As a child, I remember ping-ponging in between John’s and Anthony’s Pancake Houses. Sitting directly across from each other on Montauk’s main drag, there were consistently lines out both doors. Usually, I made my early morning decision based on length of the lines, not quality of the product. Now that I am older, with a more discerning palate, my mealtime decisions have a criteria well beyond wait times (although, that still comes into play when my hunger shifts toward hanger).
As you make your plans for summer, use this guide to navigate through the Hamptons’ best spots for pancakes.
Bird on the Roof may not have “pancake” in the name like its Montauk neighbors, but it’s the best spot in town to get a fruit-topped stack. Although everything in Montauk is off the beaten path, more or less, you may easily look over Bird on the Roof, which is hidden along South Elmwood Ave. If you’re staying in town and without a car, you can easily jump from hotel to breakfast to beach with ease—and if you’re staying further out and don’t want to drive, feel free to indulge and then walk or bike ride home to work off breakfast. There will likely be a wait, so browse the adjoining gift shop and hope when your name is called that you’ll be seated on the outdoor patio.
Down the road and a quick left turn from Channing Daughters, one of my favorite East End vineyards, sits Estia’s, where the motto is “Clean Food, Long Life”. The menu borrows Latin flavors and dishes are prepared with local ingredients, a practice which awarded the spot a Slow Food Snail of Approval. While our lunchtime favorite are the fish tacos, at breakfast we’re all about the pancakes. Top your stack of buttermilk hotcakes with fresh berries in the summer and chocolate chips in the winter (or anytime, really, because who are we kidding?)
Now hear me out. Yes, this is a tiny grill that connects to the Poxabogue pro shop, but the last time I visited, two members of The Maidstone were also there enjoying a short stack before heading off to their more elite links. Now, if that doesn’t say something about the food, I don’t know what does. The pancakes are light, the coffee strong, and the service is fast and polite. Borrow (or buy) a copy of the East Hampton Star and read up on upcoming events in the area. This is not the spot to bring the entire crew—booths are small and quiet chatter is preferred. Feel like moving a little after breakfast? Rent some clubs, grab a bucket of balls, and walk the 50 feet to the driving range.
Ask anyone on the East End and they’ll tell you the Hampton Maid is the only spot in the Hamptons you should be eating stacks of pancakes. The inn and restaurant opened in 1959 by husband-and-wife team John and Marion Poulakis after driving by the hilltop hotel that overlooks Shinnecock Bay. The restaurant only serves breakfast, which is my favorite kind of restaurant. Pancake toppings change with the seasons, but the recipe remains the same year round. If you find yourself waiting for a table, which is entirely possible during busy summer months, enjoy your coffee sitting on an Adirondack chair on the porch while watching boats drift out into the Bay.
Eckhart’s is in the heart of Westhampton Beach and it’s been flipping both pancakes and burgers since 1911. The restaurant’s soda shop design still remains intact, including its tin ceiling tiles, wooden phone booth, and 1920s cash register. Bring your kids for a throwback to the good ole days or your penny-pinching friends who are looking for an inexpensive breakfast fix. Westhampton natives love that the restaurant is still owned by the same family after four generations of business and summertime visitors are excited about a hearty meal right in the thick of town goings-on. Take a quick walk to the Hampton Coffee Company if you need a caffeine fix while waiting for a table or, if it’s the first weekend in June or August, walk over to the Art Show to pick out a year-round reminder of your Westhampton Beach summer.