The thin, tender, hot-off-the-griddle pancakes at this elbow-to-elbow Dinkytown counter are as much of a U of M fixture as Goldy Gopher himself. Choose buttermilk or whole-wheat versions, served naked or with sweet corn, blackberries or the classic Al’s marriage of walnuts and wild Maine blueberries. Go ahead and splurge (85 cents or $1.25, two sizes) for the real Minnesota-made maple syrup. While you’re at it, order the hash browns ($2.50). You won’t regret it. $1.80 to $7.95.
413 SE. 14th St., Mpls., 612-331-9991, alsbreakfastmpls.com
Barnes & Noble Kitchen
Pancakes, at a bookstore? Yep. At this stylish Galleria newcomer, a stack of golden pancakes, their heft deflated by ricotta and welcome pops of lemon, are available daily until noon. There’s maple syrup, of course, but other finishing touches include a lavish dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a jumble of fresh berries. $11.
3230 Galleria, Edina, 952-929-4366, barnesandnoblekitchen.com
Fans of Swedish pancakes — those small, delicate beauties that hover somewhere in the middle on the crêpe/pancake continuum — have a refuge in this south Minneapolis charmer, at both weekday breakfast and weekend brunch. Love the blueberry-cranberry compote, a less-sweet alternative to maple syrup. Oh, and ricotta stands in for butter. Perfect. $10.
3800 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-823-4790, blackbirdmpls.com
The house specialty at the Tinucci family’s cheery mini-chain is the enormous, yeast-powered flapjacks known as Flappers. Going the old-school route — just butter and locally produced maple syrup — is more than satisfactory, but the kitchen also dolls them up with walnuts, apples and Brie. $3.75 to $10.25.
1340 Grand Av., St. Paul, 651-414-0543; 2315 Como Av., St. Paul, 651-797-4027; 1839 E. 42nd St., Mpls., 612-729-2377; colossalcafe.com