The Original Pancake House replaces the Boca Restaurant in Westport

WESTPORT — Residents will be able to satisfy their sweet and savory breakfast cravings this summer as The Original Pancake House prepares to open on Main Street.

The new restaurant will be at 33-51 Main St., the space previously occupied by Boca Restaurant.

Creperie owner Blake Williams said he and his business partner had been looking for another location for over a year and came across Westport after visiting a dozen other places on the coast. He said he wanted to be within 30 miles of their White Plains, NY location so the business could grow “organically.”

He said they originally came to Westport to see another location and heard about the Main Street spot while there.

“We stopped on a whim,” Williams said.

Williams said it was a beautiful day and the foot traffic was “awesome”. He said they also thought the building’s colocation was “great.”

“We’ve heard a lot of good things about this space and it has a lot of good history,” Williams said. “From a community perspective, it seemed like a vibrant and growing community. It hit a lot of different boxes that we were looking for.

An added box that the location checked was that it was a former restaurant. Williams said while it wasn’t essential, it was beneficial.

“It was something that was a huge plus for us,” he said. “It was something that was already a restaurant and had been there for a while and had some success. The community knew it as a restaurant.

Williams said he got into the pancake business more than a decade ago when he and his business partner were looking for a business to open together on the West Coast where they lived. They opened their first location in Washington in 2009 before expanding to six more in the state, with an eighth on the way.

Two years ago they were approached by another franchise owner to buy a location in White Plains. Williams said their experience with opening a restaurant during a recession in 2009 and the distance between their locations in Washington gave them confidence to expand to the East Coast amid the pandemic.

“The recession hit us when we opened and I think long-term we viewed it as a positive,” Williams said. “We have learned to operate in lean times and to be efficient.”

“When the pandemic hit, it allowed us to be flexible and adapt to the circumstances around us,” he said.

This included moving the business model during the pandemic from 5% deferral to 100% deferral. He said now it’s about half.

In terms of distance, several of their Washington locations are a few hundred miles apart. He said he and his business partner already have experience in remote operations and have learned the challenges of managing and operating stores that are not geographically close. Therefore, operating restaurants on the East Coast seemed “less daunting” to them when they opened the White Plains and now Westport site.

“We enjoyed the experience and enjoyed getting out and getting to know the northeast a bit,” Williams said. “It was just a goal for us to expand into the region and grow.”

“We are excited about Westport,” he added. “We would like to open in late summer, but the big hurdle now is ordering some equipment and appliances that we need to run our store.”

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