Date of Visit: Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: First Watch was THE very first breakfast place I visited in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, it was one of the FIRST places I ever went in Columbus. Six years ago now, while my wife Beth and I were visiting Columbus to check out THE Ohio State University for graduate school, some friends took us here. Little did I know that this would be the start of an illustrious breakfast-blogging career (eh… hobby)!
First Watch is a small chain with restaurants in eleven states, including Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, West Virginia, and of course, Ohio. Even within Ohio there are twenty locations spread between the major cities of Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati, and of course, Columbus. We’ve got seven total in Columbus, spread around the major suburbs/neighborhoods, including of course, one in German Village. This is the only one I’ve ever visited.
I’m actually surprised at how many First Watches there are. When you tally them, it’s not much… especially considering there are probably thousands of Taco Bells and seven trillion McDonald’s. But I guess the First Watch franchise has grown bigger than I thought. That’s usually a good sign…
ATMOSPHERE: The decor of First Watch – and I mean this in the nicest possible way – makes me think of a Florida retirement community. First Watch subtitles itself “The Daytime Cafe,” like they’re trying to help ease you into the day, and the soft pastel colors fit that them. Light blues, oranges, yellows, mauves, and turquoise fill the space, giving it a warm and welcoming feeling. They serve breakfast, brunch, and lunch all day, so whether you’re an early bird, a Sunday family bruncher, or part of the weekday lunch crowd, First Watch can work for you.
But there are still some elements of the classic breakfast diner joint. Here, for instance, is a shot of the condiment setup: jam, sugar, creamers, salt, pepper, ketchup, and hot sauce.
FOOD: Many of First Watch’s menu items fit the decor, like Key West Crepes, Floridian French Toast, Bacado, and Acapulco Express. They specialize in lighter fare, relying on lots of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options. If you want an over-filling, greasy breakfast, don’t come here.
Chip and I both ordered the Trifecta, which includes a made-from-scratch Belgian waffle, two eggs to order, and your choice of turkey sausage, bacon, or sausage links. One thing that First Watch does well are their portions. The Trifecta, while it’s supposed to be one of their powerhouse, big menu items, is the right portion for a filling, but not stuffing, breakfast.
The Trifecta is a good combination of different flavors. The turkey sausage (my choice of meet) is soft and lightly spiced. The waffle was great – pretty standard as far as waffles go – but it came with warm syrup and a blueberry compote to douse the carbs. The eggs were decent – I think they need a light salting.
Chip and I found the coffee to be good. You’d think that First Watch would serve a type of “gourmet” coffee (their menu claims “premium”), but instead you get a decent cup of brown that’s slightly burned. The nice was that the server left the carafe.
SERVICE: First Watch gets five stars for service. Our server was super friendly and super attentive. I wish I had written down his name – he put a smile on our faces any time he came over.
OVERALL: Although I’ve had more dynamic and interesting breakfasts, you really can’t go wrong with First Watch. We’ve taken many-an out-of-town guest here. The prices are decent, there’s a nice selection of menu items, and plenty of healthy options.