Slappy Cakes, Lahaina: Make Your Own Pancakes

As you walk into Slappy Cakes in Ka’anapali, you first notice that it’s pretty spartan as far as furnishings, and with very high ceilings. You hope the wait is worth it, but as it is a high-tourist time, and on a Monday brunch, a crowd should be expected. There does seem to be pretty spacious parking, as any overflow can be handled by The Time supermarket next-door.

You are greeted immediately by the person at the front kiosk, who takes your name, and invited to sit down. With such a crowd, however, that’s easier said than done. The wooden benches are already full of expectation, as you scan the faces.

Slappy Cakes: Gary at the Grill

Slappy Cakes: Gary at the Grill

After a 25-minute wait, you are more than ready for the experience of the restaurant awarded “America’s Best” by The Food Network for one of the top ten destinations in America! Well, let’s check this place out!

Tony sits us down on wooden benches (more about that, later), and we’re a party of 3, but with only 2 here, at the moment. When our third party arrives, he still has to wait for his water. Okay…not the best start. He is a very attentive, and helpful guide to start us on our Slappy Cakes journey.

What you first notice is the griddle in the middle of the table…The directions to operate the knobs are written in Chinese, which is kind of funny considering this restaurant’s been in business in America since 2009, starting first in Portland, Oregon. It’s now expanded to be all over Asia, as well as continuing on in the U.S. Perhaps they got more sophisticated grills as they evolved, or just started this way. Either way, the operation is fairly easy to understand, regardless of the ostensible written language barrier as Tony tells us that we need only be aware of the light ceasing to blink to know when to start cooking. Sounds easy…What fun!

The menu shows various suggested combos, as well as any meal ordered from the kitchen, like a normal restaurant. But we’re here to make it ourselves, and I can’t think of a more fun way to enjoy the experience!

I order the Imo (purple sweet potato) batter, with Mango topping and a peanut-butter and coconut syrup. My dining mate orders a Chocolate batter with Blueberries & Strawberries, and tops it with regular Maple syrup, and the other one decides to try the Buttermilk batter with Blueberry topping, and a Lemon-Curd sauce. For fun, and a change of pace, we also decide to try a “savory” pancake from the menu; the Vegan batter with the Goat cheese and Mushroom topping, then finished off with some Bacon (I know. Crazy, but anything goes, here!)

You can see how extensive the menu is, and we were only doing the tip of the iceberg as far as variety goes! The batter comes in squeeze bottles, and basic maple and banana syrup is already at the table.

Slappy Cakes: Gary Taking Notes

Slappy Cakes: Gary Taking Notes

As long as we were sampling bacons offered here, we thought we’d give the Candied bacon and Chicken-fried bacon a go, too…why not?

Our coffee, POG (Passion fruit-Orange-Guava), and orange juice comes first, and all is good, except the OJ doesn’t taste fresh-squeezed as is advertised on the menu (as this dining mate is also in the restaurant industry, working for a high-end restaurant in Lahaina, I’ll take his word for it). It tasted okay to me, but not up to my own restaurant’s standards, even though I only owned a modest coffee shop. Fresh-squeezed is pretty recognizable to most in the industry.

The batter, toppings, and sauces arrive promptly as we watch the griddle heat up, in anticipation. Now, we are handed plates and we get our own spatulas, too. I feel like Spongebob Squarepants (ask your kids if you don’t know who this is, yet!) “Oh, BOY, Patrick! We get to cook our own FOOD!” I say in the character’s voice to two smiling faces at our table.

We discover that the middle of the griddle cooks quickest, so I recommend using that part for the imo, if you get that batter. Imo takes the longest to cook, we’re told. We pour the other batters onto the griddle, and watch for any solidifying hints so we can add the toppings as soon as possible to the little, round delights cooking in front of us. Now, we wait…

So we sip our drinks, and wait for the bacon, also still cooking in the kitchen (you don’t make your own bacon; probably a good idea).

We add the topping, and watch for the bubbling of the edges to give us an idea of when to flip ’em over. The bacon array arrives, and we sample them. The regular bacon is crispy, and very good. The candied bacon has crushed macadamia nuts on top, and a sweet sauce. Wow! And the chicken-fried bacon has to be experienced to be believed. All taste great, we determine. All have their own personality as we’re sure our pancakes will, as well. We flip them over, and I figure waiting for the imo will be worth it. It’ll take a few more minutes.

Slappy Cakes: Gary Making Pancakes

Slappy Cakes: Gary Making Pancakes

The beauty of eating here, is that you can share if you choose to…which we did with the bacon, and thankfully, my eating companions deign to share their pancakes (now finished cooking), with me. We squeeze some more batter from our respective bottles, and dig in. Now, I flip the imo over and listen to the sizzle of the mangoes on the grill.

The pancakes are amazing. With the toppings and sauces they take on new dimensions of flavor. My own imo is still cooking, so I try the buttermilk with blueberry filling, and the lemon curd topping…I love it! And it receives accolades from the others, as well. The chocolate batter with the blueberries and strawberries really comes to life as the flavors mix together. Very good…we all like this one, as well.

The savory one is ready, now, and we try that one. I love it…the goat cheese and mushrooms are nicely complemented by the bacon bits on top, and to me, it tastes like a fine blintz. A nice change from the sweet stuff we’re concocting, and very good in its own right.

Finally, my imo has finished, and I flip it onto my plate. When I top it off with the peanut-butter and coconut sauce, it’s absolutely Nirvana (not the music group, kids. ask the parents, if you don’t know)!

Okay, this is right up there with the lemon-curd topping, two of our favorites. Again, the beauty of the experience is the sharing of your different batters (mixed, you can make faces, or multi-colored/flavored targets from the batter!), fillings, and sauces, should you have such generous dining fellows as did I. And no one went hungry, with 3 active males at the table! So, good job, Slappy Cakes!

Slappy Cakes: Chicken Fried Bacon

Slappy Cakes: Chicken Fried Bacon

The experience of the brunch was such that I didn’t even think too much about sitting on a wood plank for the entire meal, which would usually dampen the experience, somewhat. If I were to suggest anything to make it more enjoyable, putting cushions on the benches would be paramount. Even with high ceilings, the sound isn’t overwhelming, with the diners not echoing too much, and the music kept at a nice, medium volume.

With a sense of community you get with 4-6 guests at each table I would say this is a fun place to eat, and if you have little ones who might get too close to the griddle, simply place them at the end of the table, or closer to the wall, where they can’t reach the griddle. It’s a great way to play with your food..!

I’m told by Ashley, the manager that they are quite proud of their Eggs Benedict, so I think I’ll give that one a go, next time I come here. Highly recommended for service, choice, and a great experience for you and your friends to try. See you here!

Slappy Cakes, Maui
3350 L Honoapiilani Rd #701
Lahaina, HI

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About Gary Gillett

Gary Gillett is the Feature Editor at 808 Reviews and 808 Grindz.
Gary also freelances and writes books about metaphysics, as well as poetry, scripts, animation, and screenplays. An accomplished voice actor, he can currently be heard in 22 countries and in several languages. He lives in Maui, and loves peanut butter cookies.

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