The Picasso of pancakes

By: Heidi Glaus

(KSDK) ST. LOUIS - Pass by Courtesy Diner on Kingshighway and you get a pretty good idea of what's being served.

"If it's diner food we probably do it," said Dan Drake, one of the cooks.

But order sausage and eggs and you might be missing the best this place has to offer, at least if Drake's at the griddle.

"When I come in I order a pancake and I say I want a Dan pancake," said Stephanie Salyers, a customer and Dan Fan.

He's a man who puts a new spin on getting creative in the kitchen.

"It's like a doodle but it's in pancakes so people think it's awesome," said Drake.

It's something he started playing with about four years ago after he saw someone make a Mickey Mouse pancake.

"I told myself I would make these goofy pancakes for the next person who came in so I did I made this huge ridiculous smiley face and I put it in front of him and I wasn't sure how he would feel about it and he looked up and locked eyes with me for a second and then he just started laughing," Drake said about the first creative pancake he made.

The customer left a $15 tip, and batter has been his canvas ever since.

"My rule is I take requests, but I don't make promises because it is pancake batter, and if I mess up a line or something like I work for somebody, food costs you know," Drake said.

Not everything comes out picture perfect.

"Yeah, but they're happy disasters," Drake said with a big smile.

But his creations almost always get a smile. So it might not be on the menu, but Drake's pancakes are selling like hot cakes and in the process leaving customers full in more ways than one.

Dr. Dan the Pancake Man works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

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