The Griddle 

On the plate of Reviewer No. 2

I'll admit, when I heard that the Original Pancake House was pulling up stakes after only a brief stay in Idaho, I was a little weepy. There was already a dearth of places to find a decent breakfast in Eagle.

I wondered what could fill the void. The answer arrived in the form of The Griddle, a mini-chain with locations in Meridian and Winnemucca, Nev. In this case, "fill the void" actually means taking over the vacated location.

I had previously been to The Griddle's Meridian location off Overland Road, where I met friends for breakfast amid the cacophony of the weekend crowd in the echoing confines of the diner-style eatery. I didn't quite know what to expect in Eagle.

The cool blues and concrete floors of the Meridian location have always felt a bit cold to me, but I was wonderfully surprised to find a warm, welcoming and casual atmosphere in Eagle.

Hidden among the maze of cookie-cutter buildings filling the southeast corner of Eagle Road and State Street near Mai Thai and Bardenay, the restaurant's muted yellow-gold walls, timber accents, floor-to-ceiling windows and gas fireplace make it a cozy place to curl up on a frigid winter morning. The Griddle has managed to make the space more homey than its previous occupant with the addition of some artwork on the walls and just a touch of kitsch, as well as jars of homemade preserves for sale at the front counter.

But keeping with its established tradition, the restaurant's breakfast menu is full of pages of eggs, omelettes, pancakes, waffles, french toast and potato concoctions. I was impressed by the depth of the menu, with offerings for just about every breakfast taste, from simple and savory to hearty and sweet.

The latter was the case with my stuffed french toast ($7.99). Two thick slices of bread arrived sandwiching a layer of cream cheese and a strawberry/rhubarb compote. The stack was dusted with just the slightest flurry of powdered sugar and--in an example of simple, yet effective presentation--was garnished with a sprig of mint in the dead-center of the top piece of toast.

While it came accompanied with a personal-sized metal pitcher of maple syrup, the filling alone was enough to satisfy even a sweet tooth like mine. The toast's exterior was slightly crisp and nary a trace of sogginess was found inside, but it was the compote that left the lasting impression. Big chunks of rhubarb continuously appeared amid the thick, red sauce, giving the entire meal a wonderfully homemade feel.

The experience was topped off by local Dawson Taylor coffee ($1.79), although the cups could stand to be a bit larger, making it just a little easier to linger over a lazy morning meal.

--Deanna Darr likes pancakes with inexplicable names.

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