Finding a restaurant that does breakfast and does it well is no mean feat these days. Generally, a breakfast cook tends to master the preparation of a limited number of breakfast items, have a passing acquaintance with several more. If unfamiliar with the item you’ve ordered, he will say that he has “just run out” of it, and would you like something else from the menu?
Being blessed with a wife schooled in the culinary arts by her mother, the redoubtable Mamaw, I seldom if ever eat breakfast out. On the occasions that I do, you’ll most likely find me breakfasting at Olde Towne Pancake House in Jonesborough. Owners Sandy and Dave Casmer have been serving breakfast and lunch to a growing clientele of hungry Jonesborough natives, plus the occasional tourist or 12 who shows up at their little house on Boone Street.
Though breakfast at Olde Towne Pancake House can be served without pancakes, you’d be foolish not to try a stack of buttermilk pancakes ($3.50) as an accompaniment to whatever else you order. Or, for a real taste of Tennessee at the same price, why not substitute Grandpa’s Southern Buckwheat pancakes? Add a dollop of real butter and a splash of the house maple syrup, then roll up your sleeves and dig in.
Sandy and Dave’s menu can offer you pancakes gussied up in a number of delicious ways, with prices ranging from $4.99 for blueberry pancakes cooked up with real blueberries, to my current favorite, the apple stack ($5.75) where you get fresh sliced apples layered in between.
A good place to start building your morning meal is with the Old Timer’s Breakfast ($4.95); two eggs any style, with sausage or bacon and either two buttermilk pancakes or biscuits & gravy. My dining partner had her eggs over easy with bacon and pancakes, while I ordered two of the breakfast roll-ups ($2.95) each a buttermilk pancake wrapped around scrambled eggs, onions, cheese, and either bacon (my pick) or sausage.
Olde Towne Pancake House does not do “fast food.” Once you order your meal, be prepared to wait a spell for it; in our case, breakfast for two took almost 20 minutes, but the wait was worth it.
My breakfast roll-ups arrived at the table with a fragrant cloud of steam rising from the filling of real scrambled eggs, bacon, onions and cheese wrapped in a buttermilk pancake as light and airy as an election year promise. Though you can pick it up and eat it by hand, use a knife and fork on your breakfast roll-up so you can savor the dish properly.
While I was devouring my breakfast with grunts and slurps of undisguised relish, my partner was dining with refinement on her Old Timer’s Breakfast, pausing to comment on the leanness of the center-cut bacon, and remarking that we had finally found a chef who actually knew how to prepare eggs “over easy.”
The meal over, we both fancied dessert, and found it by sharing a Strawberry Roll-up ($4.50 for two), a buttermilk pancake filled with sliced fresh strawberries and garnished with powdered sugar and whipped cream. Add a cup of the Casmer’s fresh-ground French Vanilla coffee ($1.79) and the word you are looking for is “Yum.”
Olde Towne Pancake House rounds out its breakfast menu with omelettes of various fillings; prices start at $4.49. They also do side orders. My favorite is an order of their Fried Apples ($1.59) that go well with just about everything on the menu.
Lunch is available from 11 a.m. on, and features their Catfish Dinner ($5.75) as well as a number of sandwiches priced from $2.49 and a half-pound of locally grown Angus hamburger priced from $3.55. Sandy and Dave also serve a Sunday dinner that features a “Meat & Three (sides)” or “Meat & Two” plus dessert, priced at around $8 per person. They also do catering, and have an email address just for that purpose.
Finally, if you plan on dining at Olde Towne Pancake House, make sure you get there early, if only to secure a parking place that is near to the restaurant. Otherwise, you’ll be walking off breakfast or dinner whether you originally intended to or not.