If you see me at the Original Pancake House, especially at night, chances are I’ll be with my roommate, BFF and sister Beth. We love breakfast for dinner and the Original Pancake House is the best place in town. So I was especially excited to find out that our favorite restaurant is owned by two sisters, Marguerite Carlisle and Cathy Wilson.
To say that this sister partnership has been successful is an understatement. In July, Original Pancake House is celebrating 25 years at its Columbia, S.C. location in Trenholm Plaza. First opened on July 26, 1990, and conveniently located in the Forest Acres neighborhood of Columbia, the restaurant has since been a local favorite for families, business breakfast meetings, military from Fort Jackson and others, in an inviting, casual dining atmosphere.
Original Pancake House is known for its extensive breakfast menu – including made-from-scratch signature pancake dishes, classic breakfast plates, Belgian waffles, 49’er flapjacks, buckwheat pancakes, sweet and savory crepes, omelets and sides – but also offers lunch and dinner options like sandwiches, hamburgers and salads. Homemade syrups, fresh whipped cream, corned beef hash and fresh-squeezed orange juice are among the many items that are prepared from scratch daily.
“We brought ‘different’ breakfast foods to Columbia,” says Carlisle. Popular signature items include the light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes – made from scratch with sourdough starter and a secret ingredient – and the Dutch Baby, an oven-baked pancake served with whipped butter, lemon, and powdered sugar.
My personal favorite? The crepes. After awakening from an aneurysm in March, it was the first thing wanted. But I usually go for the healthier “Eggs and Turkey Sausage” substituting the buttermilk pancakes for buckwheat.
When asked their favorites, Cathy and Marguerite say it’s a difficult question.
“It is liking being asked which of your children is your favorite. I would say the thick-cut bacon with scrambled eggs,” says Carlisle. “Cathy would say the fresh strawberry pancakes and waffles. They are served with homemade whipped cream and strawberry syrup.”
Besides great food, what is the secret to their success? Both credit clear communication.
“Put it all out on the table. Discuss all scenarios — good and bad — and agree on the plans. You have to be of the same mindset,” says Carlisle.
Haven’t been to the Original Pancake House? Save the date. Starting on July 25, Marguerite and Cathy kick off the 25th anniversary of their gourmet breakfast restaurant with treats for customers such as 25-cent Dutch Baby pancakes, 25% off certain menu items and daily specials all week.
Original Pancake House is open Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. The restaurant is located in Trenholm Plaza at 4840 Forest Drive, Suite 14, Columbia, S.C., 29206.