Nestled in downtown Westfield, you’ll find a diner-like weekend breakfast spot that also has the touch of pizzazz found in old school ice cream shops.
Since 2015, Pancake Sundaes has served up unique dining experiences to customers from all over western New England.
Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan dropped by during the morning rush for a taste of a breakfast that can also be dessert.
In a digital exclusive clip, hear how kitchen manager Frank Baldwin overcame addiction – and how the restaurant and his family help Baldwin stay sober.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Here in the city of Westfield, there’s a weekend breakfast spot that has all the elements of a diner with a touch of ice cream shop pizzazz.
Since 2015, customers from all over have been coming to Pancake Sundaes for a unique dining experience and Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan dropped by during a breakfast rush to bring us this next story.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: When it comes to owning and running a restaurant, oftentimes like the song says, it’s a family affair. For Frank Baldwin here at Pancake Sundaes in Westfield, that could be anything from Dad working the mixer; Mom on the phone and running the register; and little sister on the grill.
That family can also extend beyond just bloodlines. Maybe it’s a childhood friend or the kids of childhood friends. If it’s someone who’s known and been close to Frank Baldwin in his life, chances are they pulled a shift at his restaurant.
Frank Baldwin, Pancake Sundaes: Everyone in the family has worked here at one time or another. Right now, it is — it is kind of all of us. It’s mom, dad, me, my younger sister Lisa. But my six-year-old nephew has even come in and bused tables when I’ve needed his mom to fill-in as a server.
You know, that phone rings at six in the morning and somebody’s calling out, you’ve got to call your sister and wake her up at six in the morning on her one day off of the week.
And they come in. They may — they’re not even reluctant about it. They’re here. They’re always here for me.
Brian Sullivan: As nearly anyone who’s had to work closely with family can attest, it’s not always the most enjoyable experience. Sometimes it’s mission impossible.
Little sister Lisa sees that challenge and ups the stakes by making it look easy.
Lisa Lafond, Pancake Sundaes: We’ve been best friends since since I was born. That’s what we always say. Like we lifelong best friends, like, yeah, he’s my brother, but it’s kind of an ongoing joke that he calls me his brother as well, because that’s just we’re — we’re brothers.
Like, we work together, we hang out. We’re still, like, best friends, so working together, I think it makes it better because we are so close.
Brian Sullivan: And it’s been help from his family that’s allowed Baldwin to pursue his culinary dreams of managing a kitchen and taking on a creative endeavor like this one.
It’s the kind of place where the meals are made to order. Bricks of bacon are sliced by hand on the regular, and customers get to hang their pictures up, whether they color inside the lines or not.
It’s also the kind of place where a grandfather can bond with his grandson over a stack of pancakes and an omelet.
George Randall, Pancake Sundaes Patron: Thank you very much.
George Randall: It means something to me because growing up, I didn’t have the luxury of a grandfather. So, it’s kind of hard to know how to be a grandfather. But I love my grandson.
Brian Sullivan: Located in a structure that was built in 1890, part of the charm to the dining experience here is the nostalgia that’s baked into it. That includes everything from handwritten meal tickets to the pictures on the wall showcasing just how historic this little section of Westfield is.
The building here on the corner of Elm and Orange has been here for longer than most people can remember. But since 2015, this has been the spot that people have been coming to for that unique pancake experience.
Vidal Guelen, Pancake Sundaes Patron: It’s actually my first time here. It was actually the best, best breakfast I’ve had, honestly.
It’s just a good time to get together and have time, especially if you’re working, you know, all week. You don’t really get to see family as much as you want. So, Sunday is a good time to unite, and you know, over a special, delicious breakfast.
Brian Sullivan: Meanwhile, at the back of the house, any semblance of sibling rivalry is out the window. Here, it’s just about making the best tasting meal with outstanding presentation each time they take to the grill.
That, and the gratitude they have for being able to work with each other.
Lisa Lafond: I want the presentation to be amazing because whether they know it or not, I know that I put it out there and I want it to be that like, “Oh my God” moment. And that I gave that to them.
Frank Baldwin: It’s been such a blessing. The atmosphere is much more low key, but it’s also I know that person next to me, they’re going to dig just as hard as I am when there’s 15 orders up and there’s a line out the door.
Like, I know she’s putting in 110% effort, and that’s been the biggest and best part.