Trouble With Toast

Be Like the Bluebird | October 6, 2009

Many weekends, my hubby and I go out for breakfast.  Highland Bakery is always a favorite, as we can bring the pup and eat outdoors (and they have a very respectable eggs Benedict and some darn good home fries).  Gato Bizco is also a winner, with its yummy buttery biscuits and HUGE omelets.  During a recent weekend, however, Jason convinced me to try something new.  That’s how we found ourselves at Ria’s Bluebird on a sunny Sunday morning.

We got there around 11 AM, and there was a sizeable group waiting outside.  It was a beautiful day, though, so the 45-minute wait was much more pleasant than I anticipated.  As we were perusing the menu, I noticed that Ria’s claimed to have the “world’s best pancakes” (a claim that was further authenticated by the New York Times, apparently).  Anytime a restaurant (or any other business, for that matter) says that it has the best of something, I am immediately skeptical.  It is bold to claim to be superlative in ANY sense, so I’m always waiting for the letdown.  Hey, I can’t be an optimist ALL the time.

Once we were seated at the bar, we decided on a plan of attack.  Jason would order “today’s omelette” (which was filled with tomatoes and blue cheese) and I would order the breakfast burrito (with eggs, black beans, salsa verde, and sour cream), and then we would split a short stack of the pancakes with caramelized bananas.  Hey, don’t judge, waiting made us hungry.  Because of the blue cheese component, I wouldn’t touch Jason’s omelette, but he scarfed it down and said it was tasty.  The burrito was HUGE and quite good, with the beans being cooked nicely and the salsa having a very refreshing flavor (though it could have used a bit more kick for my liking).  Opinions were split on the accompanying biscuits–Jason really liked them, but they were definitely not my style (these were more like bread or cake than true biscuits).

Then…there were the pancakes.  As skeptical as I was, and as much as I wanted to prove Ria’s menu (and the NYT) wrong, I have to eat crow and tell the truth.  These pancakes were absolutely, positively, without fail THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD.  Period, end of story.  The pancakes themselves were delicately sweet but not too sugary, so the addition of maple syrup and caramelized bananas was decadent without being cloying.  The part that amazed me more, though, was the texture.  The pancakes were so light and so fluffy that I asked our server in amazement, “How do they MAKE them like that???”  Utterly fabulous, and worth every sinful calorie.

Service was fine, though it was very busy so there wasn’t as much checking in as I’d usually prefer.  Prices were in line with other breakfasts in the area.  The menu is somewhat small, but with those pancakes on the list of available items, I’m not sure you need a litany of other choices.  The wait was really the only downside, so I wonder if taking some pancakes to go would be a decent option if one was really starving.  Overall, I’d say our first trip to Ria’s was a sweet success, and I will continue to dream about those pancakes until I can plan a return trip.



  1. Why haven’t I heard of this place before? It sounds awesome. I can’t wait to try it!

    Comment by Brittany — October 6, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  2. I’ve never had a pancake that survived more than three minutes between griddle and consumption, and that just might be my personal peccadillo when it comes to flapjacks. So I wouldn’t recommend the carry-out option unless you’re going to eat them whilst waiting in line for breakfast.

    Comment by restaurant refugee — October 6, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  3. Brittany: Welcome! Not sure why you haven’t heard of it, but it’s right there across from Oakland Cemetary in Grant Park, on the same strip as Six Feet Under and the Standard and whatnot.

    RR: You may very well be a genius. Getting an order of pancakes to eat WHILE waiting for breakfast is the best idea ever.

    Comment by bettyjoan — October 6, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  4. […] in the coming year.  Also in October?  I met Kevin Gillespie and discovered the beauty of the perfect pancake.  I made bread for the first time in November, and in December, after a really cool interview, […]

    Pingback by 2009 – Full Throttle, Full Circle « Trouble With Toast — December 29, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

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