I recently got an e-mail from Tom Lano, former owner of Tre Scalini in Huntington, saying that he and his son, chef Chris Lano, were now franchisees at Country Kitchen in Smithtown. “Come in and try the best pancakes in town,” was a challenge I couldn’t put on hold. The best pancakes in town at a franchise restaurant? This I had to see.

Turns out that the cheerful, comfortable spot, hung with archival photos of Smithtown, is part of one of the cleverest marketing ploys going. On Country Kitchen's menu, the breakfast dish is actually named The Best Pancakes in Town.

I found them to be ordinary, appealing to those who prefer their flapjacks a bit sweet and dense. But best in town? Not when you're talking about the town that's home to both Premier Diner and Maureen’s Kitchen.

Lano said that the restaurant's beer and wine menu will soon be up and running. Also, over the summer, Chris Lano plans to introduce some of his own specials.

Country Kitchen is at 77 Rte. 111, Smithtown, 631-366-5271, countrykitchenrestaurants.com.

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