Classic dinner: The Pancake Shop

If you look down, you might see Hunter Myers wearing his “breakfast socks” – gray socks with little patterns of bacon, toast and sunny eggs.

They’re a perfect fit for Myers, a gift from her mother after she bought The Pancake Shop on March 1, 2022. “I looked down and saw this folded pair of socks with a little bow on them on the table.” said Myers. “He said, ‘Congratulations’ on the card.”

So far, owning the iconic restaurant on Summer Avenue has been “a great adventure,” says Myers, 44. He was told the restaurant was started in 1957 and went through three owners until he bought it.

Although his family moved to Memphis when he was five, Myers says, “I never went to The Pancake Shop growing up.” But he certainly knew. “It’s a northeast Memphis tradition. It is a must. You have The Pancake Shop and Bryant’s Breakfast on Summer.

“It’s the last bastion of classic diners. Since the closure of the Blue Plate Cafe, there aren’t many classic restaurants left in Memphis. — Hunter Myers, creperie owner

One of his father’s friends, a financial analyst, told Myers, then general manager of the Oasis Cafe at the Hilton headquarters in Memphis, that The Pancake Shop was for sale. He said, “Hey, I have a restaurant you might be interested in,” Myers said.

Myers, who started as a kitchen manager for the former TGI Fridays in Overton Square, worked as a kitchen manager or operations manager at other Memphis restaurants.

Owning his own home was always something he wanted to do – one day, he says. “Anyone in this industry always has the ultimate dream of owning and working for themselves. I always thought that would come later in my life.

Before doing anything to buy it, Myers visited the small restaurant and ordered the “everyday special” from the menu. “I finished my eggs, my hash browns and my sausages and started the pancakes. I was like, ‘Well, they better be the star of the show. This is The Pancake Shop, to cry out loud. I finished half the pancakes. I couldn’t go any further. I was stuffed. I couldn’t eat.

He then told his father’s friend, “Put my name in the hat and put me in the bidding war.”

Myers couldn’t get over how thick and fluffy the pancakes were. He was particularly impressed with the attention paid to the hitter. “You can tell when someone isn’t following the recipe,” he says, “not whipping it enough to get air in.” Being in the food industry, Myers knows that air creates a fluffy pancake. “I could tell the dough was perfectly prepared, kept at the right temperature from start to finish.”

Even so, he was unable to buy the business immediately. “There were several other fairly well-known restaurant owners in town who wanted this place,” he says. “It was a bidding war there for a while.”

He told the previous owner after buying it, “When you come here in 20 years it will still be The Pancake Shop. I have no intention of changing the name, image and likeness of this brand.

Myers says, “There might be new furniture and paint on the walls, but it will still be The Pancake Shop. I don’t want to change too much. I’m going to do some renovations on the building. Some things have to be done. »

But he considers it just “spring cleaning”.

Either way, The Pancake Shop staff are staying. McKenneth “Kenny” Hamilton Jr., who has worked there for 29 years, will remain head chef. And Billie Millner, who’s been a waitress for 30 years, is still in the dining room, stocking up on coffee and taking orders.

In addition to the variety of pancakes, which includes “bacon chips”, “sausage crumbles” and “pecans”, The Pancake Shop also offers meat lunches and three plates, which customers can order until closing time.

The Pancake Shop is still cash-only, but the restaurant, which has long operated 24 hours a day, now opens at 6 a.m. and, for now, closes at 7 p.m. But that closing time could change, Myers said.

One of the servers created a new logo, which Myers uses on Facebook and Instagram. But he knows not to change the legendary red and white Summer Avenue sign.

The Pancake Shop franchise might even arrive in time, he says. “In five years, I want to have a creperie on place Collierville. He needs a good place for breakfast.

For now, though, he’s focusing on the original. “It’s the last bastion of classic diners. Since the closure of the Blue Plate Cafe, there aren’t many classic restaurants left in Memphis.

And customers shouldn’t think they have to order a traditional breakfast from The Pancake Shop. “You can walk in at 6am, get a ribeye that was cut at Charlie’s Meat Market and a loaded baked potato. It happens all the time,” the owner explains. “People leave a night shift at 6 a.m. and they want dinner.”

The Pancake Shop is located at 4838 Summer Avenue in the Bell Plaza Mall.

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