De suburbs serving up some good breakfast

Big Dutch pancakes make a cross-city trek well worth it

De Dutch Pannekoek House is the latest addition to the ever-expanding suburban landscape in the Calgary community of Shepard. It’s a bit of a trek for those who don’t live on the southeast outskirts of town but it’s worth the drive.

De Dutch is a breakfast-and-lunch only place closing at 3 p.m. daily that specializes in Dutch pancakes or pannekoeks (pronounced pan-ne-kook ). Measuring 12 inches across pannekoeks are thicker than crepes yet thinner than regular pancakes. Serving as a canvas for ingredients ranging from savoury to sweet — from strawberries and cream to hashbrowns and eggs — the traditional way to enjoy a pannekoek is to roll it up with the toppings and then cut off bite-sized pieces. According to De Dutch’s menu if you cut one into one-inch square pieces you will enjoy 113 bites. I was too busy savouring this delicacy to bother testing their proclamation.

We arrived about 9 a.m. on a Sunday and while I expected it to be busy with Sunday morning diners we ended up having to wait about 15 minutes before being seated. Since it was the first weekend the restaurant was open the fact there was a line didn’t necessarily mean the food was going to be good. Luckily for us it was worth the wait. The hostess and wait staff were as welcoming as the sunny yellow décor and managed the breakfast service as if the restaurant had been open a long time.

I knew I had to try one of their signature dishes — served with a choice of regular maple syrup or “Stroop” a Dutch syrup that is thicker than regular syrup and tastes similar to molasses — but for those who might not fancy pannekoeks there are other breakfast options such as eggs Benedict and omelettes. There are also several burger options on the lunch menu.

I started with a cup of coffee ($2.35) and my better half had fresh-squeezed orange juice ($4.25). We ordered immediately from the kids’ menu for our little one hoping to occupy him with food as quickly as possible.

The kids’ menu offers a miniature pannekoek with your choice of toppings and/or fillings. Since we let our son pick he took the opportunity to try the Froot Loop-filled pannekoek ($6). While I can’t say with certainty it’s something the masses will enjoy he finished the whole thing save for two bites.

I settled on the debratwurst ($13) consisting of two bratwurst sausages split lengthwise two Born 3 eggs and two slices of tomato. De Dutch only uses Born 3 eggs. They’re produced by chickens raised on a specialized vegetarian feed made from flax seed wheat corn and soybean meal that produces eggs high in omega-3 polyunsaturates and lower in cholesterol than standard eggs.

My wife tried the apple and cheddar pannekoek ($13) with a side of debakon — a tasty house specialty of thinly sliced pork cottage roll similar to fried ham.

Infused with apple chunks and topped with circular slices of apple her dish showed how De Dutch pannekoeks manage to float the line between sweet and savoury and do it quite well.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and the popularity of this location will convince the chain’s owners to open one in Calgary’s inner city but until that happens we agreed we’d be willing to head back to the suburbs despite the lineups.