Flipping flapjacks for 45 years

Longtime Family Pancake House waitress Irene Masterson completes an order on the Kitsap Way restaurant’s computer. Family Pancake House is celebrating 45 years in business next week. - Rachel Brant/staff photo
Longtime Family Pancake House waitress Irene Masterson completes an order on the Kitsap Way restaurant’s computer. Family Pancake House is celebrating 45 years in business next week.
— image credit: Rachel Brant/staff photo

In 1963, a cup of coffee cost 10 cents.

Family Pancake House customers will take a trip back in time next week to experience what prices were like when the restaurant first opened for business.

Family Pancake House is celebrating 45 years in business Monday, Oct. 20 through Friday, Oct. 24.

To celebrate, the six Family Pancake House locations are serving one item per day next week at its 1963 price. French Toast will sell for 75 cents one day and coffee goes at 10 cents a cup.

Bob Mathwig, of Seabeck, bought his first Family Pancake House in 1963 in Bremerton. Mathwig said he was 21 years old and previously installed garage doors for a living. A man told him about the restaurant and, with no prior experience in the business, Mathwig bought a Family Pancake House restaurant.

“I sold my car, sold what little stocks I had, took my little cash and went into this business not knowing a darn thing about it,” Mathwig said.

When he first opened for business, Mathwig did a little bit of everything around Family Pancake House. He cooked, washed dishes and did maintenance around the facility.

“I did the whole ball of wax,” he said with a smile.

Mathwig no longer cooks or cleans around the restaurants because Family Pancake House employs 250 people year-round. Family Pancake House has restaurants in West Bremerton, East Bremerton, Port Orchard, Edmonds, Redmond and Snoqualmie Pass.

Mathwig said many Family Pancake House employees have been with the business for years, including a couple who’ve worked at the Edmonds location for 35 years.

“We’ve been real fortunate to have a lot of long-term employees,” Mathwig said.

Mathwig still has the first-ever Family Pancake House menu from 1963. Jeff BeCraft, vice president of operations for Family Pancake House, said it featured a lot of breakfast items, but the restaurant has since beefed up its lunch and dinner selection.

The 1963 menu also featured some unusual side dishes with meals.

“An interesting thing is that a lot of stuff came with a scoop of ice cream,” BeCraft said.

He said Family Pancake House is working to become more green. The business gets eggs from a family owned and operated farm in Yelm that uses safe and humane practices and Family Pancake House buys all its dairy products from Washington farms.

Mathwig said customers keep coming back to Family Pancake House because they still have the same recipes first created 45 years ago.

“We still do everything from scratch,” BeCraft said. “We still make all our sauces and gravies homemade.”

Aside from the 1963-priced items, Family Pancake House will host a free drawing all week. There are 25 gift bags, containing T-shirts, pens and other items, up for grabs. Family Pancake House will host a drawing at each location Sunday, Oct. 26. Winners need not be present to claim their prizes.


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