To nab a table at the Magnolia Pancake Haus on a weekend can warrant quite the wait, and the press of bodies makes it hard to hold a conversation over the intermingling of competing chatter and kitchen clatter. I took the cue to hit the popular restaurant on a Tuesday morning, and it was still packed. I took a seat at one of Magnolia’s spacious booths and absorbed a dollhouse atmosphere of pure sunlight and quaint wooden tables set against a backdrop of ivory and coastal green walls. The haus was perfectly neat and void of gaudy accents. I embrace simple presentation in a restaurant; it usually signifies that the focus hinges on awesome food.
Upon looking at the menu, I knew I would contract a horrible case of indecision. Often times, area breakfast menus offer only a medley of similar entrees with barely detectable differences. One item comes with a pancake, the other toast. Everything comes with two eggs! (Yay?!) But Magnolia is no ordinary breakfast joint. Each item description showcases enlightened minds of creative foodies at work. Take this spin on Eggs Benedict: a crab cake nestled on a bed of puff pastry with a poached egg and dollop of crème fraiche. Every dish offers its own individual stamp.
Thank goodness I was not eating alone. My cohort Gaby knew how to map out our breakfast expedition with precision. Straight faced and ready for action, she issued the order: the Bodega Omelette, egg whites only, and (drumroll please), the Authentic Munchener Apfel Pfannekuchen, which she defined as a pancake on ‘roids.
Our Bodega omelette arrived first, plump with spicy arugula, sweet bacon, and slightly tart goat cheese. This omelette did not disappoint upon dissection. Every bite was full of substance; no need to scour for a sliver of bacon or hint of greenery. The three elements waltzed together in harmony in a pool of lightly soured fresh cream. It was delivered with granola pancakes that appeared puny and uninteresting. But it was a pleasure to munch on the nutty, candied granola embedded in soft pancake accompanied by Mangolia’s silky house-made syrup.
While the Bodega Omelette was indeed scrumptious, the apple pfannekuchen (fan-ne-koo-ken), was heavenly. If monkey bread’s sticky, cinnamon sweetness joined forces with a funnel cake’s billowy crisp texture and adopted caramelized apples along with strudel layers, the derivative would be one giant puffed pancake like this. I relished every bite. While my breakfast date had stopped forced feeding by now, the variety of textures, ranging from tender to gooey to crisp gave birth to a appetite within me and I devoured every last bit in greedy bliss.
Mangolia Pancake Haus is almost a legend among San Antonians. Like all great establishments, it’s the enthusiastic word of mouth that has the power to pull diners away from that soulless box of cereal. I’ll be back for more unique creations, such as an omelet inspired by Sarkis Cafe in Chicago and, most assuredly, the crab cake eggs benedict. Because frankly, I can find a breakfast taco with my eyes closed. To discover a noncommercial, buzz worthy breakfast is a real task. •
Magnolia Pancake Haus
606 Embassy Oak, Suite 100
American fare, scratch made daily, with German and American regional influences (California, Chicago, Louisiana, Texas, to name a few)
Go with anything listed under Magnolia’s favorites, which includes the Munchener Apfel Pfannekuchen
Lunch daily 11am-3pm,
dinner daily 5-10pm
Prices Under $12 per entree