Order Up

Published 2:05 pm Thursday, June 16, 2016

The extensive breakfast and lunch menus include everything from healthy to hearty dishes.

The extensive breakfast and lunch menus include everything from healthy to hearty dishes.

First Watch brings a new side of breakfast and lunch to Hoover

Written and Photos By Molly Davidson

First Watch, a national breakfast and lunch franchise, made its Alabama debut in Hoover. The restaurant opened its doors to the public on May 20 in Chace Landing.

First Watch isn’t your average breakfast place. The menu has a variety of dishes to satisfy everyone from the health conscious to those looking for a hearty comfort meal.

“If you want to be healthy and have avocado toast and a kale tonic, you can do that,” says First Watch Corporate Chef Shane Schaibly. “But if you want to have a stack of chocolate chip pancakes, you can do that too.”

Fresh ingredients are a staple at First Watch. Fruit and vegetables are sliced daily at each restaurant, and juices are fresh squeezed on site.

“We’re bringing in fresh produce daily,” says Jason Savoie, general manager of the Chace Landing First Watch. “It’s a lot cleaner.”

While fresh ingredients help, the key to a delicious meal is in the details, Schaibly says. First Watch uses cage-free eggs and incorporates imported cheese, such as Wisconsin Gruyere, and fresh-baked breads into classic breakfast and lunch dishes.

“It’s the little things like that: It’s in the details,” Schaibly says. “Those little things make a huge difference.”

The expansive First Watch menu includes anything from traditional omelets to healthy fresh fruit crepes. One perennial customer favorite is the Elevated Egg Sandwich — an over-easy egg on a brioche bun, topped with bacon, Gruyere, avocado, mayonnaise and arugula.

Another bestseller is the Avocado Toast — whole grain toast topped with avocado and sea salt, served with two eggs.

Quinoa bowls have also been a hit, First Watch franchise consultant Carmen Rundell said. The restaurant’s award-winning Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl includes quinoa, kale, shredded carrots and roasted tomatoes covered by chicken breast, pesto sauce, feta and herbs.

While the menu largely remains the same through the year, seasonal specials are regularly rolled out.

“That (seasonal special) program really allows us to be at the front of the trends and stay relevant,” Schaibly says. “There are some really cool and exciting things in the pipeline.”

First Watch is opening three other Alabama locations after the Chace Landing restaurant, one on U.S. 280 in Greystone, one in Vestavia and another near Montgomery. The restaurants are opening in former Egg and I locations. According to the company’s website, First Watch acquired Egg and I in 2015.

Although the First Watch restaurants will have a different menu and a new “urban farmhouse vibe,” some things, such as the staff, will remain the same, Savoie says.

“I’m excited,” Savoie says. “We love what we do: That’s why we’re in this business.”

First Watch restaurants will be located at 4741 Chace Circle and 5479 U.S. 280, suite 128 in Hoover. Hours are 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. For more information, visit Firstwatch.com.