Pancake Parlour in Canberra no more, but Capital Pancakes brings new opportunities

A Canberra institution is no more as the Pancake Parlour farewells the national capital.

The owners have rebranded in their original location as Capital Pancakes, with the same “heart and soul” behind the operation embodied in the original pancake maker himself, Philip Barton.

“The Original Pancake Man” Philip Barton eating pancakes that he made, topped with whipped butter and maple syrup. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Mr Barton, a fixture of the enduring eatery,is passingthe tools of the trade on to his sons, Jefferson and Luca. Lucahas takenup the spatula after cultivating the art of the perfect pancake.

“Luca is the one who finally drove me out of the kitchen, although I do still cook occasionally,” Mr Barton said.

“They like to keep me out, Luca says I grumble too much.”

At 21, Luca is the same age as Mr Barton was when he was taught to cook by a Kansas chef.

Philip Barton said there is new signage and lower prices, but not much else has changed. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

“I think Luca is going to be as good as I was. I was the best pancake cook ever,” Mr Barton said.

The Pancake Parlour opened in Canberra in 1984, and has remained a stable of the Canberra community since.

Philip Barton of Capital Pancakes, formerly the Pancake Parlour, demonstrating how to make a pancake. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

But the separation from the Pancake Parlour franchise means Mr Barton can drop his prices significantly, and get back to the original concept he envisioned, which startedmore than 50 years ago in Melbourne – an affordable family restaurant.

“When I started in the business it was 35 cents for a short stack [2 pancakes stacked] and 51 years later it was going to be $12.90. I baulked at that,” Mr Barton said.

He said without the cost of the franchise,they can sell that same product for $9.90 under their own branding.

The “signature dish”, blueberry pancakes. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

The signature dish off the new menu is the blueberry stack, Mr Barton said. Described as “blueberry studded cinnamon pancakes”, the recipe is perfected to ensure the pancakes still rise to the ideal specifications.

“All perceptions are involved in this,” Mr Barton said as he cooked pancakes.

“You have to turn it at the right time so it can still rise. It’s got to be a darkish brown not a golden brown but still loose enough so when you turn it, the heat hits the oxygen and forces it up. If you watch closely, you can see it, that beautiful rise there. If you have not got that rise, you have not got a great pancake.”

Mr Barton said he doesn’t expect the name change to affect customers.

“I think that Canberrans will adapt very, very quickly to it because the essence of the place hasn’t changed.

“The cooks are the same, my staffare the same, many of the dishes are the same. All that has changed is the name. The essential features of the place, the heart and soul of the place, remains exactly the same.”

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