I'm happy that an Original Pancake House franchise has opened in Sugar House. I've eaten at one of the Denver franchises and loved it, so when I glimpsed that happy chef flipping the huge "O" in his skillet, I knew I had to gather up the family and get over there.

I just wish we hadn't gone on a Saturday for lunch.

The food was just as stellar as I remembered, from the delicious freshly squeezed orange juice to the fluffy pancakes and smoky thick-cut bacon. It's just that I'm apparently not the only person excited to have the Original Pancake House in town. The place was packed and the staff was practically running to keep up. In a situation like that, a few service lapses are inevitable.

The vibe at Original Pancake House is homey: Wedgwood blue-and-yellow walls, honey-colored wooden tables and chairs, decorative plates on a rail ranging around the dining space. Even a fireplace. It's like eating in your aunt's extremely large kitchen, assuming that your aunt is really good at breakfast.

Our hostess forgot to give us menus. That was remedied after just a few minutes, but our server did forget a few things and, due to one of our kids' meals being taken by another server, we waited a long time for our food. Each time there was a problem, our server explained what had happened and apologized. And once our food came, we forgot about the wait.

I had the pecan pancakes with bananas sliced on top. If you're not drooling yet, you should be. The Original Pancake House's already-good buttermilk pancakes become sublime with the addition of crunchy toasted pecans, both cooked into the cakes and sprinkled on top, along with powdered sugar. Add the bananas, butter and a drizzling of maple syrup and you've reached breakfast nirvana.

I ordered a slice of sugar-cured hickory-smoked ham to eat alongside, but if I do that again, I'll get the half-order, three pancakes, instead of the six you get with a full order.

My husband had the Western omelet, fluffy inside and slightly browned outside. It was filled with smoky ham and fresh-tasting peppers, tomatoes and onions. With the omelet comes a stack of three buttermilk pancakes and a serving of "home fries," perfectly browned seasoned potatoes.

My oldest daughter begged to try the chocolate-chip pancakes from the adults' menu. She liked them, but they're really more like a dessert, due to the richness of the pancakes cooked with mini-dark-chocolate chips inside, then sprinkled with more chips and topped with a huge dollop of whipped cream. I can picture couples sharing a plate of them.

Our other kids had pancakes and fresh-and-light scrambled eggs, plus a slice of thick, crisp-chewy bacon apiece. Everything we had was well- and fresh-cooked, quite an accomplishment considering the huge crowd.

To finish, I had a chocolate steamer, a creamy, fancified version of hot chocolate served in a glass mug. It's also available in vanilla, with several flavor shots available, and I'm already considering how that would go with some other items on the menu — perhaps a vanilla steamer with a baked-apple pancake and some bacon alongside. Or a chocolate steamer with cherry crepes and sausage. Or orange juice with a Spanish omelet. Or . . . .

Pancakes $3.50-$7.95, specialties $8.50-$9.25, waffles $5.75-$8.25, crepes $3.95-$8.75, omelets and egg specialties $5.95-$9.95, meats $2.50-$5.75, sides $1.50-$4.75, kids' meals $2.75-$4.75.

Rating: ***

Where: 790 E. 2100 South

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Sunday 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Payment: No checks accepted

Reservations: Accepted Monday-Friday for meeting room only

Phone: 484-7200

Web: www.originalpancakehouse.com

Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: skratz@desnews.com