500BestSquarePancakes @ Mattina Bella

The Buck Forty-Nine Pancake and Steak House was a successful local chain around New Orleans in the 1950s through the 1980s. The food there was better than the name might suggest. They always had great pancakes. Although it’s extinct now, the Buck Forty-Nine left behind a few descendants, one of which is this old cafe in Covington. The pancakes here are simple–just the basic kind–but as good as pancakes get. They’re big, fluffy, lightly malty and toasty, never greasy or overly sweet. I know the amazing secret behind this, but owner Vincent Riccobono asked me not to tell. Let’s just say the goodness doesn’t exactly come from technique. But if it tastes good it is good, and these are always perfect.

Banana-nut pancake at Mattina Bella.

Banana-nut pancake at Mattina Bella.

Mattina Bella. Covington: 421 E Gibson. 985-892-0708.

This dish is ranked #475 in NOMenu’s list of the 500 best dishes in New Orleans restaurants.

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