Back in the early 2000s, Atlanta had meager options for those who use “brunch” as a verb. Sure, there were places to go eat breakfast on the weekend: Flying Biscuit, Thumbs Up Diner, Java Jive, Goldbergs. But they didn’t exhibit the same reverence for morning cuisine as the brunch specialists who’ve arrived in recent years.
And now we have Pancake Social, which slings bougie brunch options such as avocado toast with soft-cooked egg and a Dutch baby pancake with apple and Gruyère—not just at weekend brunch but all day every day.
That isn’t to say that Pancake Social, located on the southeastern edge of Ponce City Market, is breakfast perfection. With an all-star team stacked with Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia), Tony Riffel (Octane), Dan Jacobson (Chick-fil-A), and Steven Chan (Tin Drum), the restaurant should be operating much more smoothly. One Saturday morning bottleneck was so maddening I found myself coaching the overwhelmed hostess on how to handle the crowd.
Once you finally get to eat, you’ll find that executive chef Evelyn Ling (sous chef at Bacchanalia) knows how to push breakfast boundaries while still hitting the sweet spot. The menu features 11 types of pancakes, crafted from, say, buckwheat or gluten-free ancient grain. The buttermilk pancakes are as good as they must be for a place that has “pancake” in its name; they’re fluffy and just sweet enough to keep from being cloying once dressed with syrup. The kitchen keeps said syrup hot in an electric warmer on the pass, ready to be poured into a ramekin. It’s a nice touch. And bread nerds will appreciate that the sourdough waffle batter uses a starter created more than 20 years ago at Bacchanalia, the fine-dining bastion.
You’re probably here for one pancake variation or another, but the best dish on the menu is the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a homemade English muffin. It might be the most sublime breakfast sandwich in town, with gorgeous, thick-cut Cheshire bacon, American cheese, and a meticulously folded egg (although you can get it sunny-side up, too) served on a near-pillowy English muffin that almost resembles a griddle cake. Amid a table groaning under the weight of the dishes we ordered—including middling beignets—I endured a battle of the bites with a seven-year-old over that sandwich. (She ultimately won.)
★ ★ ★ ★
675 Ponce de Leon Avenue
This article appears in our August 2019 issue.