Newsday's Elisa DiStefano is on the hunt for Long Island's best pancakes. She sat down with Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez at Hatch in Huntington, and then stopped by Maureen's Kitchen in Smithtown. Credit: Newsday Staff

There is breakfast and then there are pancakes. A typical week’s morning routine, after all, brings the usual: cereal, toast, a bagel, eggs or, if you are feeling virtuous, a smoothie. But weekends, holidays or a special-occasion brunch call for something more celebratory—a piping-hot stack of pancakes, preferably dripping with pure maple syrup and good butter. As for other embellishments—fresh fruit, chocolate chips, the savory heft provided by breakfast sausages or crisp bacon—the sky’s the limit. You’ll find whatever makes you happy at one of Long Island’s finest pancake palaces.

Buttercooky Bakery & Cafe

140 Plandome Rd., Manhasset; 217 Jericho Tpke., Floral Park and 495 New York Ave., Huntington

You can hardly do better than Buttercooky’s fat little buttermilk pancakes topped with berries, homemade berry jam and brown-butter maple syrup, or the Nutella-banana crepes. But then again, there are pancakes smothered with chocolate mousse and crumble, and pancakes swirled with cinnamon, then topped with vanilla cream, cinnamon crumble and cream-cheese glaze. (Other locations in Huntington and Floral Park.) More info: 516-627-1600, buttercookybakery.com

Hendrick's Tavern

1305 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn

The restored 1740 estate of Hendrick Onderdonk is adorned with portraits of President George Washington, who visited on April 24, 1790. He would have been happy to be served such cloudlike lemon ricotta pancakes, which come with pure maple syrup, whipped cream and mixed berries. Three to an order. Weekend brunch only. More info: 516-621-1200, hendrickstavern.com  

Morning Rose Cafe

317 Bedford Ave., Bellmore

Pancakes are a specialty at this breakfast-brunch-lunch-only eatery and options start with classic buttermilk pancakes topped with maple syrup, "cinnamon-bun icing" or caramelized pears and goat cheese and candied pecans--and then launch into pancake parts unknown with lemon-poppyseed or sweet-potato-chocolate-chip pancakes with candied pecans. More info: 516-221-5010, morningrosecafe.com

Lemon poppy pancakes with mixed berry compote and vanilla whipped cream...

Lemon poppy pancakes with mixed berry compote and vanilla whipped cream at Morning Rose Cafe in Bellmore. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Stellina Ristorante

76 South St., Oyster Bay

Now serving brunch, pancakes here are served with choice of Nutella, a decadent and highly recommended pistachio cream, or maple syrup and topped with berries and whipped cream. A turbo version made with buffalo ricotta and laden with cherries and chocolate reads more like dessert. More info: 516-757-4989, stellinany.com

IHOP 

2935 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown and multiple other locations

Crowded parking lots and lines out the door attest to the popularity of this chain, a long-standing destination for families. Here, it's best to order as simply as possible, avoiding artificial-tasting whipped toppings, fruit compotes and the like. Pancake varieties include original buttermilk, chocolate chip and "harvest grain 'n' nut," all three to an order. Kids can order silver-dollar pancakes, funny-face pancakes and create-a-face cakes, using a tube of low-fat strawberry yogurt to add their own artistic touches. More info: ihop.com

Hatch

286 Main St., Huntington

Pineapple upside-down pancakes are topped with house-made vanilla rum creme anglaise, caramelized pineapple and cinnamon butter. More info: 631-424-0780, hatchbrunch.com

Pineapple upside down pancakes are topped with house-made vanilla rum...

Pineapple upside down pancakes are topped with house-made vanilla rum creme anglaise, carmelized pineapple and cinnamon butter at Hatch in Huntington. Credit: Daniel Brennan

The Shed

1511 Old Country Rd., Plainview; 54 New St., Huntington and 21 Main St., West Sayville

Served at locations in Plainview, Sayville, and Huntington, this fluffy stack is as classic as it gets. Sprinkled with powdered sugar, these freshly made buttermilk pancakes can be topped with berries, chocolate, banana, nuts or the works. More info: intheshed.com

Rustic Root

7927 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury

The blueberry buttermilk pancakes on the main menu might be overshadowed by the chocolate chip variety on the kids menu and have parents crying foul. Both are worth the trip. More info: 516-364-5041, rusticrootkitchen.com

Toast Coffeehouse

9 S. Park Ave., Bay Shore; 46 E. Main St., Patchogue and 650 Route 112, Port Jefferson Station

The all-day brunch chainlet offers pancakes for every craving, from cinnamon swirl to blueberry and walnut. Two to an order. More info: toastcoffeehouse.com

Blueberry pecan pancakes dusted with powdered sugar at Toast Coffeehouse.

