There is nothing better on a cold winter’s morning than a warm breakfast. That someone else cooks. So it was that my family became ensconced in a booth at Nick’s Original House of Pancakes. Located near the intersection of Ann Arbor-Saline Road and I-94, Nick’s has been serving breakfast and lunch for seven years. Owner Nick Panos has created a warm, large dining space full of natural light.
While the menu is bigger than your typical diner menu, so are the prices. There are jumbo gourmet omelettes, egg specialties such as the Baja Bennies with avocado and tomato, Belgian waffles and French toast. Diners can pick a sizzling skillet like the Fat Cat layered with hash browns, eggs, ground sirloin and veggies.
Lunch choices include burgers, sandwiches such as a BLT or Reuben, soups and salads. And of course pancakes, made from scratch and served with warm syrup, come in original and decadent versions, such as the fruit explosion with blackberries, strawberries, blueberries and bananas, or the Michigan cherry with walnuts. Specials include selections like pumpkin or blueberry lemon poppy seed pancakes that rotate with the season.
My son, 13, picked the chocolate chip pancakes topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar. After I spied another table’s pancakes, I urged the short stack— two versus three pancakes— costing 59 cents less ($7.70). I selected an Athenian omelette with spinach, feta, Greek olives, onion and tomatoes ($9.99) served with wheat toast and hash browns. Fried chicken and waffles ($12.99) appealed to my husband, while my daughter, 10, chose a Mickey Mouse pancake from the kid’s menu (all children’s menu items cost $5.49, including a drink). She added chocolate chips ($1.29), bacon ($3.49) and toast ($1.99). While we realized the chocolate chips were an upcharge, we failed to notice the bacon and toast cost extra. Our mistake. Other children’s menu options were eggs, French toast, grilled cheese, burgers or chicken fingers.
Heaps of hot food were served. My omelette was substantial, overflowing with feta and olives, perfectly cooked and accompanied by hash browns. My son dug into his chocolate chip pancakes. The short stack was plenty. I tasted them; the pancakes were fluffy and sweet. Meanwhile, my daughter munched contentedly on her pancake and toast, splitting her side of crispy bacon with my husband.
“The chicken is really good,” he commented.
“It has tasty allspice on it. The waffle is amazing, too.”
“Can I have some?” I asked.
“Seriously?” he replied.
“You have half a chicken!” I protested.
Indeed, his serving included four pieces and a waffle as thick as my waist. My indignation and 22 years of marriage garnered me ONE bite, which was yummy.
We found big portions that satisfied at Nick’s. As a testament to the colossal serving sizes, we spied members of the University of Michigan football team dining that morning. None of them took home leftovers. Plus, U of M quarterback Wilton Speight posed for a picture with us. Go Blue and Go Nick’s.
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Go early for dinner or try lunchtime on the weekends
Noise level: High if full
To avoid wait: Mid-morning on weekends is busiest
Bathroom amenities: Changing tables in both men’s and women’s
High chairs? Yes
Got milk? Yes. Assorted juices and soft drinks are available, too.
Kids’ menu? Yes
Anything healthy for kids? You can order sides such as sliced banana or oatmeal.
Food allergy concerns? Alert your server, who can help with ingredients. The kitchen cleans the grill and uses fresh utensils to prepare meals for those with allergies.