On a recent visit to Portland, Maine I was thrilled to discover The Friendly Toast had opened a local location. I fondly remember the Friendly Toast from my days of living in Boston. Known for their impressive kitschy décor (think troll collections and cat figure displays) and all day breakfast, this was an obvious choice for pancakes. I grabbed two other breakfast buds and between the three of us we ordered the perfect trifecta: pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
I had the Monster Breakfast, which is a stack of two pancakes or French toast, served with two eggs, homefries, and choice of side meat. The “sweet cream pancakes” are also available with blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, bananas, as well as a variety of more extreme variations, such as Oreo Cookie, Caramel Macchiato, and King Cakes.
The pancakes arrived topped with strawberries and powdered sugar, which might be my favorite current pancake style. They tasted slightly sweet with a hint of vanilla, making for an almost lovely bite.
What’s missing from these stacks is the fluff factor. There is something so satisfying about biting into perfect pancake fluff and it can be noticeably disappointing when missing. Thicc stacks are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they’re better able to absorb syrup and other toppings. Despite this pancake misstep, The Friendly Toast excelled at their other breakfast options.
The waffle was described (unprompted) as “phenomenal” by my handsome dining companion. It had the same slightly sweet vanilla taste as the pancakes and the perfect outside crunch, making for delicious pocket bites of butter and syrup.
My second breakfast accomplice described the French toast as “one of the best I’ve ever had”, which might be one of the best reviews she has given any menu item, anywhere. Made with thicc sourdough, the bread was sweet, and the bites were luscious.
After trying both the waffle and French toast, it’s clear the pancakes are not the stars at The Friendly Toast, but they more than make up for that with their other options. My rating is a reflection of the average score of the pancakes (6.5), waffles (10) , and French toast (10).
Despite the lackluster pancakes, I very much wish The Friendly Toast would open a location in Southern California. I would be knee deep in waffles and mimosa flights every weekend.
JUST THE STACKS – 8.8/10 TASTY STACKS
Overall Taste: De-fucking-licious.
Mouthfeel: Aside from the flimsy pancakes, the waffles and French toast qualified for fluff heaven.
Size: Generous belly-filling sizes.
Presentation: Served on colorful plates with indulgent scoops of butter, strawberries, and powdered sugar.
Location: 211 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101
Various other locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.