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Despite 40 years in business, changes in ownership, renovations and a fire, the names carved into the tables of PJ’s Pancake House remain a permanent record of all who have dined at the Princeton landmark. PJ’s must be the only restaurant that encourages patrons to slice into the tables and deface the walls with black Sharpies.

This morning my husband, youngest daughter and I sat at the “Table of Awesome.” How do I know the ranking of this booth? It said so right above the salt shaker.

Janine sat at our table the day she got her braces off: September 12, 2008. Katherine and Tate ate there in 2006 and they were in love. (I wonder if they’re still together?) Lena and Jeff traveled all the way from Gibson, GA. Dan drew a picture of the cigarette he wished he was smoking.

If a writer needs inspiration, a few minutes scanning the surfaces of PJ’s Pancake House promises to uncover thousands of stories.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to scold my two year-old when she took a red crayon and scribbled outside the lines. For once we had a peaceful meal out.

If you ever find yourself on Nassau Street in Princeton, definitely stop by. They serve fluffy, generous pancakes all day long, and if there’s a line to get in, don’t worry, it goes quickly. Plus, the griddle faces the window so you can decide upon your pancake order by watching what’s most popular. There’s chocolate chip, banana pecan, blueberry, pigs in blankets and even corn. Yeah, they serve other stuff, too…but when a food is in the restaurant’s name, you must order it! (Do you go to a steakhouse to order chicken?)

You might even dine next to friendly strangers if you’re seated at the long table in front, so say hello. Or, just listen to Groundhog-Day-like tales of Pennsylvania RV travels, like my husband did. One man’s peculiar voice rose above the plate clatter.

And the service goes miles beyond any restaurant I’ve ever seen. Today the hostess took a restless baby from her mother and bounced the little girl in her arms until the infant fell asleep. She held the baby while the mother enjoyed her pancakes. Wow. I hope the mother gave her a good tip!

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