Upon finding we had next to nothing in our refrigerator yesterday morning, Empanada Boy and I weighed our options and decided to try the Golden Nugget Pancake House. We have driven by the numerous outposts of this 24-hour chain more times than we can count, but neither of us had ever crossed the threshold.
The inside of the restaurant is uniformly brown and yellow with walls covered with drab wooden slat panels. Faux stained glass windows hang from the ceiling. A long counter filled with regulars lies just inside the door, and beware the sea of comfy-looking booths: these are made of hard grey plastic, ostensible for easier cleaning. Also, like many diners, the menu here is encyclopedic including every traditional breakfast and lunch item imaginable. The restaurant boasts fresh-squeezed orange juice and fruit compotes that have never seen a can. But we all know that is not why you come to a place like this.
In short, the reason you come to the Golden Nugget is the pancakes. We ordered a short stackâ€” a pair of immense pancakes, which were remarkably light and fluffy. My normal experience with pancakes is eating about one and a half and then feeling too full of breadiness to continue. These were airy enough to polish off, although EB and I shared them. Bacon came on the side.
EB was craving fried potatoes, so we shared another plate of eggs sunny side up, corned beef hash and some delicious and crispy home friesâ€” more like a hashbrown in my book. The corned beef hash was a little disappointing for me. I found in too mushy and processed. It would have benefitted from more browning, more chunkiness and more spices.
Stick to the pancakes at the Golden Nugget and you cannot go wrong. I look forward to going back and trying the Mexican breakfasts or an omelet. (I might have to share if I order the latterâ€”the omelets are mountainous, made with a four eggs.)
Golden Nugget Pancake House (various locations)
4747 N Ravenswood Ave.