Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Omega Restaurant & Pancake House, Downers Grove

Omega Restaurant & Pancake House
1300 Ogden Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515

May 29, 2007


My Greek is a bit spotty, I'll admit, but a name like "Omega Pancake House" is not necessarily promising. Maybe I'm alone in this, but when I hear "omega," I think of the omega wolf, the lowest member of the wolf pack, basically the canine equivalent of that undersized, nearsighted kid who gets picked on by all the bullies at school. Maybe the owners of the Omega Pancake House are unaware of the negative connotations...or perhaps it's a deliberate attempt to tug at our heartstrings? A "support the underdog" kind of thing?

Probably not, but nonetheless, these connotations scampered about in my subconscious as we entered the Omega Pancake House. We were greeted by the traditional glass display case of tasty-looking desserts--always nice to see, even if we don't usually end up getting dessert at these restaurants. We were seated promptly and given a rather impressive basket of bread. Along with the usual saltines and rolls, it offered several different kinds of muffins, and a sign inviting us to take any unfinished bread home with us when we left. I kind of wished I'd asked for a bigger to-go container.

omegainside3 omegabread1

The menu offers the usual choices of pancakes, waffles, crepes, and french toast, with a few non-standard options, such as the Hawaiian pancakes (which Joe got). These are simply pancakes with pineapples on top. The menu also claims they came with "tropical syrup," but as far as I can tell, what we got was regular maple syrup.

omegahawaiianpancakes omegabananapancakes

I got the banana pancakes. They were tasty and filling, though not remarkable. The bananas were slightly underripe and chewy, which is, incidentally, exactly how I like them. Nothing worse than a mushy banana...unless you're making banana bread, in which case they're perfect. But I digress.

It's always slightly awkward when the waitress notices our camera and asks questions about it. In this case, the waitress seemed almost suspicious: "What are you doing? Taking a picture? What for?" As if she thought we were up to no good--perhaps spies from one of their rival pancake houses, sent to ferret out their weaknesses.

Joe here. Somewhere in the massive suburban sprawl of Downers Grove, you'll find the Omega Restaurant & Pancake House. Is it anywhere near Downers Delight? I have no idea. There's a reason that I-355 and I-88 were built; so you'd never have to actually drive through Downers Grove under any cirumstance. Is it related to the Omega Restaurant that I've passed by so many times in Warrenville? That location simply billed itself as "Omega Restaurant" on all of its outdoor signage and not as a pancake house in any way, shape, or form. As for the Downers Grove location, the "& Pancake House" portion of the name feels like an afterthought. An eight-page menu devotes about a single page to breakfast, less than half to pancakes.

omegainside1 omegainside2

For a Tuesday afternoon, the place seemed really busy. The service was good; despite the overflow of regulars for the lunch rush (you learn to recognize these people over time, they're the same wherever you go) we were seated quickly, our orders taken promptly. No complaints there. The food itself was... disappointing. My Hawaiian pancakes were just a regular order of pancakes with a handful of diced pineapples tossed on top. The banana pancakes? An order of regular pancakes with some banana on top, which may or may not have been applied using a Salad Shooter. Not much to get excited about, unfortunately. I wish I had more to say about my experience visiting Omega, but nothing left a strong impression on me. Maybe this is a destination better saved for lunch and dinner?



TJ said...

You missed the best pancake of all.. One better then you would find anywhere else in the country. The Large Apple Pancake that is oven baked. For small appetites they have a Junior Apple Pancake. They are to die for.... Also the Dutch Baby Miniatures and the Large German Pancakes are excellent. Omega is one of the top 100 restaurants in the nation in total sales and if you would notice they are busy from 7 am until 2 in the morning. A very good place for breakfast, lunch or dinner but the name is misleading, while they have pancakes they do not specialize in them.

Unknown said...

If regular pancakes are all you're interested in, you could go to anyone one of a dozen Family Style restaurants in Downers Grove, Woodridge, Darien or Bolingbrook. But the Omega has so much more to offer in the way of breakfasts. Their skirt steak and eggs are fabulous! But then again, Greeks are notoriously good cooks and bakers so I dare anyone to find something at the Omega that they didn't enjoy. P.S. The pastries are to die for!