First Watch - Restaurant Review

This week I was invited to check out a restaurant here in Jacksonville. First Watch opened up their doors and menu for me and other social media types to eat, talk, & blog. Breakfast for dinner? Free pancakes? Heck yeah! So I grabbed my friend Jessica and joined others for a first look at First Watch.

First Watch is a chain of breakfast & lunch only restaurants that started in Bradenton, FL and have opened 92 restaurants now, including two in Jacksonville. The one I went to for the dinner was over on San Jose, but *spoiler* it was so good that James and I went for brunch this morning.

We were welcomed with iced green tea (slightly sweetened, but not too sweet) and apps of Floridian French Toast and tiny Beefeaters.

Floridian French Toast: Sourdough French toast, with wheat germ and powdered cinnamon sugar, covered with fresh bananas, kiwi and berries

Beefeater: Roast beef, tomatoes, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses on grilled Parmesan-crusted sourdough bread. Horseradish sauce on the side

I loved the Floridian French Toast and went back for more, but didn't try the Beefeater because I'm not a huge fan of roast beef.

At the table, we were able to order anything off the menu, but we all decided to go with breakfast.

I literally couldn't make up my mind, the menu made everything sound so good. Every time I made my decision and announced to the table, I quickly followed it by "Just kidding, I'm getting X instead."

The Food
I finally settled on blueberry pancakes with a side of eggs. 

I got three huge pancakes that were fluffy, light, and the blueberries were huge and ripe.

The eggs were good... tough to screw up eggs.

The Tri-Athlete Omelette

Tri-Athlete Omelette: Egg white omelette with sliced mushrooms, onions, tomato and green chilies. Served with salsa, a dry English muffin and fresh fruit

The Joaquin Yahoo

The Joaquin Yahoo: An open-faced Mexican-style frittata made with eggs, mushrooms, broccoli, celery, zucchini and onions. Topped with salsa, melted cheeses and sour cream. Served with an English muffin.

More pancakes! Carrot Cake. Very sweet, but tasted just like carrot cake.

And for dessert:
Fresh Fruit Crepes

Fresh Fruit Crepes: Thin, sweet crepes wrapped around fresh fruit, topped with low-fat organic strawberry yogurt, cinnamon and sugar. Served with a baked Muffin of the Day and granola

Every thing was delicious, hot and quickly prepared. The service was friendly and helpful. 

The Decor

The decor was clean, uncrowded, and modern. It was cozy enough to settle in for awhile and I loved that even with the restaurant filled, the noise was kept to a minimum so you could hear everyone clearly at your table without raising your voice.


While 99% of everything was delightful, I have two things that I would change to make everything perfect.

Fake maple syrup is provided at no cost. For real maple syrup, it was $1.29 extra. Most of the breakfasts were already in the $6.50-$8.00 range and for that price for basic breakfast items, I would expect real maple syrup. Even cutting portion size slightly to cover the cost of the syrup would have been fine.

The second item is that the wireless is very difficult to get on from a wireless phone. If the login screen were made more mobile friendly and required fewer steps, it would make a greater first impression.


I told James about how nice my dinner was earlier this week and left a menu on the counter. Today, James asked if I wanted to try the First Watch at the beach for brunch. I jumped at the chance to go again and see how the experience would stack up against a real world meal. 

The place was packed at 1 PM, but it only took 15 minutes to get a table. I even commented to James that they turn over tables quickly after a guest leaves and the tables are really cleaned, rather than just bused.

Our meals, Belgian waffles for me and turkey burger for James, came out quickly and tasted fantastic.

I also noticed that the open kitchen design was utilized again and that it still looked as clean and inviting as the Mandarin location.

On a funny note, a friend mentioned how nice the flatware was during or special look at the restaurant. Today James mentioned the same thing. I love it was the small things that matter and are noticed.

In summary, we both enjoyed our meals and we will both be returning.