Pancake Breakfast Has a Flip Side
JOLIET — If you’re on a quest for a fast and easy Sunday breakfast, visit the Joliet Area Historical Museum Sunday, September 12, and enjoy a stack of pancakes.
Fast is the key word here. JAHM isn’t serving up your run-of-the-mill pancakes. Instead, guests can watch an amazing pancake machine flip out 33 perfect pancakes in three minutes flat.
Exactly how does this machine work? The pancake machine is 44" in diameter with a round aluminum top that rotates and cooks up to 33 pancakes every three minutes. After one 90-second rotation, the pancakes are flipped, then rotate one more time for 90 seconds before they are declared ready to serve.
The pancake machine was invented by Neal Houbolt, Russell Vanderhoof, and Lee Petrie. Houbolt, a Joliet native who is a pilot and has been involved in aviation for over 50 years, had attended numerous pancake breakfast events. After watching the organizers cook pancakes on small, conventional griddles, Houbolt said, “There has to be a better way.”
In January 2004, Houbolt, his mechanical engineer grandson Vanderhoof, and his business partner Petrie began designing a pancake machine that could turn out these golden, circular wonders faster, more efficiently, and in far greater quantities. After four months of design changes and upgrades, the trio produced the finished product.
“The machine has eight gas burners,” said Houbolt, who got the idea from looking at his Weber gas grill. He phoned the Weber company and said he needed to order eight gas burners, to which the Weber representative replied, "We don't make an eight burner gas grill." When Houbolt explained what the burners were for, she said "Great! Just make sure you invite me to your Pancake Breakfast!"
JAHM invites the public to the September 12 pancake breakfast, held on the Museum’s Rooftop Terrace from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Museum is located at 204 N. Ottawa Street, and free parking is available at Ottawa and Webster Streets.
Tickets are $6, and the cost includes pancakes, sausage, juice, coffee, and milk. Children ages 3 and under are admitted free. Breakfast participants are invited to tour the Museum galleries, included in the cost of the breakfast. Each ticket holder is automatically entered to win door prizes, including a Route 66 gift basket, a 12-month museum membership, and a $25 gift certificate to the JAHM Gift Shop.
Tickets to the DreamMakers Raffle will also be available for purchase, and an early bird drawing will be held during the pancake breakfast. The early bird first prize is $1,000 cash; second prize is 10 tickets to the DreamMakers Raffle. The DreamMakers Raffle grand prize is $10,000, and winners will be chosen October 2 during JAHM’s DreamMakers Ball.
For complete details, phone 815-723-5201, or visit www.jolietmuseum.org.
We welcome your Route 66 news, stories, photos and events for publication in our newsletter or on our web site!