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Ozzy’s House of Pancakes
** 1/2
Out of a possible five
$

Crepes À la Ozzy’s are magnifique

It’s not that I don’t like them; I just have never really found a reason to love them.

My wife loves crepes, as does my mother, who learned to make them at a restaurant she worked at in the mid-’80s. We even owned a crepe pan when I was young, although my dad still insists to this day that we are “pancake people” whenever someone mentions a crepe or a waffle.

The signature Ozzy’s crepes at Ozzy’s House of Pancakes, however, made this pancake person think the name should be changed to Ozzy’s House of Crepes.

The three light, slightly chewy folded beauties in this dish were just a little brown around the edges, and inside each were chopped bananas and pecans. There were more bananas covering the top, along with chunks of pineapple and what must have been half a can of whipping cream.

No syrup was needed, thanks to the cream and a drenching from the butter they were cooked in. The bananas cooked inside were soft and creamy while the ones on top were still firm. The pineapple added a touch of tartness and the pecans tamed the sweetness and gave every other bite or so a nice crunch.

Ozzy’s pancakes paled in comparison.

They were fine, don’t get me wrong, but did not wow me like the crepes. It also didn’t help that when I ordered pancakes with my “Eggs, eggs, eggs” platter, they arrived without butter or syrup.

That was really the only service flaw I found at this relatively new breakfast-themed eatery in front of the Shoppes at Coldwater in a building that was most recently Mi Casita Mexican restaurant and was once a Schlotzsky’s Deli.

The staff was friendly and helpful, and the servers were even opening the door and greeting every customer one afternoon. When I brought my family with me, our server spotted us getting out of our car and had a table ready including a high chair for my youngest.

A sister store of the Auburn House of Pancakes and Butler House of Pancakes, it has been spruced up a bit from its fast-food days with carpeting and pleasant but forgettable paint and paneling. The menu is large and includes Greek, Mexican, Italian and American offerings.

Aside from pancakes, the “Eggs, eggs, eggs” combos include hash browns or grits, and the bonus here is that if you order one egg, they give you two and if you order two, they give you three. You can’t go wrong with hash browns or grits. The grits were super creamy and thick with just a hint of saltiness, and the potatoes were brown and crisp on top and soft and fluffy at the bottom.

There are seven varieties of this combo, each with a different meat or side. The Italian sausage I chose tasted homemade with a lot of zesty fennel seeds, and it was much better than the soggy, undercooked hash I also tried, which was sent back for more browning and still was not worth having.

Although breakfast is the specialty, Ozzy’s is also open for lunch and dinner. All of the soups I tried were great with the split pea being the highlight. It had big chunks of potato along with crispy bacon in its dark green broth that added just the right touch of sweet pea flavor. The beef barley soup was unique with its orange tomato-infused base, but had a nice slightly sweet flavor and plenty of carrot, corn, celery, onion and ground beef. The chicken noodle was solid, with the only flaw being noodles that were a tad mushy.

The Spanish burger and Cajun chicken sandwiches were decent choices with the burger having plenty of fresh, snappy green peppers and onions. The butterflied chicken breast did not have any heat or noticeable Cajun seasoning on it, but it was juicy and its gooey melted Swiss cheese and single red pepper slice were nice accompaniments. The side of fresh, creamy coleslaw that came with each was also a nice accompaniment, but a scant one as I received only a tiny plastic condiment dish of it, which simply teased me into wanting more.

The only dinner entrée I tried was confusing but respectable. The chicken “Marsella” did not have much Marsala wine (or Marsella, for that matter) flavor in its rather thin white sauce, but the green peppers, onions and mushrooms were plentiful. It was a huge platter of linguine that could have fed three, and I actually think it would have been better with half the pasta because the chicken kind of got lost in the mound of slightly overcooked noodles.

Restaurant: Ozzy’s House of Pancakes

Address: 4610 Coldwater Road

Phone: 471-0302

Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Cuisine: American

Handicapped accessible: Yes

Alcohol served: None

Credit cards accepted: Yes

Kid-friendly: Yes

Menu: Soup ($1.95 cup; $2.50 bowl), Ozzy’s crepes ($6.25); egg combos ($5.25), Spanish burger ($5.95), Cajun chicken sandwich ($6.25), chicken Marsala ($7.95)

Rating breakdown: Food: * (3-star maximum); atmosphere: 1/2 (1 maximum), service: * (1 maximum)

Note: Restaurants are categorized by price range: $ (less than $20 for three-course meal), $$ ($20-$29); $$$ ($30-$39), $$$$ ($40-$49), $$$$$ ($50 and up).

Ryan DuVall is a restaurant critic for The Journal Gazette. This review is based on two unannounced visits. The Journal Gazette pays for all meals. E-mail him at rduvall@jg.net, call at 461-8130, or go to the “Dining Out” topic of “The Board” at www.journalgazette.net. DuVall’s past reviews can be found at the website, and you can hear Ryan from 5 to 6 p.m. every Thursday on 92.3 FM, The Fort.

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