The differences among the best pancakes are subtle. Once the basic requirements for fluff, chew, and flavor have been satisfied, there's really not much more we desire. Instead, we consider what Starbucks did to elevate coffee from a commodity to an "experience." That's why we love eating flapjacks at Al's Breakfast, the iconic, 10-foot-wide Dinkytown diner. After waiting in a two-breakfasts-long line, once you snag one of the coveted 14 stools, you'll probably be asked—nay, barked at—to shift it a couple of times and make room for incoming parties. So while the oversized, salty-sour, brown-speckled buttermilk flapjacks certainly satisfy—there's magic in the Paleolithic grease on the great, flat griddle—it's sharing them shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of strangers who would happily give you the last drizzle of real maple syrup off their plates that truly makes them great.