Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory

Editor’s Note: This business is back open!  It had closed temporarily in January 2014.

CONTRIBUTED BY ELIZABETH BELGARD

Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory l Okinawa Hai!

Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory l Okinawa Hai!I’m not really a big fan of breakfast. I know that I should be, since it’s “the most important meal of the day” and all that jazz, but I hate mornings. Breakfast generally happens in the morning and, for me, it means that breakfast generally gets skipped so that I can spend a few more blissful minutes basking in the snuggly warmth of my bed. (Yay sleep!) But the dilemma is that some of my favorite dishes are traditionally served at breakfast, (French Toast and pancakes, holla if ya hear me!) which means that I often have to miss out on them. This is why I get pretty excited when I find eateries on Okinawa that serve breakfast dishes throughout the day.

While my husband and I were strolling along the seawall one afternoon, I noticed the sign for a new (to me) restaurant. It was nothing flashy, and I almost walked right past it without noticing what it was advertising. Luckily, my eyes lingered long enough to read it.

Sweet mother of type II diabetes, you had me at, “Pancake Factory,” Kupu Kupu.

“It’s three in the afternoon. You want breakfast? Now?”

My husband clearly didn’t understand that all I could hear was the angelic sound of fluffy, golden hotcakes slathered in syrup and whipped cream calling my name.

We had to try this place out, three in the afternoon or not.

Kupu Kupu’s interior was adorably shabby-chic and comfy-casual; a perfect place for a couple or a family to spend a rainy (or sunny!) Okinawa morning/afternoon/evening. Equal parts nautical and 50s retro, swing music trickled down a small spiral staircase that lead to an upper dining room, splashed with royal blue and sea foam green. Being that it was the middle of the day, the crowd was small and we had our choice of seating. I have heard that they get pretty busy on Sunday mornings, so keep that in mind when planning your visit. Booth, table, and bar seating arrangements were available on both floors. (Outdoor seating was available on the entrance floor.)

Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory l Okinawa Hai!

Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory l Okinawa Hai!

Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory l Okinawa Hai!
Menu – click to enlarge

The staff was, of course, beyond friendly and spoke very clear English.  

One thing on the menu that caught my eye was their use of all organic ingredients. It wasn’t very large, which can be nice when you’re in the mood for simplicity. (Or just in the mood for some pancakes.) Kupu Kupu offered a variety of fillings for the imagawayaki-style cakesincluding mashed potatoes, cheese, and apples.

I went with the Apple Pancakes (¥780) and added a side of whipped cream for an extra ¥180 (totally worth it). I absolutely loved every bite. The pancakes were prepared with baked apples sandwiched in the middle and a small cup of apple syrup on the side. (And isn’t that logo just the cutest thing?) I highly recommend trying these. The pancakes might appear to be on the smaller side, but they’re denser than they look and are surprisingly filling.

Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory l Okinawa Hai!

My husband ordered the “Pancake Tower” (¥1,280), which was pretty much a stack of pancakes with little meat patties and sauce between them. (These are tofu beef patties and thusly taste like tofu beef patties, so do not order this expecting a USDA Angus burger with pancakes for buns! You’re in Asia, not Texas.)

Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory l Okinawa Hai!

It came with a small salad, a cup of vegetable soup, and a side of fries. He enjoyed it, but it simply couldn’t hold a candle to the wonder of my Apple Pancakes. We ended up scraping my plate clean and leaving most of his uneaten. Moral of the story? Order the Apple Pancakes. (They also come à la mode, if you’re feeling sassy!)

Kupu Kupu l Okinawa Hai!
Menu – click to enlarge

Hours: 8:00am – 7:00 p.m
Fri & Sat 8:00~21:00
Closed Tuesdays

 

Payment: Yen and U.S. dollars are accepted.

Phone: 098-923-1927

Website: Kupu Kupu Facebook Page  

Directions: From Kadena- Make a left out of Gate 1. Continue for a short time on 58, and turn right when you see a Chinese restaurant called ToyoHanten. Keep going straight until you reach the second to last intersection. Make a left there and continue until you reach the end of the road. Turn right and you will be on a one-way street. Continue on the one-way and you’ll find the Pancake Factory in the cluster of eateries (including Sushi Zen  and Sea Garden, if you’re familiar with either) right next to the seawall. There is a small parking lot for customers behind Kupu Kupu. To get to it, you must pass up the restaurants, round the corner, and make a right on the first street. Then make another right and you’ll be on the road next to the building. There will be a “Kupu Kupu Parking” sign. Kupu Kupu is located on the second floor, up the white stairs near the sign bearing the name.

This post was featured in Stripes Okinawa!

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22 COMMENTS

  1. I gave Kupu Kupu 3 visits and just cant get myself to return. I love the area and the need for this restaraunt is obvious. The food lacks substance and taste. Great presentation but many are better off cooking at home vs spending the money here. They kinda accept dollars… What I mean by this is she gave me hell trying to pay with dollars until finally I had to leave to go to an ATM and then she agreed to accept dollars. It is Sunabe, everyone accepts dollars, just dont inconvenience them with it.
    I will pay extra money for good service, I was lucky as I didnt bring my daughter. There was several women at the restaraunt with their children. The owner was repeatedly asking one of the mothers to silence her child as it was bothering the patrons. You could tell the mom was distraught by the way she was talking to her.
    Dont bring kids, dont bring dollars, and dont bring taste. This place shouldnt last long down here.

