Celebrate National Pancake Day at these Des Moines Restaurants

Zak Neumann/Little Village

It’s almost Shrove Tuesday! Or maybe you know it as Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras. Whatever you call it, you’re probably familiar.

This year, I’m choosing to celebrate Shrove Tuesday’s secular cousin, National Pancake Day. (Ahh, yes. Now you’re familiar.)

It’s important to mention that there are actually two National Pancake Days every year, but the first one of 2022 is Tuesday, March 1. Pancake overlord, IHOP, will be offering a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes per guest between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

But if you’re craving some pillowy carbs and you’d like to buy a little more local, I got your back. Here are five Des Moines-area breakfast places and their signature takes on pancakes.

Vegan cakes

Eggs and Jam

Vegan Superstar Pancakes at Eggs and Jam, 1907 EP True Pkwy #102, West Des Moines. — Lily DeTaeye/Little Village

Vegan Superstar
Are you plant-based and feeling left out? Head to Eggs and Jam in West Des Moines and order the Vegan Superstar pancakes. This 90’s hip-hop themed brunch spot will serve you three plate-sized vegan pancakes drizzled with almond butter and topped with loads of fresh fruit. Want to customize it a little bit more? Add a side of one of the restaurant’s rotating flavors of homemade jams. Pair this with fruit juice or a mimosa flight and even your favorite meat-eater will be singing a joyful tune. (PSA: Eggs and Jam is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, so you’ll just have to spread the Pancake Day love all week long.)

Sugar rush!

The Breakfast Club

Monster Cookie Pancakes at The Breakfast Club, 212 E 3rd St Ste B, Des Moines. — Lily DeTaeye/Little Village

Monster Cookie Pancake
Want to satisfy that sweet tooth? Head to The Breakfast Club in the East Village! Their Monster Cookie Pancakes come piled three high with a peanut butter/oatmeal dollop on top, sprinkled with M&M’s and topped again with whipped cream. Pair it with black coffee to even out the sweetness or one of their craft breakfast cocktails. Watch the cartoons playing on the TV behind the bar and relive the Saturday mornings of your childhood (but on a Tuesday and with booze.)

Savory cakes

Drake Diner

Potato Pancakes at Drake Diner, 1111 25th St, Des Moines. — Lily DeTaeye/Little Village

Potato Pancakes
If sugar isn’t really your thing, you may want to head to Drake Diner in dogtown for their potato pancakes. The recipe is Drake Diner’s own and spoiler alert, they’re to die for. The pancakes are thin, and while they resemble pancakes, they taste closer to a soft hashbrown with green onions and chives. This dish comes served with butter, sour cream, and applesauce. Pair it with apple cider or a hot apple toddy if you’re craving some cinnamon schnapps. Either way, these pancakes will warm you right up on these chilly Iowa days.

Classic cakes

Waveland Cafe, Des Moines

Buttermilk Pancake Special at Waveland Cafe, 4708 University Ave, Des Moines. — Lily DeTaeye/Little Village

Buttermilk Pancake Special
If you’re looking for something a little more classic to celebrate the holiday, look no further than Waveland Cafe. Since 1984, Waveland Cafe has been the breakfast watering hole for Des Moines-ians. It’s only right that they’re featured on this list. The Buttermilk Pancake special comes with two (if you’re getting the full order) plate-sized buttermilk pancakes, two eggs fried up your way, and choice of meat. Pair this with black coffee. Seriously. Don’t sleep on their coffee. Trust me on this one.


Jethro’s BBQ

Elvis Presley Peanut Butter Bacon Banana pancakes at Jethro’s BBQ, 1480 22nd St, West Des Moines. — Lily DeTaeye/Little Village

Elvis Presley Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes
While Jethro’s is typically known for barbecue, the West Des Moines location specializes in bacon. That’s where you can find our final pick, the Elvis Presley Peanut Butter Bacon Banana Pancakes. These decadent, protein-packed cakes have bacon inside of them and come topped with house-made peanut butter sauce and banana slices. Pair this with the Jake’s Cereal cocktail from the bar and I guarantee it’ll be the best National Pancake Day you’ve ever had.


Recipe: Two-Ingredient Pancakes

Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Not in the mood to face the crowds but still want to celebrate? Use Little Village Art Director Jordan Sellergren’s favorite two-ingredient pancake recipe and bring the magic into your own kitchen.


  • One ripe banana
  • Two eggs


  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tbsp butter for the pan
  • Strawberries
  • Maple syrup
Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

To Make

  • Mash one banana with two eggs and a pinch of salt, and blend using a whisk or fork until smooth
  • Heat butter on a heavy pan over medium heat
  • Once the butter is bubbling (but before it is burnt!) add small amounts (1/8 to 1/4 cup each cake) of the banana-egg (and salt!) batter to the pan and cook until the edges firm
  • Use a metal spatula to loosen the edges around each pancake and flip, repeating until you have used all the batter
  • Stack cakes, top with the final two ingredients for this simple, two-ingredient recipe: strawberries and maple syrup!

However you choose to celebrate this National Pancake Day, I hope it’s a berry good one.

Special thanks to Lindsey, Lizzy, Sharon, Annie, Shannon and Hailey for speaking to me about their pancakes and helping me put together this delicious story.

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