The Magic Pan

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The Magic Pan logo, ca 1970s

The Magic Pan was an American chain of full-service restaurants specializing in crêpes, popular in the late 1970s through early 1990s.


The Magic Pan restaurant company was started at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, California, by Hungarian immigrants Lazlo and Paulette Fono.[1]

The Quaker Oats Company acquired Magic Pan from the Fonos in 1970, and it became the company's primary restaurant chain.[2] Quaker Oats sold the company[3] to an Oakland, California-based company, Bay Bottlers, in 1982,[4] at which time there were 110 Magic Pan locations throughout the United States and Canada.[5]

In 2005, the Magic Pan name was re-introduced by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises as a fast-food crepe stand in Northbrook, Illinois. This resurrected version of Magic Pan does not have the crepe-making machine used in the original chain. Instead, it uses recreations of the original recipes.[6] The revived chain opened a second location in the food court of the Mall of America near Minneapolis, Minnesota.[7] The Paradies company currently operates Magic Pan in U.S. airports including Denver and Washington National.[citation needed]


Among the menu items were chicken divan, crepe suzette, crêpes filled with spinach and mushroom soufflé, strawberries and sour cream, Chantilly cream, coffee chocolate sauce ice cream, and "cherry royale".[6]

The restaurant designed an automated system to make crepes at a crepe station, consisting of a motorized conveyor that would heat metal pans. An attendant would dip the bottom of the pans in the crepe batter, to ensure an even coating. Lazlo Fono is generally recognized as the man who invented the crepe-making machine used in the chain's restaurants, starting in the mid-1960s.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Sylvia Lovegren (2005). Fashionable Food: Seven decades of food fads. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-49407-4. 
  2. ^ "The Quaker Oats Company". Funding Universe. 
  3. ^ Stephanie Chavez (1982-06-23). "Quaker to sell its Magic Pans". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ Richard Martin (1984-03-26). "Friedrich replaces Ryan as president of Magic Pan". Nation's Restaurant News. 
  5. ^ "Quaker May Sell Its Restaurants". New York Times. 1981-11-12. 
  6. ^ a b Steve Brady (2008-01-21). "The "magic" of the Magic Pan restaurant". 
  7. ^ Janet Rausa Fuller (2005-08-23). "Magic Pan crepes returning: Local restaurant whiz revives popular 1970s name at mall stand". Chicago Sun Times. 

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