Original Pancake House comes to Maple Valley

The newest addition to Maple Valley, The Original Pancake House, opened at Four Corners Monday morning.

The newest addition to Maple Valley, The Original Pancake House, opened at Four Corners Monday morning.

Owners Blake Williams and Ryan Medford, who grew up together in Keizer, Ore., also own the Puyallup OPH and canvased the state for almost three years for a second location before selecting Maple Valley.

“The restaurant industry in most people’s view is a risky endeavor,” Medford said. “We had to scratch and claw our way.”

What today has become a franchise, OPH started with two locations in Portland, not far from the town where Williams and Medford grew up.

The pair didn’t originally intend to go into the industry, they were considering their options after they finished their undergrad studies and they new a man who owned a couple of OPH locations. Medford was halfway through a Masters program and Williams went to one day of law school when they both decided to give it up and focus on someday owning their own restaurant. Williams worked in an OPH for two and a half years while they planned, secured investors and applied for a loan for the rest of the capital they would need.

“We were told by multiple people in the banking industry if we had applied a week or two later we would have been stonewalled,” Williams said.

Medford said their loan was approved the same day as the bailout in 2008.

“It was a terrible time to go into business,” Medford said.

That first location opened in 2009 and after a few years the hunt was on for a second location.

“We really like the Maple Valley area and it’s close enough to our other store,” Medford said. “What we’ve learned about Maple Valley is it’s exploding.”

Being from a small town, Medford and Williams said Maple Valley has a dynamic they appreciate and are drawn to.

“We look for markets that have that strong sense of community,” Williams said.

Medford and Williams believe it is the quality of their food that sets them apart from other breakfast options.

“What differentiates us is that everything is made from scratch…we don’t have freezers or microwaves,” Medford said. “When we say from scratch… we literally mean everything… everything starts with water and flour.”

Finding the location proved the biggest challenge for Williams and Medford who said they looked from Spokane to Vancouver. After choosing the location it was a matter of setting to work recreating the space, which had formerly been a state run liquor store.

“We’re thrilled with what our contractor has done,” Medford said.

Now, with the test run and grand opening behind them, Williams and Medford are looking forward to getting to know the community and serve up the time-tested recipes of OPH.

“We get to know the community really well,” Williams said. “It really becomes that family concept we are going for…Ryan and I are super proud of this project. We’re super proud of our quality of food and service.”

That is exactly the reputation that Williams and Medford are counting on.

“We want people to come in here with high expectations,” Medford said.


Reach Katherine Smith ksmith@maplevalleyreporter.com or 425-432-1209 ext. 5052.