It’s been a while since I had brunch and when I asked around for recommendations when I was visiting Vancouver, several people recommended Red Wagon. When I was told they serve pulled pork pancakes, I was sold!
This casual brunch spot is located on east Hastings, just west of Nanaimo street. The space is on the small side and has an old diner feel to it. I’ve been warned that the lines here can get pretty crazy on weekends, which isn’t surprising given that they were featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives. Luckily, we only waited around 15 minutes for a table for four at 9am on a Tuesday morning. Still surprisingly busy on a Tuesday morning!
One of my friends, Dave, started his meal off with Fresh Lemonade ($2.50). We found it way too sweet for our liking and actually had to dilute it a bit with water.
I decided to go with the Super Trucker – 2 eggs, 2 pulled pork pancakes, crisp pork belly, homefries and toast ($14.50). Sure, I could’ve gone with the regular “Trucker” but that didn’t come with the Red Wagon’s famous pulled pork pancakes. And plus, the Super Trucker came with the best of everything they had to offer…and I really like variety.
The highlight of my meal was easily the pulled pork pancakes. While the thick, fluffy pancakes themselves weren’t anything spectacular, when paired with the pulled pork, they were something special. I really enjoyed the sauce which was a little sweet and I loved that they were very generous with the sauce. I can see why these pancakes are so popular!
Since my dish didn’t come with Jack Daniels (JD) syrup, I added it for an extra $2. Turned out, I didn’t need it and I found the syrup a little too strong for my liking.
The rest of the dish wasn’t anything to write home about… and in hindsight, I don’t even think there was any pork belly on my plate. Ah well, there was more than enough food.
My friend, Owen, ordered the Pulled Pork Pancakes – Jack Daniels maple syrup, 3 buttermilk pancakes layered with pork ($12.50), straight up! Don’t expect your pancakes to come with eggs though. He added two eggs to his pancakes for an extra $1 per egg.
Unlike my pancakes, these three pancakes were layered with the pulled pork and the syrup was already soaked in. You’ll notice that the pancakes come topped with two large chunks of butter. They melt quickly so you may want to move them off the pancakes right away.
Owen commented that he initially didn’t think the pancakes would fill him up (he has an enormous appetite) but they were surprisingly filling and heavy.
My other friend, Dave, decided to go with something a little less heavy, the Bacon and Cheddar Omelette – aged white chedar and bacon with homefries and toast ($9.50). There are two other omelette options on their regular menu and all omelettes are made with three eggs. I had a bite of his dish and thought it was well cooked – not overcooked in the middle. While it tasted fine, we didn’t find it to be anything special.
Owen’s brother also joined us and ordered one of the specials of the day, the Pork Belly Omelette – with cheddar, caramelized onions ($11). Similar to Dave’s omelette, it also came with homefries and toast. I think his sentiments were same to ours about the bacon and cheddar omelette: good but nothing special.
So, what’s the verdict? The pulled pork pancakes were worth all the hype! Sweet, saucy and delicious. We enjoyed them so much, Dave actually purchased another two orders to-go. While I’d come back for the pulled pork pancakes, I don’t think I’d be back for anything else…nothing else was very memorable.
At a glance:
• Must order: the pulled pork pancakes
• Casual brunch spot on east Hastings
• Long lines on weekends
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars