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The pancake burger at the Horny Ram is the brunch mashup of your dreams

Ditch the buns. A pancake burger is a match made in brunch heaven.

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Although the word “brunch” itself suggests a glorious mashup of both breakfast and lunch, most restaurants choose to interpret it on their menus in only the shallowest of ways, by offering both breakfast and lunch items at the same time. But the dishes typical of each meal tend to be listed in separate categories, or even on different pages, suggesting that you can have breakfast or lunch, but you can’t have both.

Likewise, sweet and savory don’t seem to meet up quite as often as they should during a meal that’s commonly associated with several of life’s other indulgences, like bottomless mimosas and 2 p.m. reservation times that let you sleep off your late night out until the last possible second.

While it seems silly to use the word “tough” to describe any decisions made at the brunch table, a setting so far-removed from any of life’s real responsibilities, sometimes you just don’t know if you want pancakes or a burger. And no matter which one you choose, you end up jealous of the friend who ordered the opposite.

But at this New York City restaurant, you don’t have to choose.

The pancake burger at the Horny Ram basically lets you order the entire brunch menu without, well, ordering the entire brunch menu. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and more. The burger is served between two pancakes, and it’s topped with bacon, cheese, and an egg. Oh, and it’s covered in maple syrup.

It’s breakfast, and it’s lunch.

It’s sweet, and it’s savory.

It’s incredibly wrong, and it’s totally right.

It shouldn’t exist, and also, thank the brunch gods that it exists.

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It’s unhealthy, and it’s... um… it’s a good source of protein? Fantastic for your mental health? Not the absolute worst food that you could eat when you really think about it?

Is the pancake burger excessive? Absolutely. But isn’t brunch all about excess? Brunch is where you can eat away your hangover and all of those drunken moments that have since turned into sober regrets with the greasiest of foods. It’s the meal that makes daytime binge drinking (at least sort of) socially acceptable. It’s the meal where you can show up after noon in last night’s makeup that you didn’t manage to wash off before collapsing into your bed.

That isn’t to say that salads have no place at brunch, and in fact, the Horny Ram itself offers several, but for those craving an extravagant meal, it’s the optimal opportunity to indulge.

Curious about how all of these ingredients go together? You’ll have to actually visit the Midtown East restaurant for yourself to actually taste the flawless balance of flavors that their kitchen has created with the pancake burger, but does anyone else feel a hint of nostalgia just by looking at it?

It’s a creation reminiscent of both childhood fantasies and drunken desires, the type of thing that you might have dreamt up during these two very distinct, but somehow strikingly similar, points in your lifetime… at age eight, wishing that all of those green beans on your dinner plate would magically turn into pancakes and sprinkles and whipped cream, and again at age eighteen, stumbling back to the dorms after one of your first college parties with a monstrous appetite for only the most offensive and artery-clogging of foods.

Even if your mom barred you from actually eating anything of this sort during your formative childhood years, and even if your lazy, inebriated self usually ended up ordering a pizza that more closely resembled cardboard than food (but tasted truly incredible for those first few animalistic bites), you can still relate to the idea itself. You might also see a resemblance to the popular American tradition of the Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, the post-holiday delight that involves every component of the meal crammed between a dinner roll.

Of course, this type of nostalgia reaches far beyond American culture. Ken McCoy, the founder and owner of the Horny Ram, grew up in Ireland, where he celebrated an annual custom called Pancake Tuesday. The tradition, which is celebrated on the same day as Mardi Gras, is as delicious as it sounds, involving the consumption of an incredible amount of pancakes.

“Growing up in Ireland, it was a huge deal,” McCoy said. He has fond memories of going to school the next day and bragging about the pancake feast that his mom cooked the night before.

And in fact, nostalgia is largely responsible for the cravings associated with comfort food. So when you crave pancakes covered in maple syrup, it’s not just because of the delectable taste of maple syrup, but because the dish commonly has ties to childhood. If you have memories of eating pancakes while surrounded by family, the same meal today can help you feel a little less lonely, a little more comforted.

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As the ultimate comfort food, the pancake burger actually can be justified as beneficial to your mental health. Besides, calories don’t actually count during brunch, so there’s no shame in washing it down with bottomless drinks and finishing every last bite.

While nobody in their right mind would ever accuse brunch of being boring, there are so many restaurants in New York City that the menus can get a little monotonous.

“Everyone wants to have kind of a fun brunch burger. Most places just do it with maybe hollandaise sauce, maybe a fried egg, so I wanted to do something a little fun and ridiculous, so then pancakes came to mind,” said McCoy.

“You’ve got cheese, bacon, and egg inside a pancake with lashings of syrup. What can go wrong?”

The dish is meant to be messy, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll hold together as you eat it. Some people try to minimize the mess by using utensils, but McCoy’s recommendation? “I like to pick it up and just go for it,” he said. After all, brunch is supposed to be fun, and getting covered in maple syrup is just part of that experience.

See more related Circa stories:
This burger with a pepperoni pizza bun proves dreams do come true
This pulled pork mac and cheese waffle is just what you need for brunch
Yes, the Cheesy Mac Bun Burger has a bun made of mac and cheese. Challenge accepted.

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