44th Cafe Pancake House: Shady Restaurant of the Month [closed]

by | September 7, 2008 | 8 Comments

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44th Cafe Pancake House is located at 2119 Southwest 44th in Oklahoma City (map).  You can call them at (405) 686-7702.

Please note: this restaurant is no longer in business.

The goal of every shady pick is to find a tasty bit of food at a location the average person may never have the guts to try on their own.  This month’s pick, Macy’s Pancake House, was actually recommended by one of our shady-lovin’ readers. The only thing is, Macy’s Pancake House was sold, and the name changed.  It is now 44th Cafe Pancake House.  Actually, I think it’s really only called 44th Cafe, but Pancake House still is pasted down the pole so that is what I will call it.

I had been to 44th Cafe about a year ago (when it was Macy’s) and remembered it to be pretty good.  I decided to go back and try it again.  Sure, it’s pretty shady.  You will find 44th Cafe nestled snuggly among a long line of pawn shops and cash advance joints.  The pawn shop next door actually outfitted my Volkswagen with a new stereo not too long ago.  So, how shady is this stretch of road, you ask?  Well, Sydney’s Restaurant, the famed inaugural Shady Restaurant of the Month, chose to move just down the road at SW 44th and May.  I will miss the old location with its leaky awning and its requirement of unplugging the fan to plug in the credit card machine, but even places like Sydney’s are looking to advance themselves.

As nearly every shady restaurant does, 44th Cafe likes to proudly put pictures of their food on the sign outside.  I’m not sure what the reasoning is behind this is.  You would think the words “Cafe” and “Pancake House” would be enough to clue people in that there are delicious greasy morsels inside.  Maybe they simply want to be sure that the image of their food can transcend language. Who knows.

Inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the well-lit, air conditioned environment.  Smokers are segmented in a separate room and unsurprisingly, that room was full.  There was no one in the non-smoking area except for myself and my shady companions.  Also, if you were thinking about borrowing the proprietor’s phone for personal reasons, you’d better think again.  There is a big sign on the counter plainly stating “No More Personal Phone Calls.”  Lucky for me, I had my cell phone for emergencies.

After we looked over our menus, our waitress approached and broke down the options for us.  I appreciated her candid honesty.  “Breakfast is great!” she said.  I asked about the daily specials and she said, “Oh, they are all good!”  I asked if that was really the case given that all of the specials were under $5 and she clarified that wasn’t really the case.  She said the chicken fried steak is terrible, a frozen parts-is-parts patty.  She raved about the spaghetti, though.  We all decided to play it safe and order breakfast.  I say we played it safe, but a couple of my shady friends ignored my sage advice and ordered the breakfast steaks along with their eggs and home fries.  Please, hear my plea — never order a steak that costs less than $10.  $4.99 is seductive, but it’s bad news.  The breakfast “New York Strip” looked like a thin shave of arm steak, but I could be wrong.  Whatever it was, my repentant friend informed me it was terrible and tough.  On the other hand, the eggs, home fries, biscuits, gravy, and pancakes were all fantastic — and very affordable. 44the Cafe also offers diner staples like meatloaf, pot roast, beef tips, catfish, and burgers … etc. I think I’ll stick with breakfast, though.

One thing that stood out was the fact that everyone who came into this restaurant was known by name.  Clint (who I called “Mr. Suspenders”) came in and ordered while he walked into the smoking chamber.  He ordered like this — it was brilliant:

waitress: “Hi Clint, be right there with your coffee and the usual.”

Clint: (nods head and says something unintelligible while pulling on suspenders)

waitress: “Ok, I’ll make that iced tea.”

This was an amazing exchange of verbal and non-verbal communication.  I can only hope that one day I can go into a shady diner, mumble and tug on my sagging pants, and find that my waitress hears my message — which will inevitably be “extra gravy and Dr. Pepper please” — loud and clear.

I love ordaining a diner with the shady honor, especially when it is a reader recommendation.  44th Cafe is a particularly shady location with big flavors and personalities inside.  One of the waitresses swears that if you come back for dinner and order the ribeye, you won’t be disappointed.  She says you can cut it with a butter knife.  That proposition is too shady even for me, but if one of you dares to try it and survives, please post your comments.  Until next time, keep the shady requests coming, and don’t be afraid to visit some of these places for yourselves.

Macy's Pancake House on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Andrew Littleton on Sunday, September 7th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • rod says:
    September 8th, 2008 at 10:03 pm   

    Thanks Andrew, I can just picture the man in the suspenders!! I will have to try this one sometime when I am close by, sounds like a hearty breakfast!!
    Rod

  • Michael says:
    September 9th, 2008 at 11:35 am   

    Sounds very reminiscent of my visit to Jeff’s Country Cafe on Classen. Sadly, I did order the steak dinner there (for what I believe was under $5) and learned the hard way. But there is something intriguing about the atmosphere of these places. It’s almost like being able to go to the State Fair any time of the year and people watch!

  • Andrew says:
    September 9th, 2008 at 6:52 pm   

    Michael, eating a $5 steak is a lesson that everyone usually has to learn for themselves. No amount of pleading will ever be enough. It’s like a 2 year old looking at a box of cookies wondering why they aren’t allowed to eat all the cookies in one sitting. Short term rewards, whether they be large quantities of Oreos, or steaks that are easy on the wallet, have long term consequences. I’ll spare you the details.

  • Kevin says:
    October 5th, 2008 at 8:43 am   

    When you visit a place often enough, shady or no, it takes little direct communication, as you’ve said it all below. I used to have a place like that, though it’s been a few years now. I still miss it.

    The whole no steak less than 5 cracks me up, reminding me of the MiBII line when J tells nerdman to take her to cambodia and buy her a lobster … pay more than a dollar.

  • Nancy E. Wood says:
    July 13th, 2009 at 11:50 am   

    Hey, Andrew — I’m just getting to know the different writers at eataroundokc.com, but I gotta say that I keep coming back to the site as much for the writing as for the recommendations! “a frozen parts-is-parts patty”… haw, haw, haw: “parts-is-parts”!!!! I LOVE that — Keep ‘em comin’, ’cause I’m keepin’ on comin’ back to you guys!

    Thanks, Nancy E. Wood

  • Wimpy says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 10:19 pm   

    I had lunch here today, ordered a burger and must say it was one of the best I’ve had anywhere !
    It’s nice to get a thick patty of good beef (not frozen pre- formed, but fresh), that isn’t cooked to death, I usually order med. well, but this time I forgot, not to worry though, it was cooked to done, but still juicy and delicious.
    The wait staff is very friendly and efficient. Also the place is very clean, I’ll definately try it again, and I’m trying the Rib Eye next time !

  • Autumn says:
    September 9th, 2010 at 6:38 pm   

    I eat there almost everyday and have got the breakfast steak and eggs rare and it was so tender I didn’t even use my knife, but i’m one of the regulars they know by name, so maybe I get a wee bit special treatmen, since I live in the apartments behind it it’s like my second kitchen. I love Sam and Lindas 44th Cafe!

  • Becke says:
    March 5th, 2011 at 11:13 am   

    The first time I went to this restaurant I hated it. The staff were rude and didnt do a good job. The food was ok but not worth what I paid for it. One day I drove by the restaurant which had a sign out that for ecery adult meal you could get a child’s meal free. Being a single mom, and very interested in saving a few bucks i decided to give it a try. The waitress was attentative without being obnoxious.
    The food was good for the price, cost me less than $20 for me and my three children. We often eat breakfast and lucn here. Although it is a little rough to look at it is one of my favorite places to eat.

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