First Watch Putting A Spin On Breakfast & Lunch

Daytime Café Caters To Heart Healthy & Traditional Diners

By: Jeff Walker, Business Review

A half century ago the United States was teeming with diners that catered to late night eaters, and early morning risers, especially those who enjoyed a classic American breakfast. Their look became a big part of Americana. But with the emergence of fast food restaurants and their push to grab some of the morning fare business, diners gradually began to fade from the landscape, leaving the vast majority limited choices outside the national burger chains.

However one of the most unique choices today has been around since 1983, and ahead of their time. First Watch bills themselves as 'The Daytime Cafe', offering up traditional and heart healthy menus from early morning until mid afternoon. First Watch derives their name from the naval term of 'first watch on the ship'. Born out of California and now based out of Bradenton, Florida, First Watch has grown to over 200 plus locations over 26 states.

From millennials to senior citizens, First Watch has crafted a menu catering to all palates. Whether you prefer the standard eggs, bacon & OJ, or opt for Avocado Toast, Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict, Farm Stand Breakfast Tacos, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, and a fresh juice bar, First Watch prepares succulent entrees that wake up your taste buds and might even improve your overall health.

Perhaps you're not willing to take the full plunge into more health conscious options, for you there is multi-grain pancakes, a light and fluffy Belgian waffle or custard dipped French toast cut from thick brioche bread. That's a small step into bridging the gap between what's comfortable and something slightly daring. Either way your taste buds will sing hallelujah!

Who doesn't love a hearty omelet. The Works will satisfy even the most veteran diner lover. Ham, bacon, and sausage folded into a whipped egg mixture complete with Crimini mushrooms, onions, chopped tomatoes, and drenched in cheddar and monterey jack cheese. The kicker is it's topped with all natural sour cream. What you end up with is 75% old school and 25% new school. But if you want to go full tilt healthy, the Tri-Athlete egg white omelet is a tex-mex variation served with whole grain artisan toast and fresh fruit.

The 'healthy side' also includes a granola bowl with non-fat yogurt and Steel Cut Oatmeal. Both come teeming with seasonal fruit and a fresh baked muffin of the day. Gluten free types might find solace in the Quinoa power breakfast bowls. Two protein packed quinoa laden bowls with veggies. One overflowing with Italian sausage and basted cage free eggs, the other layered with all natural chicken strips, feta, and seasoned herbs.

If you pop in around noon and your leaning more towards lunch fare, First Watch has a good mix. There are four uniquely different salads and over a half dozen signature sandwiches. The Superfood rich in kale salad comes draped in dried cranberries, sliced chicken breast, almond slivers, and refreshing lemon & maple vinaigrette. Closer to home the Cobb salad with chopped bacon, turkey breast strips, bleu cheese crumbles with a smattering of avocado nicely fills the bill. The Chicken Avocado mirrors a southwestern salad, complete with corn, black beans, citrus chipotle dressing with torilla chips.

From the sandwich list, the Monterrey Club is as traditional as you can get with a slight avocado twist. Non beef lovers will enjoy the Baja Turkey or full blown Veggie burger. There are a couple of melts, a chicken salad served on an open faced whole grain bread, and my favorite, the Ham & Gruyere complete with smoked ham and tomato on a brioche bun, slathered in dijonnaise.

Meat lovers this one if for you. Don't leave without chowing down on the Million Dollar Bacon. Four slices of their signature hardwood smoked bacon, baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne, and maple syrup drizzle. Sweet & salty, with just the right amount of crispy, all on the same plate. It taste like a million dollars but cost less than $5.

No matter what way you go at First Watch most of the meals are under $10. The 2 For You allows diners to choose a half sandwich, a half salad, or a bowl of soup for just $7.99. Eat well and save money, that's something we can all sink our teeth into. Parents and grandparents take note, the Children's menu rings up at $5.99 and includes kid friendly grilled cheese, chocolate chip pancakes, and or turkey sandwich. And get this First Watch donates 25 cents from every meal to help provide nutritious meals to hungry kids. Aah!

Can you get your morning fare and lunch any way you want it, of course you can. But if you allow your senses to take a walk on the wild and healthy side, than you might just discover something you've been missing at the breakfast table. The underlying adage is evident in their menu and their friendly staff, 'you can be as indulgent as you want, or as healthy as you want'. First Watch isn't open to judge you, rather they are in business to excite and fulfill your appetite.

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