    • Thomas Voltz, that was the worst review ever. Typical ignorant American view of the world. This is Japan, don’t be an idiot and bring dollars! They love kids there, they are super nice and have kids of their own. Stop eating your overly salty fatty foods and learn to appreciate real food. Better yet, don’t bother to go off base.

  2. Went here a few days ago with a couple of friends. I got the french pancakes and they were some of the best pancakes I have ever had. So filling and dense. Just delicious. I will be going back and taking my husband with me.

  3. Absolutely wonderful. My husband and I took our in-laws who are here for a few weeks, they are obviously not accustomed to the language and the staff was very friendly, helpful, and patient with them. Food was great, large portions and they even have maple syrup, whipped cream, chocolate and carmel topping. We had the apple pancakes, the french toast pancakes, and the platter with french pancakes, eggs, bacon, and french fries we enjoyed them. The meals came with soup and salad, and a free drink. The weather was nice so we sat outside. Highly recommended.

  4. We used to love this place but it has gone way downhill since the last time we ate there. We ordered their pancake and egg plate and 2 kids plates. I will say you get a LOT of food, but it just isn’t good. The eggs I ordered over easy we’re hard boiled, so were my husband’s eggs. The pancakes were dry and flavorless, the meat was average (bacon and the sausage on the kids’ plates). The coffee wasn’t great either. Overall, my husband and I were extremely disappointed in the food and will not be returning. They have new owners since last year and that may be why things went downhill. The staff was great but if the food isn’t good there’s no reason for us to return.

  5. This place is great. I love the hostess there! The staff is friendly, and will hold a conversation when they aren’t too busy. The food is great! The bacon is incredible. I recommend this place to all my friends, and try to make time to get there when I can.

  6. I have been here twice and both times was disappointed. If not for the amazing view, I would have not been back for the second time. Their pancakes are a bit dry, quite unusual for Japanese pancakes, because they are usually moist and yummy. Also, had their coffee and it was just okay.

    Kupu Kupu has a great atmosphere and the views are amazing but I cannot say the same about the food and will not be going back.

  7. This was superb when we first went there back in April. It was still excellent when we went back a month later, but it has changed hands since then and the food recipes have changed a little, but overall, still good food.

  8. My husband and I ate here a couple of weeks ago and loved it! We both love that the pancakes are smaller and not “super sized” like most we’ve had on island. I’m not much of a pancake person and prefer waffles, but enjoyed their pancakes. We also enjoyed their yogurt with fruits. Great service, AMAZING views, and we would definitely go back!

  9. A few friends and I ate a Kupu Kup 2 weeks ago. We went with the intention of eating pancakes but when we got there, only 1 ate pancakes and the rest of us had the sushi. It was way too good to pass up! I highly suggest the Chef’s Choice! My friend who ate the pancakes said they were great. I can only speak for the sushi and it was AMAZING!! Everything about this place so great! The atmosphere, the staff, the service and the food! Will be back again!

  10. Too bad they discontinued their mashed-potato pancakes….talk about pure awesomeness !!! The day I went they offered me more “for free”….I had that plus bacon plus OJ plus coffee for under Y 1,000. No kidding either. Friendly as can be–especially when you’re the only one in there.

  11. Awesome restaurant, very satisfied with their food. I went with three other friends and all of them had nothing but good things to say after we finished our meals. I have never had pancakes the way Kupu Kupu prepares them so I was a bit skeptical until I finally tasted one.

    Also, this is a small Japanese style pancake house. Don’t go in expecting an IHOP or Denny’s experience (e.g. over sized portions, heavy syrup, & greasy food).

  12. Thanks James for your honest opinion! 🙂 many people get too offended to quickly when it come to honesty. Especially when someone’s opinion differs from theirs. We are adults, come on.

  13. Well the above commenter sounds super rude… But besides that, thank you for posting! I’ve been wondering about this place and I think I’ll check it out soon. 🙂

  14. Sorry, we went here the day it opened and were not impressed. We ordered the plain, apple, and cheese pancake varieties to sample all of their pancake selections. The pancakes were on the dry side and this was exacerbated by the fact that they were served with a very small amount of apple syrup; and yes, I promptly ordered extra. My wife thought the cheese pancakes were the most satisfactory but I did not like them. I was thinking it would come with cottage or cream cheese but it came with what seemed like a cheddar/mozzarella mixture, which was strange to me. The apple pancakes were a good idea and the apples do cut down on some of the dryness but all in all were not that great either. If I go back I would most likely order only the original pancakes.

    I am going to also complain that they didn’t have maple syrup. I know this is a familiarity bias but the apple syrup was not an improvement on the most traditional pancake topping. Both Jakoppoes in Yomitan and The Rose Garden have superior pancakes in every way.

    The one thing we were impressed with was the delicious bacon. It was made from some type of special local pig and was excellent. All in all we are disappointed that a pancake restaurant so close to our house was not that great; I myself love breakfast and particularly pancakes. However, I will most likely give them another try but not without bringing in a bottle of maple syrup – even at the risk of being frowned at.

    • Wow, James! Harsh judgment for an opening day performance!
      I’d suggest giving them another try now that they’ve had more time to get into the swing of things.

      For future reference, imagawayaki/dorayaki (pancakes with filling sandwiched between) are not meant to have the texture of their thinner/floppier cousins, and are generally served without syrup for ease of portability. (The apple syrup served with the cakes is actually intended for dipping, not drenching.)
      I can definitely see how someone who was expecting more “Western” pancakes would be taken aback by this- but we are in Japan, after all. 🙂

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