Sweet Maple Cafe
1339 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607-4706
January 12, 2009
We don't get a chance to go into "the city" as much as we'd like, but we're always looking for new restaurants to try when we do. Our exhaustive research for this usually consists of the painstaking process of typing "pancakes," "breakfast" and "Chicago" into Google, which usually yields a list of the usual suspects, most of which we've already investigated. This time, thanks to a glitch in Google's algorithms or a newly found combination of keywords on our side, we found Sweet Maple Cafe. Located on the west side, it's in a neighborhood we've never been to before but it was definitely worth the trip.
Sweet Maple Cafe isn't a big restaurant by any means, probably about half the size of most pancake houses we've been to, with room for about 40 or 50 customers to sit at a time. There isn't much of a waiting area, and forget about sitting down while you're waiting to be called for your table. There was a bit of a wait during our early Tuesday afternoon visit, but once we were seated the service was just fine. The menu is available on Sweet Maple's website.
I ordered the blueberry pancakes. Nothing fancy here, no handfuls of blueberries heaped on top, not even any whipped cream. But if the pancakes are in lacking appetizing visuals, they more than make up for it in each mouth-watering bite. These were the perfect consistency, chewy and sweet, everything coming together just right. Just sublime. I felt like the snobby and bitter food critic in Ratatouille during the climactic scene. A life-changing breakfast.
Some of the paint on the walls is peeled off and the floor is somewhat unfinished. If this bothers you then go back to IHOP and never leave Naperville again. Also, there's ample free parking in the lot across the street. You might have to enter it down an alley on the west side but it's really quite convenient.
Ayinsan here. When we arrived at Sweet Maple Cafe, there was a line extending almost out the door. In spite of this, we didn't have to wait very long. Maybe ten or fifteen minutes at the most.
While we were waiting for breakfast, I got a hot chocolate. Not my usual breakfast fare, but I was really hungry and needed something to take the edge off. Really good stuff. Smooth and creamy, sweet without being too sweet. For breakfast, I got a pancake meal.
The pancakes were some of the fluffiest and most delicious I've ever had. I once reluctantly awarded Cracker Barrel the honor of having my favorite pancakes (I say reluctantly because it's not even really a breakfast place, just a chain restaurant with a gift shop that hypnotizes me into buying things I don't need), but I'm pretty sure that Sweet Maple's pancakes are better than the Barrel's. And of course, they serve it with real maple syrup...but I expected that. I mean, if someone were to open a restaurant called Sweet Maple Cafe and NOT serve real maple syrup, well...I just wouldn't know what to say to them. I might just shake my head remorsefully.
Pancakes, eggs, sausage--all were above par. And the service was excellent. Enthusiastically recommended.