Justin Fox Burks
For me, pancakes made at home are a disappointing mess. They are too thick or too thin, and sometimes, they burn around the edges. So imagine my delight when I discover Staks Pancake Kitchen at Poplar and Perkins. Here, I can finesse my inner chef with a hot griddle, a squeeze bottle of liquid butter, and a carafe of buttermilk batter, smooth and silky. Think Benihana for breakfast, but I get to do the cooking.
Interactive by design, the community griddles for making pancakes exemplify key passions for the restaurant’s owners: family, fellowship, and locally sourced food. “We wanted to make an investment in Memphis that was unique and fun for everybody,” says Tressa Ogles, a marketing executive with Regions Bank who opened Staks in September with her husband, Bill Ogles, and co-owners Brice and Stephanie Bailey.
Like the restaurant’s fun factor (Did that exuberant office party make it back from brunch?), the menu at Staks steered by brother-in-law Zach Ogles offers mix-and-match happy food for breakfast and lunch. The three-egg omelet marries salmon, pickled onions, cream cheese, and capers. The sausage and beef burger piles so many add-on’s between a soft onion bun that it comes with a serving fork to hold it all in place. Eat simple (Gouda grits from Hanna Farms), seasonal (gingerbread pancakes), or caveman-style with Porcellino’s bacon, either candied or Sriracha-jerk.
Beverages at Staks Pancake Kitchen mimic the food menu’s versatility. Try fresh-squeezed juices, a dozen different coffee drinks, or Wiseacre Gotta Get Up to Get Down on tap. Assistant manager Norfleet Washatka, a former bartender from Boscos, also spins more spirited concoctions like the Coco Chanel, a combination of hot chocolate and flavored vodka that tastes like whipped cream.
Staks Pancake Kitchen, 4615 Poplar Ave., 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (901-509-2367) $-$$