The Pancake House is showing off a cooler side.

A second Pancake House restaurant, which opened Nov. 25 and is a follow-up to the original in Westerville, is rooming with Gelatolicious, a gelateria making frozen confections from Old World specifications.

The combination, owned by Roberto and Janell Rando, moved into the former location of Wholly Joe's Chicago Eatery, 1182 E. Powell Road, Lewis Center, near Polaris Fashion Place.

The Randos purchased the original Pancake House, 129 W. Schrock Road, five years ago.

The Pancake House is a breakfast-and-lunch spot with a focus on three styles of pancakes -- buttermilk, buckwheat and cornmeal -- all made from scratch.

Signature styles include cinnamon rolls, buckeye pancakes and churro pancakes, which are regular pancakes that are deep fried, cut into strips and drizzled with tres leches sauce.

Other variations include pigs in a blanket -- three sausage links wrapped in a buttermilk pancake -- and a pancake sandwich -- three buttermilk pancakes stacked with two eggs any style and a choice of ham, bacon or sausage.

The menu is pretty much the same at both locations. Omelets, breakfast sandwiches, French toast and country-fried steak and eggs are available, along with chili, burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches.

"If you don't like pancakes, there are plenty of other options," Janell Rando said.

Daily specials are offered weekdays. They include baked steak, or cubed steak, served with mashed potatoes and green beans for $8.99. No daily special is priced higher than $10.

An early-bird special, available from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. weekdays, features a two-egg omelet with up to two ingredients, hash browns and two pancakes for $4.99.

The new location has an open floor plan, similar to traditional diners, with counter seating at which customers may watch their meals being cooked.

Janell Rando gives much of the credit for the restaurant's success to chef Jose Araujo, who has introduced some of his own dishes, such as the Philly cheesesteak and two homemade salsas, available for retail sale.

"People come here for his salsas," she said.

The biggest difference between the Westerville and Polaris stores is Gelatolicious, serving up to 18 styles of the creamy Italian ice cream.

Both Randos were trained in the United States by Italian experts on how to prepare gelato from scratch. Roberto Rando, an Italian native, took additional classes to make sure the dessert was at its best, Janell Rando said.

Among the more popular flavors are sweet cream, pistachio, hazelnut and buckeye.

Adding to the Italian flavor is the imported Lavazza coffee, Janell Rando said.

Gelatolicious also makes affogato, a scoop of gelato doused with a double shot of espresso.

Pancake House hours are 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Gelatolicious has winter hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Sundays, with additional hours of 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

For more information, call 614-987-6014.

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Peking Hot Pot, 743 Bethel Road in Columbus, is closed for a few weeks while its new owners modify the menu and spruce up the building.

Husband and wife Tony Jiang and Mandy Lin are adding new styles of hot pot, garlic ribs, sweet-and-sour pork, Szechuan fish (served whole) and other dishes to the menu.

Jiang and Lin also are going to change the name to CoCo's Hot Pot, reflecting the name of their other Columbus restaurant, CoCo's Grill, 845 W. Fifth Ave.

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Aladdin's Eatery has opened in the former Kogen's at 9711 Sawmill Parkway near Powell.

Entries are being accepted through Tuesday, Dec. 31, for the 14th annual Souper Bowl, a fundraiser to be held Feb. 1 at Congregation Beth Tikvah, 6121 Olentangy River Road in Worthington.

Officials are looking for amateur and professional submissions for best soup (no longer best chicken soup and non-chicken soup) for the contest. The recipe cannot include pork or shellfish.

For more information or to obtain entry forms, send an email to Jeff Wasserstrom at jeffwass@yahoo.com or call 614-760-0026.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary