After a long run with Metzger Family Restaurants, she is teaming up with old colleagues at Commoner & Co., in the former space of Metzger's The Abbey on East Sunrise Drive. It opens on Thursday.


Pancakes are the quintessential weekend breakfast food.

Now banana and chocolate-chip pancakes, those make the perfect brunch bite.

"I look at brunch as the most fun meal period in a restaurant because breakfast is hurried - you have to get in and out," says Brian Metzger, who owns The Abbey and Jax Kitchen. "Lunch, same deal - time crunch. I feel like brunch is the one time you have to relax and have the excuse to be a big kid."

What better way to be young again than to order dessert for the first meal of the day because, let's face it, that's pretty much what The Abbey's "banana + chocolate" pancakes are like.

Although, as Virginia "Ginny" Wooters, executive chef of both The Abbey and Jax, points out, "It's got that healthy aspect with the banana."

Works for us.

Light and fluffy, these 'cakes would be amazing on their own, thanks to that fragrant, almost cake-batter-like vanilla flavor. Wooters uses both the rich caviar from inside the vanilla bean along with vanilla extract in the buttermilk batter. The flapjacks cook low and slow on a griddle (the restaurant actually had to buy a secondary plug-in griddle to handle the many pancake orders on Sundays), so the exterior gets crisp while the inside, studded with banana slices and milk chocolate chips, cooks into puffy perfection.

A trio is stacked on the plate with more banana slices and more chocolate chips scattered on top. The fruit is soft and sweet while the chips melt and get tantalizingly gooey from the heat. Add copious amounts of butter and syrup and then top it all off with a side of fresh berries and crisp, double-cut, applewood-smoked bacon and that, ladies and gents, is how you kick off a Sunday.

Banana + chocolate pancakes

• Where: The Abbey, 6960 E. Sunrise Drive, 299-3132,

• Price: $10, available at brunch, which is served Sundays.

Kristen Cook

The Abbey’s Banana + Chocolate Pancakes

Serves about 6

• 3 cups all-purpose flour

• 7 teaspoons baking powder

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 2 eggs, separated

• 2 1/2 cups buttermilk

• 6 tablespoons melted butter

• 2 teaspoons salt

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 1 scraped vanilla bean

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.

In a mixer, whip eggs whites with sugar until you get soft, stiff peaks, but the egg whites are not dry.

Mix dry ingredients with yolks, buttermilk, butter, vanilla and vanilla bean and softly fold in the whipped whites.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle and brown on both sides.

Courtesy of Virginia “Ginny” Wooters, executive chef of both The Abbey and Jax Kitchen