Pop’s Place, a collaboration between Jim Pittenger (of Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs) and Stephen Kleinman (formerly of Centerplate Catering) opened up on Monday, April 4. Located in the former Lower48 Kitchen space, it perches on the edge of the Ballpark neighborhood (and, incidentally next door to the Inventing Room, Kleinman’s son’s establishment).
The space hits the sweet spot between clean and sleek yet homey and inviting. Pittenger’s painter friend Matt O’Neill did the wall mural, which takes on the geometric characteristics of Picasso yet in muted hues of brown and tan. Pop’s has the feel of a diner with a dash of Parisian chic, and it serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
On a recent visit, I found it hard not to chuckle when studying the quirky breakfast menu. The board is broken down into categories like “quickies” and “extra super special stuff.” Descriptions of items are downright wacky: “Cinnamon rolls—the size of a baby’s head,” or “Some crazy pancake of the day—we’ll figure it out when you ask,” or my personal favorite, “Waffles are just pancakes with butter holes! Belgian style—sour cream because we like you and you like us.”
I’d heard buzz around about Pittenger’s vegan pancakes—an unexpected concoction from a man who sells sausages (he perfected the recipe, in part, because his wife is vegan). I’m not a vegan myself, but I decided to take the risk, and I’m happy to report that it paid off. The flapjacks were fluffy and cakey, topped with a mound of whipped vegan “butter” melting on top. Drizzled with real maple syrup, these treats satisfied my sweet tooth. Of the stack of three, I only managed to tackle one and a half.
To offset all the sugar, I reached across the table to my dining partner’s hushpuppy breakfast sandwich, which the menu described as: “full of eggs and meat and cheese but we deep fry this sucker.” It was a bit too deconstructed to be considered a sandwich, but it was tasty.
Despite being already full, I had impulsively ordered that baby’s head-size cinnamon roll. Thankfully, it wasn’t quite that large. The lemony buttermilk icing gave the treat a subtle twist and tempered the sweetness of the cinnamon swirls. My dining companion and I managed to finish it off without a problem, a true testament to its deliciousness. I walked out of Pop’s more full than I would have liked but already planning a second visit—next time I’ll peruse the eclectic lunch and dinner menus.
2020 Lawrence St., 720-949-1235