This Iconic Breakfast Spot Has Been A Local Favorite In Oregon For Over 60 Years

A black and white photo of Elmer's Restaurant in 1962. There are several cars parked outside and people heading inside.
Elmer's Restaurant in 1962. Photo via the Elmer's Restaurant Facebook page

Step into a slice of the Pacific Northwest's culinary history at Elmer's Restaurant, a beloved eatery that's been a family favorite since 1960. Started by Walt and Dorothy Elmer in Portland, Oregon as Elmer's Colonial Pancake House, this breakfast-centric spot became an instant hit. The secret? A hearty serving of passion from Walt, Dorothy, and their three sons, combined with a dedication to home-style cooking and the finest northwest ingredients.

Elmer's Restaurant - A Pacific Northwest Tradition

A huge waffle with berries, bananas and whip cream.
Photo via the Elmer's Restaurant Facebook page.

Want to know the star of the show? Walt Elmer's famous buttermilk pancakes. The original recipe, rumored to have been bought for $1,000, is such a treasure that Walt reportedly kept it locked in a safe. This recipe continues to be a cornerstone of the menu today, a testament to the enduring legacy of those humble beginnings.

Over the years, Elmer's expanded its menu to include lunch and dinner options, evolving into Elmer's Pancake & Steakhouse. By 1966, the restaurant's success led to franchising, and today, Elmer's proudly operates 29 locations across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Arizona, including the Egg N’ Joe addition. Despite it's growth, Elmer's has remained true to its roots, offering seasonally fresh entrees and made-from-scratch favorites in a warm, family-friendly atmosphere.

A blue and red Elmer's sign lit up as the sky grows dark with bright red, orange, pink and yellow colors from the sunset in the background.  There are interesting looking clouds in the sky behind the sign.  The sign reads: Elmer's - Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Photo via Elmer's Facebook page.

At Elmer's, the focus is on quality and community. Sourcing fresh, local Northwest ingredients, the restaurant has become a staple in the Willamette Valley and along the I-5 Corridor. The commitment to local suppliers not only ensures the freshest flavors but also supports the regional economy.

Mouthwatering Meals That'll Make You Want To Come Back For More

A huge German pancake with lemon wedges, powdered sugar, and butter on top.
Photo via Elmer's Restaurant Facebook page.

The menu at Elmer's is a reflection of the rich culinary landscape of the Pacific Northwest. From coastal rainforests to the mighty Columbia River, the region offers a unique array of produce and seafood that Elmer's skillfully incorporates into its seasonal offerings. Guests can expect a changing menu that highlights the best of what the season has to offer, from fresh seafood to berries, mushrooms, greens, sweet onions, cherries, hazelnuts, potatoes, and a variety of fruits.

A huge German pancake with red berries on top. A glass of orange juice sits on the table next to it, and person eats eggs and hash browns in the background.
Photo via Elmer's Restaurant Yelp.

Elmer's isn't just about pancakes. The menu boasts a variety of mouth-watering dishes. The chicken apple sausage crepes (seasonal), filled with chicken apple sausage, vegetables, and topped with Hollandaise sauce, are a must-try. Seafood lovers will delight in the Crabacado Omelet, featuring real Northwest Dungeness crab and smokehouse bacon.

The outside of an Elmer's Restaurant.  The restaurant is brick with bushes in front of a large window.  There's a red Elmer's sign above the windows on the side of the building.  The sign is in cursive.
Photo by Rosalinda R. via Yelp.

For a twist on a classic, the German pancake with strawberry combo is a sweet treat, while the stuffed hash brown meal offers a savory indulgence. Don't miss the bacon & Tillamook potato cakes & eggs for a true taste of the Northwest.

Hash browns Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce.
Photo by Joanna M. via Yelp.

Elmer's doesn't only serve up delicious breakfasts. The restaurant also offers a variety of sandwiches, including the club, the smokehouse BLTA, prime rib, and the Reuben, alongside burgers, fresh salads, soups, prime rib, chicken fried steak, and much more.

A delicious looking meal at Elmer's.
Photo by Ivette J. via Yelp.

Get more information and find your local Elmer's Restaurant at their website.

Elmer's stands as a shining example among the numerous unique local businesses promoting positive change in Oregon. They've raised more than a million dollars for local efforts since 2011! If you’ve got a favorite spot or business in mind, don’t hesitate to nominate them—they might just be highlighted in an upcoming feature for That Oregon Life. Be sure to stay connected with That Oregon Life on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated on the most remarkable destinations, attractions, and happenings in the Beaver State.

Marionberry Crepes drizzled in red and white sauce with whip cream on top and berries on the side.
Marionberry crepes. Photo by Joanna M. via Yelp.

Elmer's Restaurant is more than just a place to eat; it's a celebration of the Northwest's culinary heritage. With a commitment to quality, community, and seasonal freshness, Elmer's offers a dining experience that's deeply rooted in the traditions and flavors of the region. Whether it's for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Elmer's is a welcoming spot for all who seek a taste of home-style cooking and local flair.