TRAVERSE CITY — If breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, the Cherry Pancake Breakfast at the Open Space would have to be the most important meal of the National Cherry Festival.
The Saturday morning event was the official kickoff of the festival, and Chris Cakes came up from Claire to flip flapjacks onto open plates.
Melanie Muir, or Patty Cake as she’s known in the business, has owned Chris Cakes with her husband, Trevor, for 12 years. Their company holds the Guinness Book of World Records for flipping 1874 pancakes in three hours. They also hold bragging rights for serving four presidents and 16 governors, and have been featured on the Food Network.
Even with these accolades, this was Muir’s first time serving the National Cherry Festival. She petitioned for three years for the position, and this year she came with her crew of workers outfitted with spatulas as headdresses, armed with jokes, songs and dances to entertain the guests.
“We love the crowd, the weather and the excitement,” she said about working the festival.
Chris Cakes serves festivals, fundraisers, and other special events all over the state, but Muir noted something unique about the Cherry Festival.
“If I had these kinds of volunteers at every festival, I’d have half the work to do,” she said.
Muir and her crew, mostly family members with appropriate names likes “Nut Cake,” her husband and “Cupcake,” her grandson, mixed a half ton of their unique recipe of corn, oats, and wheat flour to make their hotcakes, which were often tossed from the grill to hungry customers standing more than 10 feet away.
“Until you slap on the butter and syrup, they’re very healthy for you,” she said about the secret recipe.
The company’s patented grill can cook up to 48 flapjacks every 2 minutes and Muir expected to serve more than 1,500 people at the event. If a guest missed catching a flying flapjack onto their plate, Muir would step on it, leaving the pattern of her sneaker on it and announce, “Now it’s a waffle!,” before asking a server to toss a replacement.