Does anyone really need an excuse to indulge in the highlight of American breakfast? Interestingly enough, “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday” didn’t get its name in America. A colloquial term originating in the United Kingdom and Ireland for Shrove Tuesday, i.e. Fat Tuesday or the Tuesday before Lent begins, Christians coined the phrase “Pancake Day” because it was the last day that milk, butter and eggs—which were forbidden during the abstinence of Lent—could be eaten. Pancake recipes were an efficient way to use up these ingredients before they would spoil during the 40-day fasting period.
Lenten sacrifice aside, Florida has its share of notable breakfast joints. The following are our Insiders’ favorite places to get a great stack of flapjacks:
Skyway Jack’s I & II. Skyway Jacks is a St. Petersburg institution in large part because of their fantastic pancakes. The chocolate chip pancakes are sweet, but not *too* sweet and the huge blueberry pancakes are a great value. Plus, the waitresses are the friendliest around. Original location: 2795 34th St S St Petersburg, FL 33711. Tel: (727) 867-1907. SJII: 11140 4th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716; Tel: (727) 576-4100.
Blue Heaven. Choose from Banana, Pecan and Pineapple pancakes in second-to-none Key West ambiance. Zest’s Best Key West Restaurant. 729 Thomas Street, Key West, FL. Tel: (305) 296-8666.
Farmer John’s Key West Café. On the other side of the state from Key West, this Brooksville café serves up a huge selection of pancakes–many not surprisingly, with a tropical flair. 966 E Jefferson Street, Brooksville, FL 34601. Tel: (352) 754-8787.
Connie’s Cafe. This understated New Port Richey breakfast place keeps it simple with diner standards—but always gets it right. 8165 State Road 52, Hudson, FL, 34667. Tel: (727) 862-8797.
Lester’s Diner. Open 24-7 since 1968, this campy Fort Lauderdale institution has been a perennial Insider favorite. Prices are cheap, service is good, and the pancakes (and milkshakes!) are even better. 250 West State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315. Tel: (954) 525-5641.