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Ina's Former 'Magic Pancake Man' Opens Savanna Restaurant In North Center

By Patty Wetli | August 4, 2016 5:58am
 Savanna Open in North Center
Savanna Open in North Center
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NORTH CENTER — The name Enrique Calderon might not ring a bell, but followers of Chicago's breakfast/brunch scene are likely familiar with his handiwork.

For years, Calderon turned out perfect flapjack after perfect flapjack working in the kitchen of the now-shuttered Ina's Restaurant.

No less an authority than Ina Pinkney herself, the "breakfast queen" of Chicago, dubbed Calderon "the magic pancake man" in a 2011 Tribune interview.

Calderon has now brought his considerable skills to the newly opened Savanna, 4111 N. Lincoln Ave., where he's not only the chef but the co-owner with brother Luis, who most recently worked at Dos Urban Cantina in Logan Square. (Enrique also has a stake in Pilsen's Azul 18.)

The menu, Enrique Calderon said, is a fusion of sweet and savory dishes that borrows from the brothers' native Ecuador as well as more traditional American breakfast fare like pancakes and waffles.

Just two weeks after Savanna opened in the storefront formerly occupied by Browntrout, the turkey chorizo hash and chilaquiles are already runaway hits with customers, according to both Calderons.

The pound cake French toast and red velvet pancakes are standouts on the menu's sweeter side.

For Luis, 33, the climb to the top rung of restaurant ownership caps a career that started with a job as a dishwasher 15 years ago.

"When it's yours, it's better," Luis said.

Savanna is open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.

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