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‘What a journey’: This Idaho institution, the oldest restaurant in McCall, will close

·2 min read

If you’ve spent time in McCall, you’ve probably plopped down in a wooden booth in the rustic Pancake House — and possibly waited in line to do it.

But locals and tourists will enjoy their last meals there soon.

The mountain town institution at 209 N. 3rd St. is closing.

“After 43 years, the time has come for George and I to retire,” owners Bonnie and George Bertram explained in a goodbye “to loyal customers” in the (McCall) Star-News.

The Bertrams had hoped to find a buyer to keep The Pancake House alive but were unsuccessful. Instead, they “have contracted with a buyer who is interested in utilizing the building for a new purpose. That purpose has not been disclosed to us — nor to anyone else ... .”

The Pancake House has existed in some capacity since 1949, making it the oldest restaurant in McCall. In the early 2000s, the Bertrams bulldozed the old structure and replaced it with a massive, lodge-style building. With an interior filled with exposed overhead beams, it felt sort of like a comfort-food cathedral.

The mountain-lodge feel inside The Pancake House helped make it a popular attraction.
The mountain-lodge feel inside The Pancake House helped make it a popular attraction.

Skiers in winter, boaters in summer, and Boiseans out for a long weekend drive in the mountains couldn’t resist dropping in for a familiar taste of McCall.

“It’s a festive place,” the Idaho Statesman observed in a 2004 review. “But it’s the restaurant’s fluffy hotcakes and other homespun comfort food that really bring hordes of people in time and time again.

“The restaurant bakes most of its own bread, including gigantic cinnamon rolls, buttermilk biscuits and wheat bread. Every table gets a mason jar full of freshly made salsa, the house condiment.

“ ‘Those Potatoes’ were a hearty pile-up of crispy hash browns, chopped bacon and melted cheddar cheese, served with two over-easy eggs and thick-cut wheat toast. The fresh salsa played well with this dish. We left packed, like you are supposed to be when you waddle out of The Pancake House.”

The Pancake House has in McCall has been a familiar sight for decades.
The Pancake House has in McCall has been a familiar sight for decades.

The Star-News ad did not specify when The Pancake House would close, but a McCall resident who posted a photo of the clipping on Facebook said the last day would be Sunday. A phone call to the restaurant was not answered.

“Wow, what a journey owning The Pancake House has been!” the Bertrams wrote. “... Please be confident that we will treasure your family memories as close to our hearts as we hold our own.”

Statesman staff contributed to this article.

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