Randall's Pancake House & Restaurant
305 Randall Road
South Elgin, IL 60177
June 9, 2009
Longtime readers of this blog might note a sorry lack of coverage devoted to pancake houses of the northern and northwest suburbs of Chicago. This isn't a deliberate shunning on our part, but an unfortunate sacrifice we've had to make due to rising gas prices over the past two years. At four dollars a gallon, it's a little hard to justify making an hour's drive just to get breakfast. I don't know about anyone else, but spending $40 on a tank of gas is enough to make me lose my appetite, anyway. With summer now upon us, it's even less likely that we'll venture much further north past route 64/North Avenue (let alone into the uncharted wilds of anything as far up as Lake County) just to try a new restaurant. There are a few that have been highly recommended to us several times, but that lie just out of our reach for the time being. We'll get to them someday, probably in much colder months than these.
For now, we were able to check out Randall's Pancake House in South Elgin, which might not qualify as a northern suburb but is a little off the beaten path for us. True to its name, Randall's is on Randall Road and on a stretch of it that's been pretty well developed over the past 5 years. I remember when it was all fields as far as the eye could see! Now there's a Super Target, an Outback Steakhouse and houses as far as the eye can see (on the other hand, I'm pretty sure that the Culver's has been there since pioneer times). Randall's blends into the strip mall on the east side of the road pretty inconspicuously, so look for Gyorr Avenue just south of the train tracks. "Strip mall" has become such a pejorative and loaded term, but I don't know any better way to describe a bunch of stores connected to each other in front of a big parking lot. Sorry!
I indulged in the berry blast pancakes. That's blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, plus whipped cream. All topping some seriously thick and fluffy cakes. Fruity pancakes? Whipped cream? That's kids stuff, right? Not anymore. This is real breakfast for adults, and anyone who underestimates what they're getting into is in for a big surprise. These were good, maybe not the best I've ever had but that's fine. There's a lot to choose from on their menu, the back page of which answers all all the questions you were too embarassed to ask. Breakfast looks like it's available anytime, but you'll need to take your late-night cravings elsewhere. They close at 3:00 on weekdays.
Ayinsan here. Randall's is a pretty nice place, overall. One of the drawbacks of going to a good pancake restaurant is that afterward, there isn't a whole lot to say about it except "it was good." The most interesting entries I've written are probably the ones where I've had something to complain about, but in this case, I really can't think of a single negative. Well, okay, the bathroom had a fake plant in the corner and I find fake plants kind of tacky in general, but overall it was still a good bathroom--cranberry-painted walls, nice mirror with a frame of bronze leaves, plenty of toilet paper, and a clean floor (very important). Anyway...
I got the banana chocolate chip pancakes, which come with warm, gooey chocolate chips both on top and baked into the pancake itself, along with fluffy tufts of whipped cream. Mmm-mmm. The banana slices were fresh and chewy, which is important. Nothing ruins a good pancake experience like mushy overripe bananas, but these were perfect. They give you quite a generous helping of pancakes, too. I usually have no trouble finishing a meal at a restaurant, but this time I had to take about a third of my pancakes home as leftovers.
I also got a side-order of sausages, which were delightfully plump and flavorful. I just reread that sentence and the phrase "plump and flavorful" sounds ridiculous to me, but really, it's the most apt description I can think of.