Middle Child Clubhouse’s Pancakes: A Short Stack With Big Heart

To Edwin De La Rosa, these are more than just pancakes — they’re a tribute to three generations of women.

Middle Child Clubhouse’s Olivia Pancake with a smiley face slab of chef Edwin De La Rosa’s signature citrus honey butter. / Photography by Matthew Cahn

Welcome to Just One Dish, a Foobooz series that looks at an outstanding item on a Philly restaurant’s menu — the story behind the dish, how it’s made, and why you should be going out of your way to try it. 

When Edwin De La Rosa got sick as a child, his mother would make a citrus-and-honey-based home remedy that he remembers fondly. That remedy inspired the generous glob of honey butter that now comes atop Middle Child Clubhouse’s epic pancake. The pancake is 8 ounces of malted wheat and citrus zest, with a high, golden-brown dome. It is, De La Rosa says, inspired by three generations of women who have made an impact on his life: his mother, his partner, and now, his newborn daughter Olivia, whom the pancake is named for.

Olivia’s Pancake is one of De La Rosa’s first additions to Middle Child Clubhouse’s daytime menu. He took over as A.M. Executive Chef for the restaurant in February 2023, transitioning from his previous role on the opening team at Honeysuckle Provisions. The move was motivated in large part by his desire to be more present for his partner, Bianca Perez, when she became pregnant, and the knowledge that he wanted to have evenings free once the baby arrived.

Creating a work schedule that accommodated his new family isn’t the only thing fatherhood has brought out of De La Rosa. He says that this life transition has changed him in a deeply fundamental way and transformed the way he sees his work as a chef. “I think my intensity around my job has changed,” he explained. “Because I feel like if I’m going to be away from Olivia and Bianca, I want to be doing things that I feel really proud of.”

Chef Edwin De La Rosa behind a short stack of Olivia’s Pancake / Photograph by Matthew Cahn

He now finds himself inspired to approach his work with an almost obsessive level of attention to detail. The result is a lot of testing, tweaking, reimagining, and revising of recipes before they hit the Middle Child Clubhouse menu. The original vision of Olivia’s Pancake was a plantain pancake with a dulce de leche ganache drawn from De La Rosa’s Dominican heritage, but he worried that it would be too intense and heavy for most people.

With an eye toward developing a crowd-pleasing pancake that people would crave and come back over and over to eat, he designed a buttermilk-base with a locally milled flour blend sourced from Lost Bread. The result is a lightly sweet pancake that doesn’t sit like a rock in your stomach, as so many pancakes do. Paired with the citrusy honey butter that melts into the pancake’s nooks and crannies, it’s a breakfast as sweet as the story behind its inspiration.

“You can attribute the flavor profile to my daughter,” said De La Rosa. “It’s a bright dish, and when I think of Olivia, I think of brightness, I think of sunshine, honey, sweetness.”