I-HOP brings in more money than any other family-style restaurant. But does it make the best pancakes?
Consumer Reports taste tested to see how I-HOP pancakes stack-up against the competition.
Consumer Reports testers tasted ones from five major chains, including I-HOP, Denny's, and Cracker Barrel.
Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says, "Now, an excellent pancake should be tender and moist, not wet and pasty. When it comes to the flavors, you really want to get that hint of the grain."
I-HOP claims its pancakes are "award-winning with...authentic country flavor."
Marks says, "The I-HOP pancakes looked better than they tasted. As the pancakes cooled, they became kind of tough."
Denny's pancakes tasted as if they came from a mix. So did ones from Country Kitchen.
The best pancakes came from Cracker Barrel and Perkins. They were cooked to a nice golden brown and tasted freshly prepared.
But even with the best restaurants, Consumer Reports found it's better to order pancakes in the morning.
Marks says, "When we ordered the pancakes off the all-day menu, we sometimes found that they picked up flavors of other foods cooked on the grill. And frankly, they weren't as good."
As for the syrup, Cracker Barrel was the only restaurant where it contains real maple. Though it wasn't 100% pure maple syrup, Cracker Barrel does serve it warm.
Consumer Reports compared pure maple syrup to a variety of other types to see which tastes best.
It was no contest!
Hands down, real maple syrup tastes the best. But you don't want to overdo it. There are 200 calories in a quarter cup-compared to 20 in sugary-free syrup.