Gus Leftis owns the Plantation House of Pancakes. His wife, Amy, owns the nearby Pan American Pancake & Omelet Restaurant. Their son, Jimmy, is the manager at Plantation House. This has been a family business since the early 1990’s and from the looks of the full dining room and happy customers it will be a family business for a long time to come.
Plantation House of Pancakes (1501 South Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, SC | 843-448-6522 | $10-15) originally opened in 1973. At the time, Guy Leftis worked for these owners at various restaurants throughout the Myrtle Beach area. But in the early 1990’s, he took a step forward and bought the large restaurant for himself. Since that time he has turned the family-owned business into a thriving breakfast restaurant in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
When I came over for breakfast one day (this was actually my third time eating breakfast here) I was greeted with something of an irritation for hungry guests, but something great for the owners: a ten minute wait for a table. The restaurant has booths along the outer walls and dozens of tables sprinkled around the middle, all in one wide-open space. The restaurant can accommodate about a hundred diners at a single time, so this told me plenty about the popularity of the restaurant. It was early September, the massive beach crowds had dwindled, offering the locals a chance to come out for the first time in months.
I walk in with my big photography bag and a growling belly, which actually works surprisingly well together. Jimmy Leftis was the manager on duty that morning and was thrilled to have me there both for breakfast and as a writer and photographer. I had barely even pulled my note pad out of my bag before a waitress was asking me what I wanted to drink. I looked around at nearly a half dozen waitresses buzzing around the restaurant with big, genuine smiles on their faces. This staff was happy, and it showed.
The menu read like a typical pancake house: biscuits and gravy, eggs and sausage, a few omelets, and a small assortment of pancakes and French toast. While the menu itself is nothing spectacular, the food tasted amazing. I tried their French toast because it was made from thick, Texas toast instead of thin slices of bread. I’m a sucker for anything with syrup on it in the first place! The six, thick slices practically melted in my mouth. Even without the syrup (they only had a single, standard syrup to offer) it was a bit sweet.
But while the menu and food may not stand out in a crowd of similar breakfast restaurants, they are a locally-owned business that supports local business. A local farmer will stop by each week to unload fresh vegetables and fruit during the in-season. Each Friday, either the owner or manager will visit Myrtle Market to find locally-grown foods. They try to keep it as local as possible, which in my book makes them a success.
The food is good, the service is great, the atmosphere is cozy, and the owners are locals. Put all these together and you have a place that needs to becomes part of your next vacation itinerary. After all, you can probably find an IHOP or Denny’s near your hometown, but you can only find the Leftis family in Myrtle Beach.