A pannekoeken by any other name…
If you’ve missed your favorite Dutch pancake-like pastry, this news might make you shout "Pannekoeken!"
The Pannekoeken Huis restaurant that closed last fall is returning this summer in a new location just a few blocks away from the former site. The name over the restaurant’s door will be different, but the food will be familiar.
Tasos Psomas was forced to close the popular restaurant when the 98-year-old Days Inn hotel at 6 First Ave. NW was demolished.
Since then, he has been barraged daily with questions about the potential return of the beloved eatery. Now he has an answer.
Psomas has been working on plans to re-open to serve breakfasts, lunches, dinners and, of course, pannekoekens to downtown Rochester.
The new name is Hollandberry Pannekoeken.
"We wanted to make it modern, but not lose our pannekoeken flair. This is our vision of what Pannekoeken will look like going forward," said Psomas. "We’re hoping for a June opening."
He is carving out a 5,000-square-foot space inside the under-renovation commercial center at 210 N. Broadway that he owns with Rochester Realtor Bucky Beeman.
Much of the space being revamped into a restaurant is where Dison’s Cleaners was previously located until it moved to another downtown spot.
Initially, it will seat 120 customers. Eventually, Psomas plans to add a patio on the north end of the building.
While the menu will updated and "tweaked," fans of the classic Pannekoeken restaurant will find much that they recognize.
"Breakfast is not (changing). It will be the same," Psomas said. "Dinner will change some. We plan to step up dinner a bit with a northern European flair."
And won’t be just the menu or shouts of "Pannekeoken" that customers will recognize.
About 20 of the staff members from the former downtown restaurant will be working at the new Dutchberry location. That means about half of the overall team of 40 staffing the restaurant will be Pannekeoken "veterans."
The previous Pannekeoken incarnation had the advantage of being located in a hotel and within walking distance of many other hotels as well as Mayo Clinic buildings.
While the new location is only a few blocks northwest of the previous spot, is there concern that customers might not make the additional effort to get to Hollandberry.
In response, Psomas pointed out the front door to show that Mayo Clinic’s Jacobson Building is within sight.
"And we now have parking," he added.
After a few months away from the daily grind of running a restaurant, why did he decide to jump back into the business?
"I love being in the restaurant business. I miss the customers. I miss busing tables. I miss cooking. I miss running Pannekoeken," said Psomas. "And I think my staff does, too."
This is the first sign of the return of businesses to the North Broadway commercial center since it closed for renovations last year.
In addition to Hollandberry, a banner has gone up on the south end of the building stating that a "boutique" is coming.
No other details are available yet for that project.