I was chatting with two young moms last night about how frequently their friend circle orders Saturday morning breakfast via delivery service. It’s a lot, and now I’m happy to introduce you all to Pancakes With Benefits, a t-shirt slogan that became a full-fledged breakfast delivery company that has been making weekends better since it launched in October 2020.
Here’s how it all happened: Adam Zoblotsky, an entrepreneur and owner of a restaurant branding company, started working with Sonja Ryder, owner of Poor Richard’s Café in Plano, a breakfast and comfort food mecca since 1973. While he was engaged with the café as branding consultant, he worked on Poor Richard’s line of El Arroyo-esque of merch including a t-shirt with a giant stack of pancakes depicted and a caption that read, “I like my pancakes with benefits.” What are the benefits? That’s subject to interpretation but the t-shirt was a hit regardless.
Then, the P-word happened. No, not pancakes, the PANDEMIC. Adam and Sonja, like millions of others trying to save their businesses, came up with a way to sell product safely while the dining room was closed and thus became the origin of pancake delivery. The popularity and cheekiness of “Pancakes With Benefits” was the perfect moniker for the enterprise. The benefits being delivery, convenience, and the delicious accoutrements that come with each order.
I am on the record as saying I will not write about Ghost Kitchens. But, then Pancakes With Benefits happened, and I had to eat my words along with about six different kinds of pancakes. The business operates out of two commercial kitchen/culinary incubators, the original in Plano and one in the Dallas Design District.
Behind a nondescript, windowless industrial metal door in a sand-colored building off I-35, the smell of powdered sugar and vanilla welcomed me into a commercial kitchen abuzz with creativity and positive energy. Adam greeted me and showed me around a compact and efficient space sectioned into mini kitchens to allow other tenants space to create. I snooped around and saw one young woman carefully and lovingly decorate star-shaped cookies before focusing on Adam’s aebleskiver – Dutch pancake – pan, an ebony circle with divots, little ponds ready to be filled with sweet cream pancake batter.
He whipped up a half dozen lemon ricotta Dutch pancakes and handed them to me on a plate, I didn’t wait for a fork, just popped them in my mouth. SOLD. Had I waited, a blueberry compote “benefit” would have been poured on top of the pancakes.
Pancakes With Benefits come in a variety of flavors: the lemon ricotta, red velvet, chocolate chip. cinnamon roll, hot cocoa, and the classic PWB, the sweet cream batter pancake with a kiss of vanilla served with cinnamon butter. Seasonal flavors include pumpkin and eggnog. There are vegan pancakes on the menu, too, but only in Plano at this point. I tried six different flavors and they were all moist, tender, and authentic. These don’t come from a pre-made mix and it shows. To be honest, it took me three days to try every flavor and even on day three, 30 seconds in the microwave and they were almost as good as fresh made. My favorite is the red velvet pancake served with a sweet cream cheese spread.
Delivery is through Door Dash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub, and is limited to deliveries within a 15-mile radius of each location. Pancakes With Benefits is only open on the weekends; delivery 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. You can also pick them up at the Dallas kitchen on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon. Timing? Well, food delivery can be super-fast or not. If you’re accustomed to food delivery, then you most likely know how to manage your expectations for order to arrival.
The production is the quickest part, with Adam telling me that it takes 10 minutes to receive an order and get it ready for pick up. By the way, while you’re placing your order, you can also add a few short stacks of PWB frozen pancakes to keep in the freezer for mid-week meals.
What are the benefits of Pancakes With Benefits? Peace on earth, for one thing. Molly wants chocolate chip, Catherine wants plain and Jay wants vegan? No problem, everyone gets what they want. Delivery is nice, too. There’s no mess, clean up, no spilled batter that cakes on the cooktop. Plus, these taste great.