Blueberry pecan pancakes dusted with powdered sugar at Toast Coffeehouse. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Whiskey Down Diner

252 Main St., Farmingdale

Silver dollars are the star here--buttery, crisp-edged and perfectly sized for kids or adults. More info: 516-927-8265, whiskeydowndiner.com

Munday's

259 Main St., Huntington

The cinnamon pancakes here are on point -- requiring no syrup at all, your fork will sink through the layers of pillowy perfection. A flavorful breakfast for carb-hungry morning folk. More info: 631-421-3553, mundaysofhuntington.com 

Park Avenue Grill

178 Park Ave., Amityville

Lemon ricotta pancakes studded with fresh blueberries are a standout at this friendly spot. They're thin, light, lemony and quite elegant. Three to an order. More info: 631-598-4618

A trio of Lemon ricotta pancakes at Park Avenue Grill...

A trio of Lemon ricotta pancakes at Park Avenue Grill in Amityville. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Toast & Co

62 Stewart Ave., Huntington

With five varieties to choose from – plain buttermilk, with bananas, with berries (both inside and atop), a gluten-free version, or a lighter, thinner Swedish-style pancake drizzled with Nutella and bananas – all pancake lovers will find something to savor at this always buzzing spot. More info: 631-812-0056, toastandcoeatery.com

Sweet Mama's 

9 Alsace Pl., Northport and 121 Main St., Stony Brook

Loaded with whipped cream and a torrent of blueberries, the pancakes at Sweet Mama's do not mess around. It took three sittings to get through the hefty tower of three, so make sure you take some of those Smucker's syrup packets home for your leftovers. More info: sweetmamasli.com

Eastport Luncheonette

497 Montauk Hwy., Eastport

Could this country diner be any more perfect? The answer is yes, when the banana pancakes arrive at the table with brilliant crunchy edges and soft banana chunks that flow into the tender batter. They're not showy — there isn't even butter — but gosh darn are they good. More info: 631-325-8887

Banana walnut pancakes at Eastport Luncheonette.

Banana walnut pancakes at Eastport Luncheonette. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Little Gull Cafe

54 N Phillips Ave., Speonk

Nothing fancy at this charming cafe house in a decommissioned train station, just deeply golden, crisp-edged pancakes that are naturally leavened by sourdough and are served with real maple syrup and whipped butter. Why not add a side of Benton's thick-cut bacon or homemade sausage? More info: 631-801-2176, littlegullcafe.com

Love Lane Kitchen

240 Love Ln., Mattituck

Two words: pancake tacos. This daily special solves the essential problem of pancakes, rendering them sweet and savory at the same time. The flawlessly textured cakes are topped with scrambled eggs, slivers of breakfast sausage and fresh pico de gallo with little snaps of jalapeño. Whether you top them with Vermont maple syrup or Cholula hot sauce is your choice. Believe it or not, it's actually really delicious with both. More info: 631-298-8989, lovelanekitchen.com

Maureen's Kitchen

108 Terry Rd., Smithtown

Expect a wait at this popular breakfast and lunch spot where pancakes are served in abundance. Available in massive one, two, or three stack portions, the sheer variety of choices will have you salivating on seating. Blueberry, banana nut, apple cinnamon, chocolate chip, pumpkin walnut -- you name it -- they likely have it. Particularly popular are the green hued pistachio pancakes and there's always an additional pancake special. Cash only. More info: 631-360-9227

Lemon poppy pancakes served with fresh strawberries and blueberries at...

Lemon poppy pancakes served with fresh strawberries and blueberries at Maureen's Kitchen in Smithtown. Credit: Allison Davis O'Keefe

Estia's Little Kitchen

1615 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Sag Harbor

The fluffy fruit saturated pancakes served alongside breakfast tacos and huevos rancheros are second to none. Seasonal strawberries, peaches, and blueberries feature prominently and specials include varieties like buckwheat. More info: 631-725-1045, estias.com

John's/Anthony's Pancake Houses

721 and 710 Montauk Hwy., Montauk

It's a timeless East End debate over which of these two virtually identical greasy spoons -- directly across from each other on Montauk Highway -- have the better pancake. Anthony's fruit topped offerings dot tables, while John's combinations -- like chocolate and peanut butter -- are hugely popular. Be prepared for lines at both; remember to bring cash. More info: 631-668-2383 (John's), 631-668-2823 (Anthony's)

Compiled by Andi Berlin, Erica Marcus, Marie Elena Martinez, Joann Vaglica and Scott Vogel

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