BATTER GRIDDLE & DRINKERY induces much eye-rolling. It's got a silly, trendy name (to echo other restaurant insiders: spare us the ampersand), and a menu chockablock with groan-worthy names like Puttin' on the Blintz, Pecan Do It!, and Mocha Me Go.
One begins to scan the pages for Denny's Moons Over My Hammy.
But treat Batter like a well-meaning dad joke: Park the snark at the door. Batter is a little cheesy with the puns, and overplays its abilities with stunts like the awful chickpea Waff-lafel, but it's ultimately a fine twist on Portland's favorite meal.
It's best to approach this NE Fremont newcomer not with high culinary standards—just accept it for what it is. First, it's ridiculously cheap. Initially, $8 to $11 seems like a lot to pay for a plate of pancakes, but they're stuffed with pork belly and Gruyère and served with a berry sauce in the Full Monti ($9). The cheese makes the pancake a bit gooey, yet the flavors are spot-on. And the portions are GINORMOUS—a table of two gets out for less than $25, with leftovers for dayz.
Servers are clad in head-to-toe black and are clearly overworked, but do their best to help you (and the similarly overworked parents of toddlers who are there). Expect short lines on weekends, and then expect to wait for longer than you'd expect after being seated; once the restaurant fills up, the kitchen consistently stalls out.
However, Batter stays open until 11 pm, and with options like the (again: massive) fried chicken and waffles, it makes that whole breakfast-for-dinner thing okay. Especially because there is booze. None of the cocktails were standouts, and the Pryor, a blended chai and rum drink ($8), was grainy. But there's always a good rotation of local beers on tap, as well as a $10 flight of Northwest-produced spirits.
Pair savory dishes with sweet ones and share with the table. Undoubtedly a carbohydrate bomb, the Mac 'n' Crêpes ($8) are two burrito-sized crêpes filled to bursting with mac 'n' cheese and topped with more cheese sauce. Add bacon for $1. It just works. Pair it with big old stack of True Blue blueberry buttermilk pancakes, with both fresh berries and blueberry syrup.
Batter's biggest problem is undercooking its waffles and pancakes—a skill they should have down pat. A serving of Wakey Wakey, Eggs and Bakey (har har), featured waffles with bacon inside and eggs and cheese on top; the waffles had near-runny dough. Same went for a cheese-filled pancake on another visit. Also, after watching a woman take a bite and then abandon the preposterous-seeming creole shrimp cornmeal waffle with a garlic sauce, we lacked the courage to even try it.
Batter Griddle & Drinkery isn't a place for haute brunch, but if you're looking for hearty, affordable, and crowd-pleasing (and can order a "Spanakrepita" with a straight face), there are worse places to get your carb fix.
Tues-Sun 8 am-11 pm. Takeout available and very popular. Full bar. Obviously kid-friendly. Gluten-free and vegan options available.