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While this week's Last Supper is dedicated to the new Southeast Portland pancake purveyor, Slappy Cakes, I'd like to think it's a larger meditation on dining gimmicks in particular. If you haven't read this week's column, or if you've never been to Slappy Cakes, the gimmick they employ is giving patrons the opportunity to make their own flapjacks on inset tabletop griddles.

While I'm generally dubious of such contrivances, I'll be the first to admit DIY pancakes are a winner. By far the best times I've had at Slappy Cakes were spent with friends making pancake doodles on the hot griddle. It's damn entertaining. It's even better when you add a full bar and some decent cocktails (try the “Green,” a tart tomatillo-based bloody Mary).

Take away the pancakes? Well... While I believe there is a huge amount of potential for Slappy Cakes to succeed in non-pancake brunch and lunch options, they're not there yet. The menu looks tasty, but the execution is flagging.

So this is an instance where gimmick saves an establishment—a rare occurrence. Often, gimmicks can have the opposite effect. I'm thinking of one instance where the gimmick completely failed for me.

Questions: Where do you stand on gimmickry in dining? Also, I called Slappy Cakes a “theme restaurant.” The theme being... Um... Quirky DIY pancake establishment? I think it may have been incorrect to lump Slappy Cakes in with places like Casa Bonita in Denver, Colorado—a restaurant notorious for its shitty food and amazing kitsch cliff diving grotto interior.

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So, was it bad form to link Slappy Cakes with the restaurant of Cartman's dreams? (Yes, it's a real place. I went there many times as a kid.)


Let me have it, Blogtownies! I can take it. Then I'll go to Slappy Cakes for a pancake binge to make myself feel better... If they're still willing to serve me.