We asked the tribe: How do Williamsburg’s pancake houses stack up against each other?
Williamsburg is home to 11 independent pancake houses and a few additional breakfast spots serving up fresh heaps. The Flat Hat asked 112 students at the College of William and Mary for their opinions on these restaurants to answer one question: What is the best flat hat restaurant in Williamsburg?
Flat Hut has identified 17 breakfast restaurants, including pancake joints and brunch restaurants, all of which serve pancakes on their regular menu. Of these 17 restaurants, 13 are local, and only four of them belong to a larger chain. Using a survey, students rated the breakfast restaurants they visited on a five-point scale, ranging from very poor to excellent.
Psychology and kinesiology major Morgan Carr ’24 gave insight into her ranking criteria.
“The things that go into a good pancake restaurant are a good atmosphere, great customer service and a strong menu.” Carr said. “The most important thing for me is definitely the food – they have to have a good mix of sweet and savory breakfasts to be really good.”
Among survey respondents, Colonial Pancake House proved to be the most popular restaurant, with 73 out of 112 respondents visiting the site. Colonial Pancake House not only received the most reviews, but it also received the most favorable reviews, with an average rating of 4.3 on a scale of one to five.
Colonial Pancake House has been serving breakfast in Williamsburg since 1997. Rita Brassas and her husband, George, own and operate the restaurant.
“We love our students William and Mary!!!!” Prasas wrote in an email to Flat Hat, in response to the recent survey results.
“It’s where my parents and I like to go — it’s where we go,” said Rachel Sawyer, 26. “We brought my roommate there, and at the end of my junior year we all went to celebrate moving in. The pancakes there, especially for me, are the best I’ve had in the area. My dad always raves about the blueberry pancakes there. He still says to this day that Colonial Pancake has the best The blueberry muffins he had ever eaten in his life.
Popular breakfast and lunch chains First Watch and Another Broken Egg Cafe followed Colonial Pancake House’s popularity, with 57 and 44 reviews, respectively.
“First Watch has really good avocado toast and this great morning superfood bowl,” said Giorgiana Hico, 25. “It’s really high-quality food – as you can tell the fruit they use in the superfood bowl in the morning is fresh and the bread is light and fluffy because it has almond butter on the side. The chia pudding is also very fresh.”
“I was surprised — another great cracked egg,” said current MBA candidate Christian Chisolm, a 2018 graduate. “Before I went back for grad school, I had one next to my house in Savannah, Georgia, where I went all the time. “
Positive student reviews for Colonial Pancake house were consistent with reviews from the general public found on Yelp.
Yelp reviewers rated Tipsy Beans Cafe highest out of 17 breakfast restaurants included in the Flat Hat student survey, with an average of 4.4 stars. International House of Pancakes received more positive reviews from students, who gave IHOP a score of 3.14, compared to 2.12 stars for Yelp reviewers.
“Unfortunately, the old Williamsburg IHOP is no longer with us – God bless, rest in peace,” Mazie Doss ’22 M.Ed. ’24 he said. “It always took about an hour and 10 minutes to get our food. I also went there with my ex and the 2019 Rocky Horror Picture Show cast, and that was an amazing experience. I still miss the butter pecan syrup.”
An average of 4.76 survey participants visited tiny houses, while the three graduate students surveyed visited more than 12 locations on average. Only one respondent claimed to have visited all seventeen pancake restaurants.
Carr ’24 has gone to 12 of the 17 restaurants included in our survey.
“All pancake houses are good — I haven’t been to a bad house per se, but I’ve been to houses I’ll never go to again,” Carr said. “I think it suits Williamsburg very well because there are seniors and then there are college kids, and everyone loves breakfast — so it’s great.”
Bake Shop, Cultural Cafe and Aromas, which don’t offer pancakes on their regular menus, proved popular choices in our write-up for best all-round breakfast.
“For socializing, I’ll probably go somewhere really close to campus, like the Culture Café — I love the Culture Café,” Heiko said. “I would say the number one social encounter is the Bake Shop, which serves amazing avocado toast and lattes.”
Freshmen and sophomores visited pancake houses less frequently than upperclassmen. Seniors visited pancake houses more than other groups, with 44% responding that they visited pancake houses at least once a month. Among underclassmen, 86% of the Class of 2027 and 79% of the Class of 2026 said they visited pie restaurants at most once during the semester.
“My favorite breakfast option throughout my two years on campus was the Marketplace breakfast, because it was so much fresh.” Carr said. “You could get breakfast sandwiches and everything, and the biscuits and gravy were always very good.”
Cafés were the preferred choice for upper-class men, with 26% of the elderly and 28.1% of the young visiting them regularly. Each group visited fast food restaurants at about the same rate between 18.6% for sophomores and 21.4% for seniors.
81 out of 112 participants chose pancakes instead of pancakes.
Carr voted for pancakes.
“I love pancakes because when you put sauces or toppings on them, they really soak it up and you get more of it in every bite,” Carr said. “It’s also heavier, so you can make waffle sandwiches for breakfast or you can make chicken and waffles. I just feel like the waffles don’t have enough structural integrity, which is my biggest problem with them.”
Chisholm voted in favor of the pancakes, noting that they are easy to prepare.
“I think pancakes are more filling than pancakes and harder to mess up,” Chisholm said. “Pancakes are very easy and simple, and you can do a lot of things with them. I have found that I am a great cook, but a lot of people are not, so the pancakes tend to burn – they are either overcooked or undercooked. The pancakes are not very difficult because they cook quickly Great; you can kind of ‘flip, flip, done.’ It’s more consistent.”
Chisholm has been to 16 of the 17 restaurants included in our survey.
“The best thing is just the options,” Chisholm said. “You can literally go to any street within a five-mile radius of campus and have five options on each street. The food scene in Williamsburg is amazingly diverse and wonderful, and a lot of people, especially on this campus, don’t get out far enough to explore Different restaurants – I would recommend that.
Sawyer voted for pancakes, and mentioned her family’s recipe.
“My mom has this recipe that has been passed down in the family for years,” Sawyer said. “She has these little packets of yeast that she’ll use to make the dough the night before. She’ll put the active yeast in it, leave it to ferment overnight, and then get up early in the morning to bake it. It’s usually made around holidays or birthdays, so there are good memories associated with it. Maybe Colonial makes good pies, but nothing compares to my mother’s pies.
Restaurants were selected for this survey based on several criteria. Primarily, the restaurant should offer pancakes as a regular item on the menu. This survey was also limited to restaurants that are primarily marketed as breakfast or lunch locations or sit-down cafes. This survey was also limited to sites within the city of Williamsburg.
The data in this story was collected by the Flat Cap Data Department in an online survey conducted from October 9, 2023 to October 15, 2023. Participation in this survey was voluntary, and responses were anonymous unless participants chose to self-select. identification. The survey was distributed via Flat Hat social media, the William and Mary Student Happenings newsletter, and through word of mouth. Flat Hat members were allowed to take tThe survey stated that they were not involved in the writing or editing process of this article. The original survey can be found here. In total, 112 participants completed the survey, representing 1.65% of the total William & Mary undergraduate population. Yelp reviews are sourced from Yelp.
Correction (6/12/23): This article has been updated by Sarah Devendorf, Standards and Practices Editor, to make the static image of the pie chart an interactive graphic. Additionally, in an earlier version of the article, “good” was used as a label twice for the graph, “How Did the Most Popular Pancake Houses Stack Up?” This has been changed so that “good” now says “poor”.