I’m not much of a breakfast person — at least not in the morning.
Gimme a bowl of beef stew or chili and rice after an early morning surf session, and I’m all good.
I prefer those for dinner, actually.
But when you pair them with, oh, say honey butter fried chicken, a la Pancakes & Waffles in the City Square Shopping Center, I can quickly change my eating habits!
This unassuming restaurant — in the shopping center with Sugoi and Koolau Farmers — boasts no frills or fanfare. And it plainly tells you in its name — Pancakes & Waffles — just what you’re getting yourself into.
The menu is any breakfast lover’s dream. There’s eggs Benedict done several ways, a dizzying variety of pancakes, French toast, loco mocos, crepes, fried rice, and a country breakfast with gravy over two buttermilk biscuits and Scottish bangers. It even serves plates lunches like Korean chicken, roast pork with gravy, beef teriyaki and country fried steak.
And you can’t forget about the famed chicken and waffles.
Pancakes & Waffles is owned by local boy Jason Sung, whose family runs the chain of Koa Pancake Houses around the island and previously owned Cajun Joe’s on Nimitz, which specialized in Cajun chicken.
Waffles. Chicken. You get the idea.
I wound up here after my car broke down in Waikiki after a surf session — and on my birthday, no less — and rediscovered my love for all things breakfast.
Here’s what we ate:
I wanted to try the waffles — but honestly, I knew I couldn’t eat the entire plate of them. So my mom and I shared the mini waffles (four pieces for $6.49), which was perfectly sized and golden brown. I love waffles because of their helpful pockets that catch all that butter and maple syrup. Genius invention, really.
My mom ordered the mini breakfast special ($5.49), which comes with two eggs, pancakes and meat. We had to try the pancakes — I mean, it’s in its name! — and wasn’t disappointed. I know this photo makes them look limp, but they arrived fairly fluffy and light. They’re served with whipped butter and syrup.
Being part Portuguese, I have an ethnic obligation to sample any vinha d’alhos (vinegar-marinated pork) I come across. And this was no different. (Side order is $6.29.) I know the Koa Pancake House version is pretty spot on, so I figured this would be about the same. And it was. Nicely vinegary and salty with a little heat from the Hawaiian chili peppers.
But the star, at least to me, was the honey butter fried chicken. Utter perfection. The sweet and the salty combo, paired with crispy skin and juicy meat, is unbeatable. I had sampled everything and was pretty full — but I finished the chicken. That tells you something!
Pancakes & Waffles, City Square Shopping Center, 1284 Kalani Street #D100. Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Phone: 808-847-7770.