We're always on the lookout for breakfast places close to our home and Cindy noticed a new one that had opened up last September in Bettendorf called Jimmy's Pancake House (see map). We were driving by the place one day and she pointed it out to me. "I want to try that place sometime," she said to me. One recent Saturday morning, we did just that.
The building that houses Jimmy's Pancake House has seen a number of restaurant or food establishments over the past few years. For a number of years, it was a Pickerman's Deli - a small franchise chain of soup and sandwich shops found primarily around the Midwest. After the local franchisee closed her two Iowa locations, the former Pickerman's in Bettendorf became a place where dinner entrees were made in advance and people on the go could go in and grab something for their family on the way home to heat up in the oven or microwave. That didn't last much longer than a couple years.
A Greek family from the Sterling/Rock Falls area in Illinois came in last summer and renovated the restaurant into a breakfast/sandwich shop that seats just under 50 people. They open at 6 a.m. daily and close at 3 p.m. In addition to a full breakfast menu, Jimmy's Pancake House features a number of sandwiches and salads. And like any Quad City area breakfast place worth their salt, they also feature a huge cinnamon roll on their menu. If you're going to serve breakfast at a restaurant in the Quad's, you've got to have a big cinnamon roll.
Jimmy's was packed the first time we went in - we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table to open up. Cindy said, "Well, that's a good sign, I guess. If you have to wait for a table at a place like this, it must be pretty good."
We finally got a booth in the back corner of the place and the very pleasant waitress gave us our menus to look over. The light colored walls and large front windows help make Jimmy's bright and open. Pictures of famous Greek landmarks adorned the walls.
The first thing that caught my eye on the menu was that Jimmy's Pancake House had the normal staples of a breakfast menu including pancakes, French toast and waffles - but you could get your choice of fruit toppings including strawberries, apples and blueberries. Well, I'm a sucker for anything to do with blueberries for breakfast. The only problem is that some restaurants we've visited in the past will use blueberry pie filling or compote instead of just using fresh blueberries. I decided to give Jimmy's blueberry-topped waffle a try. The waitress asked if I wanted whipped cream on top of them, as well. Sure!
Cindy has been taking some cooking classes over the past few months and one night she learned how to make crepes. She made some homemade blueberry crepes for a dessert one evening and I have to say that they were pretty damn good. She wanted to try Jimmy's cream cheese crepes, topped with a hollandaise sauce.
Being that it was pretty busy in Jimmy's Pancake House, it took over 15 minutes for our breakfast to show up. But that wasn't too bad of a wait. And I completely forgot about the wait once she laid the waffle down in front of me.
The waffle covered the nearly the whole plate and five whipped cream mounds topped the waffle. The blueberries - fresh and not pie filling (a plus!) - waited underneath the whipped cream. Even though it was processed whipped cream from a can, it was still pretty tasty on the waffle. It's pretty tough to screw up a waffle, but the blueberries and whipped cream really gave it a great taste. It was very good.
Cindy was overly happy with her crepes. She gave me a bite and I will say they were pretty good. She didn't know if the hollandaise sauce was homemade or not, but she said that it really didn't matter. The crepes were very good. She said asked me if I was going to write about Jimmy's Pancake House and I said that I probably would. She said, "Don't write about it until we've come back and I've tried their fruit filled crepes."
Just before Christmas, we went back to Jimmy's for breakfast again. This time - once again after a short wait for a table - I was looking to get one of their three-egg omelets. Their Greek omelet sounded pretty good - it features gyro meat, onions, tomatoes and feta cheese. But I ended up getting their sausage and cheese omelet. I asked the waitress if I could get some mushrooms in the omelet. She said, "You bet!"
She asked me if I wanted either toast or pancakes for a side. I said, "Hmmm... Pancakes? Really? OK, I'll go with the pancakes." I wanted to try them out.
Cindy, for some inexplicable reason, changed her mind at the last moment from getting the strawberry crepes to getting pancakes with two eggs over easy and a side of bacon. I said, "Wait a minute. I thought you wanted to come back to get some fruit crepes? You could have just had a few bites of my pancakes. I won't be able to finish them all."
She said, "I don't know. I thought pancakes sounded pretty good."
When the waitress brought out the omelet and pancakes, my eyes had to grow about three times their normal size. The omelet was big and fluffy. The only caveat was that they had taken sausage links and cut them up to use in the omelet - I'd rather have ground sausage or sausage chunks in an omelet. Oh well. But the mushrooms were fresh - a plus. But I would have liked to have a little more cheese on the omelet. I had to try to open the thing up to see if they had actually put any cheese on the omelet. They had - just not a lot.
The pancakes were huge, too. My side of pancakes were basically the same size as Cindy's main order on her plate. They were a little more thick than I like (Cindy makes homemade crepe-like pancakes that are to die for), but they were pretty good. A large helping of hash browns came along side the omelet. It was way too much food. I told Cindy that it reminded me of some of the breakfasts we had in Hawaii during our trip there nearly a year ago.
There was no way that I could finish the whole breakfast. The omelet was just too big and fluffy. I had about a third of my pancakes and - maybe - two bites of the hash browns before I had to say, "No mas!" Cindy made an appreciable dent in her pancakes, but couldn't finish it, either. One thing that I do want to mention about Jimmy's Pancake House is that they have great bacon. It's thick and tasty, some of the best restaurant bacon I've ever had.
I was telling a friend of mine who lives within walking distance to Jimmy's Pancake House that we'd been there a couple times so far. He said, "Isn't that place awesome? Next time you guys go there, call us up and we'll meet you there!"
We'll definitely go back. Jimmy's Pancake House has good food at a very good value. The service can be a little slow, but only because it's a pretty popular place. I was pretty impressed with my two visits so far. With a lot of choices for good breakfasts in the Quad City area, Jimmy's Pancake House has become one of the best in a very short time.