Harlem Pancake Wars Coming To 125th Street

April 25, 2014

perrkins family bakeryThat’s right, the Harlem pancake war is about to sizzle. Tennessee-based Perkins Family Restaurant & Bakery is opening its first Manhattan outpost on the Main Street of Black America and one block from rival IHOP.

The latest corporate addition to the uptown landscape, whose kitchen will start whipping up gut-busting grub by mid-May, joins the already saturated Harlem breakfast-food scene highlighted by such famed culinary bastions as Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth’s.

“There is competition everywhere — whether it’s in Harlem or Des Moines, Iowa,” said Bob Winters, co-owner of the new 168-seat eatery.

“We have a full bakery,” he added. “Everything we sell is baked on the premises. We are much more than a pancake house.”

Perkins, a 56-year-old staple of suburbia with 410 locations scattered across 33 states and Canada, already has three spots on Staten Island.

Winters, a north New Jersey native and retired Perkins corporate honcho, said he was hungry to open his first restaurant uptown due to the ongoing real estate gold rush.

Perkins’ neighbor, the E. 125th St. Pathmark site, was quietly sold for $39 million to upmarket Extell Development, The News reported last week.


“We are excited about the development and growth in Harlem,” said Winters, who plans to sell popular pancake dishes at cheaper prices than other Perkins locales. For example, a stack of silver dollar pancakes will go for about $3.49 in East Harlem — about $1.50 less than the company’s average price per plate.

“We are not Red Rooster,” Winters said, referring to celeb chef Marcus Samuelsson’s trendy Lenox Ave. restaurant. “We want to be affordable for everybody.” Meanwhile, officials at the always low-priced IHOP shrugged off concerns about Perkins’ upper Manhattan arrival.

“We are not scared,” said the manager of the 238-seat breakfast Lexington Ave. staple. “We are here 24 hours, seven days a week. “IHOP has a name.”

Perkins will close by 11 p.m. during the work week, but will stay open throughout Friday and Saturday nights.

Harlem’s chicken-and-waffle mainstays didn’t batter an eyelash over Perkins’ 12-page menu options, calling the chain a mere greasy spoon.

“We are more of a soul food place. They are more of a diner,” David Mekles said, general manager of Amy Ruth’s.

And Tren’Ness Woods-Black, great granddaughter of the late restaurateur Sylvia Woods, said Perkins’ won’t put a dent in her legendary grandmother’s eponymous kitchen.

“We aren’t in the same category,” Woods-Black said.

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