before you dig in: it's dangerously hot, and it's going to stay hot for at least 15 minutes so eat slowly and carefully. Another warning: it's filling, and there's a lot of it to eat. A 10" pancake would probably feed four people. We only finished a little more than half of ours before giving up and taking the rest home.
Aside from the food, the restaurant itself is really nice. I hate to keep using this word, but it's a very cozy place. There's a lot of quality wood trim and glass around the booths, and a lot of tasteful Halloween decorations hanging up, too. I'm willing to bet they go all out with this stuff during Christmas.
I have no idea what the rest of their menu is like, but if you'd like to try something different and don't have an aversion towards apples (I can't stress this enough), then get your family or a few friends together and try one of their "famous" Apple Villa pancakes, or whatever they are.
Ayinsan here. As Joe said, if you do order the apple pancake, you will end up waiting awhile for it. Some recommended ways to pass the time: Stack the coffee creamers or jams into little pyramids. Pretend that lots of little people live in them. Then pretend to be an angry deity and knock down the pyramids with one sweep of your mighty hand. Or play betting games with them. Cover them with a napkin and then try to guess which flavor they have the most of. If you're right, you get to leave without tipping the waitress. If you're wrong, you have to stab yourself in the back of the hand with a fork.
No, just kidding, you should never leave without tipping the waitress. They live off of tips, and most of them are already half-insane from their stressful jobs, so it's not a good idea to push them over the edge. Who knows what might happen. The next time you come in, there might be a rusty nail on your chair. Or some anthrax might "accidentally" find its way into your coffee. Or someone might be waiting for you in your car when you leave the restaurant, and "accidentally" stick you in the ribs with a shiv.
But back to the pancakes. Yes, the apple pancake was quite good, with a consistency similar to bread pudding, and a delicious cinnamon glaze. Put some ice-cream on it and allow the ice-cream to melt a bit. I had my leftovers later that night for dessert, and it was just as tasty the second time around.