Using the words “tastebud explosion” to describe one of its signature dishes, I knew I was in for a flavorful treat when I visited Apple Villa Famous Pancake House and Restaurant in Batavia for breakfast.
Imagine an oven-baked pancake with fresh Granny Smith apples, oozing cinnamon glaze, a crunchy cinnamon-infused crust and a delicate dusting of powdered sugar, and you have the Batavia eatery’s signature item – the Baked Apple Villa Pancake. (The popular pancakes also are available in the frozen food section of grocery stores such as Jewel-Osco and Mariano’s.)
Warned about the pancake’s 45-minute bake time by our friendly waitress, my dining companion and I opted to sample other breakfast items on the menu to whet our appetites.
After a perusing of the menu, it became evident Apple Villa serves diners more than the typical American breakfast fare, offering inventive twists on traditional dishes.
Why order French toast when you can have the French Connection, which essentially IS French toast, but made with cinnamon spiral bread, cinnamon apples, raisins and Georgia pecans. Or, maybe the Banana Bread Toast, or the Berry Berry Stuffed French Toast with raspberries, blueberries and strawberries is more your style.
A plethora of pancake options grace the menu, as well, such as the Crisp Bacon Cakes, which use bacon-infused batter topped with even more bacon; or The Dutchess, an oven-baked dutch pancake filled with fresh broccoli, onion, tomato and mushrooms with a Havarti cheese topping. (The restaurant also serves lunch items, including salads and sandwiches.)
Before ordering one mammoth-sized baked pancake to split, I tried one of Apple Villa’s specialty coffee drinks – the Carmel Mocha Cappuccino – which was served in a sculptural mug with an artsy saucer.
Apple Villa uses gourmet Hawaiian Kona Coffee, which also can be purchased ground in a 12 ounce, vacuum-packed bag at the restaurant.
Other than the coffee, Grade AA eggs, made-from-scratch hollandaise and extra-thick cut hickory-smoked bacon are a few examples of the quality and freshness of the food.
I ordered the Apple Villa Skillet – an iron-skillet-less combination of hashbrown potatoes, diced hickory smoked ham, onions, mushrooms, melted cheese and a topping of scrambled eggs. The succulent mushrooms teamed perfectly with the smoky, flavorful chunks of ham. Normally, I’ll order a side of Ranch dressing or use ketchup for the hashbrowns, but no condiments were necessary. There were enough flavors swirling about to tantalize the tastebuds.
My dining companion ordered the Hawaiian Omelette on special. The omelette was packed with crisp bacon, smoked ham, diced pineapple chunks and melted Swiss cheese. Both of our orders came with a side of buttermilk pancakes or toast.
Similar to ordering a dessert after dinner, our breakfast ended with the apple-pie-esque, baked-apple pancake, which was a “flavor explosion” indeed.
There are a lot of dining options for breakfast in the Tri-Cities, but Apple Villa’s warm, down-home atmosphere, great service and creative breakfast options make the cozy eatery worth a visit.
If you go
• WHAT: Apple Villa Famous Pancake House and Restaurant • WHERE: 1961 W. Wilson St., Batavia • HOURS: Open daily 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. • INFORMATION: 630-406-8022 or www.applevillapancakes.com
• The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at the Kane County Chronicle. The diner’s identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. The Mystery Diner visits a restaurant and then reports on the experience. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a review.