The restaurant reviewed is:
Ken’s House of Pancakes
1730 Kamehameha Ave
‘The Pocho’ (Portuguese sausage omelet) with a side of hash brown. Coconut Pancake with side of ice cream. Passionfruit, Orange and Guava syrup. POG juice (Passionfruit, Orange and Guava)
Banana Pancake with side of ice cream. Chef’s choice (Spinach, sausage, herbs, onion mushroom omelet). Passionfruit, Orange and Guava syrup. POG juice (Passionfruit, Orange and Guava)
Busy free car park which is prone to flooding when weather is wet. Located on the corner of 2 major roads. The Restaurant is styled as an old style Asian Pagoda building.
Decked out like an American 60s diner with booth style seating. Everything is a little worse for wear and also on the dirty sticky side of clean. Probably a result of a mixture of under staffing and 24 hour opening.
I was confused about the menu as pretty much everything came with pancakes which took the waitress a while to explain while she looked a little lethargic and bothered. She ended up being friendly but with a grumpy attitude. When a Sumo dish is ordered all the staff go nuts and a gong is banged to liven up the atmosphere. Service was quick.
The restrooms were awful to visit. They are worse than many of the public toilets available in Hawaii. They looked as if they had not been cleaned for a few days.
I was really looking forward to eating breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes because of it’s rave reviews on Urbanspoon and USA today. Ken’s House of Pancakes was the highest rated breakfast or brunch place on Hawaii Island on Urbanspoon and the USA today article is published on the wall as you walk into the restaurant and on their website and is dated 2008. It must be good right? WRONG! Perhaps it’s my high expectations of something special, perhaps it’s my perception of culinary brilliance, perhaps I don’t understand the Ken’s house of Pancakes experience or perhaps it’s just because the food and restaurant were crap!
Let’s start from the outside, a car park with no drainage is not too welcoming when it’s wet (which it is a lot in Hilo). Walking in through the doors, the place is dirty. The walls are bragging about how great they are which I find arrogant. The service is grumpy, tired and lazy. The seats and tables are in poor health. Everything is sticky because nobody seems to be cleaning anything. The menu is appallingly designed and shouts out ‘Cheap and tacky’. Then the food comes out and it’s lazily presented, greasy, flavourless, bland and boring. Then a visit to the restroom to wash down the sticky fingers picked up by the dirty syrup jugs reveals flooded faeces and urine on the floor. I had less chance of picking up a lethal bacterial dose cleaning my hands in the puddle in the car park than I did from the disgusting restroom sink.
Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the only 24 hour place to eat or drink on the island that draws loyalty from the 1am crowd but I don’t understand why the place is so popular. If anyone was to look at all the restaurant review videos I’ve made, I would very much doubt if anyone would rate Ken’s Pancakes as the most attractive dishes in Hawaii. The breakfast (and pancakes) at the Bay Terrace at Mauna Lani was far better and was only a little more expensive; a premium worth paying in my opinion.
Ken’s House of Pancakes came top in my most disappointing experiences in Hawaii. I had really wanted this restaurant to be great but instead found that it was just a giant mess. I’ve been generous with the scoring to accommodate the free parking and the quick service.
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