7 dishes you must try at First Watch

When you see lines of people content with waiting to get in to eat somewhere, you have to ask yourself why. In the case of the significant wait time during peak hours on the weekends at First Watch, it’s for good reason — it’s a restaurant that steadily delivers at a fair price.

First Watch is famous for its breakfast and lunch option with a sizeable menu, fresh ingredients, generous portions and a wait and kitchen staff that are willing to help you customize an order. On one visit, I ordered hash browns and asked for them done crispy with roasted green chilies added. It was done without hesitation and delivered swiftly.


In addition to the traditional breakfast favorites including pancakes and omelets that you would expect to find, the restaurant gets playful and creative with many of the dishes it offers, like these:

Chickichanga ($9.39) featuring whipped eggs with chicken, chorizo, green chilies, cheddar and Monterey jack and avocado rolled in a flour tortilla topped with Vera Cruz sauce and sour cream and served with potatoes and fresh fruit.

A pesto chicken quinoa bowl ($8.99) with quinoa, kale, shredded carrots, roasted tomatoes topped with lemon chicken breast, basil pesto sauce, feta and herbs and a similar cherry chicken quinoa bowl make for refreshing breakfast or lunch choices.

The market hash ($9.49) made with two eggs atop a hash of seasoned potatoes, house-roasted Crimini mushrooms, zucchini, onions and red peppers with spinach, melted mozzarella and herbed goat cheese, is another great savory choice.

Fresh fruit crepes ($7.79)

Floridian french toast ($8.99)

The Acapulco express ($8.99), an omelet made with chorizo sausage, avocado, green chillies, roasted onions, cheddar and Monterey jack offer up some sweet and spicy alternatives.

A pumpkin pancake breakfast fall promotion ($9.29) with two fresh eggs, a spiced pumpkin pancake and chicken and apple sausage is worth seeking out if pumpkin is your thing.


On repeated visits to the three area First Watch locations at University Shoppes Shopping Center near Wright State, Town and Country Shopping Center in Kettering and the Dayton Mall area, the restaurants delivered dishes that were prepared-to-order and arrived fresh with nary a microwave or deep fryer in sight.


The healthy options on the menu are presented in a bountiful number.

All omelets ($8.99 to $9.29) are served with dressed greens or seasoned potatoes and an English muffin. Egg whites may be substituted for all of them at no additional charge.

There are eight terrific choices on the menu's "Healthier Side" which includes a power wrap ($8.29), a tri-athlete egg white omelet ($7.99) and a cranberry nut oatmeal ($4.79). Most things can be made vegetarian and they have a helpful allergen chart and gluten-free guide for those who require more information about the food they are ordering.


First Watch keeps things fresh throughout the year by introducing seasonal menu items. For fall, the restaurant has introduced several wonderful juices including a kale tonic ($3.99) made with kale, apple, cucumber and lemon, but beware these juices are served with tons of ice which waters it down. I'd recommend asking for ice on the side so that you can control it.


Refreshingly a pitcher of water with a slice of lemon arrives at the table and stays filled so you are never in need, same with an order of coffee.

Beyond breakfast, another reason I am a fan of First Watch is the "2 for You" lunch promotion, which allows customers to choose from half portions of soup, a salad or a sandwich for $7.49. The Reuben, Monterey club, veggie grill and beefeater sandwiches are all great choices as are the cobb and Santa Fe salads. Out of a half dozen soups that I tried, all are worth ordering. It's an affordable sit-down lunch that will leave most diners comfortably filled and satisfied.

There's also a nice section of the menu dedicated to the restaurant's robust, generously portioned sandwiches including a Baja turkey burger ($8.29), Reuben ($7.99), BLTE (bacon, lettuce, tomato and egg — $7.59) and a savory chicken salad melt ($8.29) made with apples, raisins and celery served on grilled multigrain and topped with tomato and melted Monterey Jack.



University Shoppes Shopping Center

2614 Colonel Glen Hwy., Suite A, Fairborn

(937) 431-9150

Town & Country Shopping Center

4105 W. Town and Country Road, Kettering

(937) 643-4077

Dayton Mall

2824 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Dayton

(937) 435-3127

More information: www.firstwatch.com

Hours: Breakfast, brunch and lunch served daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Did you know? "First watch" is a nautical term that refers to the very first shift of the day.

About the chain: The more than 100 store chain based in Bradenton, Florida operates in 17 states. The company describes itself as "a network of neighborhood breakfast and lunch restaurants serving one customer at a time."

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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