20 minutes from Taylor, next to a set of railroad tracks in Marion on 406 E 4th St., squats the Train Station Pancake House.
If you are craving a classic breakfast, yet open to the unexpected, this diner is for you.
Brothers Hector and Efrain Perez reopened the restaurant in the fall of 2020 after the Train Station Café left town in 2019. The building’s exterior is somewhat reminiscent of a train station, with black grated doors and a heavy roof. But beyond the token railroad sign inside, this is where the comparisons end.
The diner’s interior has been given over to a battle of the décor, in which there seems to be no clear winner. Giant basket chandeliers, elaborate glass fixtures, a wooden mosaic wall and colorful table-top paintings contrast rustic farmhouse signs boasting fresh food and “COFFEE.” At first glance, it’s difficult to tell whether you’ve walked into a traditional taquería or a farmhouse kitchen.
A vague sense of confusion brought on by the décor war follows you to your table.
After opening the menu — which starts with a skillet section before moving on to egg platters, sandwiches and the like — it doesn’t take long to realize that the Train Station Pancake House offers very few pancake options.
While disorienting, the prices listed next to the menu options are more than reasonable for the “all-American” fare offered.
Breakfast platters cost anywhere from $2.59 to $11.39, depending on how much food one desires. Want only pancakes? You’re in luck! They are offered in sets of one, two or three and come almost as big as the plates they’re served on.
For an extra $1.59 (and a mega-punch of sweetness) pancakes can come topped with strawberry, blueberry, apple or chocolate.
We both ordered the “Depot Platter”: a classic combo of cooked-to-order eggs, bacon, sausage and two pancakes. The bacon was crispy, the sausage was nothing out of the ordinary, the eggs were cooked to perfection and the pancakes were fluffy, large and slightly better than your average flapjack.
The food took approximately 30 minutes to arrive — which wasn’t too long, but longer than one would hope for, considering the slim crowd in the restaurant.
The crowd in question was a fun mixture of families, teenagers and elderly faces. Though nothing about this restaurant seemed particularly memorable, the Train Station Pancake House appears to be a hit within the local community. 299 Google Reviews leave the restaurant with a generous 4.5/5 star rating online.
Despite the longer wait, the service was friendly and the coffee was generously topped-up three or four times throughout the meal. Our waitress consistently checked in to make sure everything was going smoothly, and we left the building an hour later content with our breakfasts and our experience.
Overall, we rate the Train Station Pancake House a 3.5 out of 5.
The food was decent and affordable, but nothing really stood out to us.
The clash of styles going on in the restaurant was confusing and was not necessarily the environment you would expect in a “pancake house.”
Perhaps if they better incorporated the train station vibe into the restaurant’s decor and a pancake-focus into their menu, this restaurant would have been more of a hit.
Would we return? Gladly, though more for the affordable prices and friendly atmosphere than for the pancake selection.
For anyone interested in experiencing the Train Station Pancake House for themselves, the restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday — Thursday.