By Aida Toro
What’s more vintage than going to a family-friendly restaurant such as a diner? Although some diners have that real old school Jersey feel, the Brownstone Pancake Factory is a diner that still carries the vintage and family-friendly vibes. However, its distinctive and hip, all the way from the design and decor to the menu.
Brownstone Pancake Factory is located on New Jersey’s Gold Coast in a town called Edgewater. The diner is owned and operated by Bobby Bournias, and designed by his wife, Vanessa Deleon, a celebrity Interior Designer. Deleon’s designs and decor for the space always have patrons in awe. When walking in, you’ll notice a juice bar and a bakery display counter containing an assortment of cupcakes, pies, and cookies along with other baked goods. Once you look up at the ceiling, you’ll have an unusual experience. You’ll see an upside-down bench on top of a display of grass and a little cobblestone road that leads to an upside-down bike— all of which has caught the attention of children and even some celebrities. Some of the walls are covered with wallpaper resembling a black and white newspaper that featured Bournias and Guy Fieri of “Diners, Drive In’s and Dives”, as Bournias and The Brownstone Pancake Factory were featured on the show. Every section of the restaurant makes me feel at home because certain displays remind me of high school football games. Some of the nooks in the restaurant have high school memorabilia, and there’s a mirror all the way to the back containing a recipe of their famous, delectable pancakes.
I’ve been a customer at The Brownstone Pancake Factory since its inception, and I would not trade it for anything in the world. Bournias and his staff always welcome me with open arms and warm smiles, which are also factors to why I feel at home at the diner. On my most recent visit to the diner, I had the luxury to have breakfast with Bournias. It is obvious via social media channels that Bournias creates out of this world concoctions at the diner, whether it be a stack of Coconut Shrimp Pancakes or a Pumpkin Spiced Donuts Ultimate Insane Milkshake. On this day, however, I did not order a sweet concoction or innovative stack of pancakes, but a Breakfast Taco Salad, because I’ve never had a taco salad for breakfast. The Breakfast Taco Salad is a creation of Bournias was added to the menu, announcing tacos aren’t just for lunch or dinner. This taco salad’s base was a tortilla shaped like a small sombrero. Its packed with protein, including scrambled eggs, shredded carnitas that were juicy, beans, jalapenos, and some shredded cheese. The meal was appetizing, satisfying and very filling, because protein never fails. I then waited half an hour, and had a piece of a classic dessert we all know as an Apple Pie a La Mode. Apple Pie a La Mode at the Brownstone Pancake Factory tastes like heaven on earth. It's served warm and topped with a scoop of ice cream of your choice. I, of course, chose coffee flavored ice cream.
Even though many of you have seen videos of Bournias creating an insane shake at The Brownstone Pancake Factory through social media, visiting is worth the trip. You’ll get to savor the heartwarming hospitality, hip, and vintage vibes, and most importantly, food that will satisfy your palette and belly.
Aida's Food Adventures, Monthly Column