Killer Cafe: Strong Stacks

Have these pancakes been lifting?


The Killer Cafe (open 24 hours!) in Marina Del Rey, CA has always struck me as a tourist restaurant, so I wasn’t expecting outstanding pancakes. And I didn’t get outstanding pancakes. What I did get was a giant fucking plate of pancakes. They weren’t as large as The Griddle Cafe, these were stacks you could actually work through. They were fluffy and hearty and very visually appealing. My friend described them as good value pancakes, and at $11 he was right. 

We both ordered the plain Buttermilk pancakes. You can get these topped with blueberries, strawberries, or bananas, for a slightly outrageous three dollars more. As two sets of massive stacks were placed in front of us, a woman stared in astonishment and asked a server what they were. They were quite impressive, and I guess to some people, bewildering. 

I tasted these “naked” first, without butter or syrup, and found them a little on the chewy side and not incredibly flavorful. There are debates to be had about whether pancakes should be able to stand alone or are made to be enjoyed doused in syrup or butter. 

I can see both sides to this. All I’m going to say is it’s a lot of fun to watch someone pour syrup over a giant pancake stack, sticky sugar cascading in all directions, and then dive right in and eat the entire fucking thing. Really impressive work. If I were flirting, (which I never am) I would call it really fucking sexy. 

In any case, after treating my pancakes with a healthy helping of butter and syrup, they were greatly improved. Thick pancakes soak this stuff up really well. These would also make great travel pancakes. They have the heft to withstand a decent journey.

Would I go back to Killer Cafe? Absolutely. But it would probably be for the Killer Shrimp, served in a spicy sauce that is out-of-this-world outstanding. The pancakes here just can’t compete with that. 

JUST THE STACKS – 7/10 TASTY STACKS

Overall Taste: Good but definitely needed the butter & syrup enhancements.

Mouthfeel: A little too chewy on their own, but nice doused in butter & syrup.

Size: Beefy. Have these pancakes been lifting?

Presentation: Impressive and astonishing to bystanders.

Price: $11 – $14

Location: 4213 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Shoop’s: Pancake Fluff Heaven

If you’re eating cold pancakes and still find them delicious, you have a winner on your hands.

My friend and I stopped at Shoop’s Delicatessen in Santa Monica after determining that of the several other pancake contenders in the area, Shoop’s was least likely to have a long wait. You probably have to time this right as Shoop’s is a small place. It’s half cafe and half delightful deli with a variety of fun meats and candy. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about these pancakes, which edged my rating up to a perfect score.

If you’re a regular reader, and are thinking these were rebound pancakes, and I’m just desperate to fill the void that Nighthawk left me with, you are wrong. Yes, I was eager to feast on pancakes that didn’t taste like flattened disappointment, but I certainly never expected to find another all-star pancake so quickly. Life comes at you fast. 

Shoop’s offers an array of tempting pancake options: Buttermilk, Blueberry, Banana, Muesli, Pineapple, Cinnamon-Raisin, and Bacon. They also have a selection of savory pancakes including Tomato Basil, Pastrami Swiss, and Salmon. There are options to add eggs, meats, and veggie sausages to your pancake meal, which I always appreciate. 

My friend ordered the Pineapple Pancakes, and I ordered the Bacon Pancakes. I’m not a big savory pancake fan and I’m not convinced bacon belongs inside a pancake. For the sake of research, and because I love bacon, I ordered them.

Both sets of pancakes arrived in a lovely displayed stack of three, fanned out to emphasize their glory. The edges were slightly crisped and there was an impressive amount of bacon on display. Already visually delighted, I tried a small piece without syrup first. 

Pancake fluff heaven! I was so impressed with these. Do you know how hard it is to get a good pancake fluff photo? I gave up trying because I couldn’t waste any more time not eating them. You’ll just have to trust me that I know my pancake fluff. 

The menu says the Bacon Pancakes are “Sooo good with maple syrup” and they are absolutely correct. The combination of fluffy pancake, savory bacon bits, and sweet syrup was scrumptious.

I took my leftovers home and ate them cold later. Just fucking outstanding. If you’re eating cold pancakes and still find them delicious, you have a winner on your hands. My only criticism is that these needed more syrup than I usually use, but I think that was because the pancakes soaked it up so well due to the fluff factor. 

JUST THE STACKS – 10/10 TASTY STACKS

Overall Taste: Sweet & savory pancake fluff heaven.

Mouthfeel: Unexpectedly luscious. 

Size: Huge but not Griddle Cafe huge.

Presentation: A nice change from the standard stack, these arrive fanned out in a set of three.

Price: $10.50-$15.50  

Location: 2400 Main St A1, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Monster Cakes: The Griddle Cafe

Let’s talk about the fluff factor! These pancakes measured up to ¾ of an inch thick of pure pancake fluff.

To celebrate my first year in LA, I had to do something big. Something delicious, decadent, and massive. That’s right, I went out to eat giant pancakes. The Griddle Cafe in West Hollywood is known for their gargantuan stacks. You can know this and still not be prepared for them to set down so much pancake in front of you.

I was seated next to a gentleman who debated whether or not to get a pancake at all because they were so large. He was getting on a plane, he explained, and he wasn’t about to take a pancake on a plane. I didn’t tell him that I frequently take pancakes with me when I fly. Pancakes travel pretty well, that’s my travel tip for you.

Image via TastyStacks.

The Griddle Cafe has endless options including “Black Magic” with crushed Oreo’s, “Hear Me Roar” with strawberries and Frosted Flakes, “Banananana” with brown sugar baked bananas, and “Teacher’s Pet” with baked cinnamon apples. I decided on the “BLUESberry,” blueberry filled pancakes with blueberry sour cream on top, and “Eyes Wide Open,” pancakes with a shot of espresso and chocolate chips. I only ordered the short stacks, which is 2 pancakes each. This turned out to be comically too much pancake even for me, but half the fun is having these absurdly large stacks set down in front of you.

The Eyes Wide Open pancakes were fucking divine. The chocolate chips were evenly spaced throughout and they came with a giant scoop of butter. They didn’t even need anything on them, but since I was going for decadent that day, butter seemed like a good idea. It turned out to be an outstanding idea. Both had powered sugar on top, a nice touch. The BLUESberry came with blueberry sour cream on top which was interesting. The first bite was good, but then I lost interest. It just wasn’t that flavorful. The Eyes Wide Open stack was so good this didn’t have a major impact on my rating, but it was a little disappointing. Due to their size, I ended up taking home a good portion. I made my way through the chocolate chip stack over the next 24 hours and it passed the leftover test with flying colors.

Let’s talk about the fluff factor! These pancakes measured up to
¾ of an inch thick of pure pancake fluff. Yes, I measured because I was so impressed. Go here with very hungry friends, or after you’ve come back from an all week hiking or camping trip. Or of course, if you just want to feast your eyes and soul on some truly massive pancakes. It’s impossible for these not to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Just the Stacks – 8.5/10 Tasty Stacks 

Image via TastyStacks.

Overall Taste: The Eyes Wide Open were wonderful, the BLUESberry bored my mouth.

Mouthfeel: Overall luscious and wonderful. Perfect consistency throughout, which can be hard to achieve in such herculean pancakes.

Size: “As big as tires” – the man next to me.

Presentation: Fucking beautiful.

Price: $9.95-$13.95

Location: 7916 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046