I have a confession. This wasn’t my inaugural trip to First Watch. Or my second. Or third. It might have been my fourth. I never told the older two kids, first timers, that their little brother had already been there. Sshhhh. They would say I was playing favorites. Recently, however, we all had time to enjoy brunch together.
First Watch will fast
become “first choice”
At First Watch you will find new flavors and new twists on old classics and so much more. The rustic down-on-the-farm atmosphere is as warm and inviting as the staff. “We like to say our dining rooms are like visiting our home,” said Eleni Kouvastsos, public relations and communications manager.
First Watch, the military term for first shift, is a breakfast and lunch café. The first shift arrives before the sun rises to begin juicing, baking and prepping so they’re ready by 7am. Originally started in 1983 in California by Ken Pendery, it finally made its way to Toledo in June 2017. Currently Ohio locations include Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati.
Pendery developed a business plan so that employees could get in a full day of work and then be home in time to coach Little League or participate with family in other afternoon activities and the business still adheres to that idea.
If you’re looking for a Western omelet, you won’t find that here. However, if quinoa, avocado, lemon-dressed arugula, cremini mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, artisan toast and lemon ricotta pancakes sound interesting, then you are in the right place to find those and many other delectable options: omelets, frittatas, bowls, a variety of skillet hash, unique pancakes, wraps, salads and more with five seasonal menus.
Our cheerful waitress even brought out samples of the fresh-squeezed juices for us to try as we were intrigued by the colorful drinks going by our table. The Morning Meditation, a daily juice selection, had orange, lemon, turmeric, organic ginger, agave nectar and beet. Ahhhhmazing.
The kids’ meals include beverages for $5.79. First Watch, a partner with the National Kids LiveWell programs, highlights menu options that meet specific nutritional criteria, emphasizing lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains and low-fat dairy. By donating a portion of proceeds from every kid’s meal sold, the company provides at least 500,000 meals to hungry kids each year through Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry.
On the morning we stopped in, we enjoyed fresh-made chilled pear cider, Eggs Benedict Florentine ($10.99), cinnamon chip pancakes with bacon and two eggs ($9.99), frittata rustica ($9.99) and a Bacado omelet ($10.25). I enjoyed the side of greens drizzled with a light house-made dressing, but the seasoned potatoes are oh-so-good as well. First Watch is a tad pricier than other breakfast places, but not by much, and the quality, freshness and unique offerings make it money well spent.
First Watch will become a fast favorite with your family, if you are game for a twist on the same ol’ same ol’ for breakfast and lunch. The kids’ menu offers seven options at an affordable price. A word of caution: Due to the growing popularity with Toledoans, you could be waiting on the weekends.
The Short Course
To avoid wait: Plan on waiting on Saturdays and Sundays
Noise level: Loud
Bathroom amenities: Changing station in both restrooms
High Chairs: Yes
Got milk? Yes as well as fresh-squeezed juices
Kids’ menu? Yes
Allergy info: Alert the server to ensure glove changes, new pans, etc. But there is always a chance for cross contamination
First Watch—The Daytime Cafe
3410 Secor Rd., Toledo 43606
Daily: 7am-2:30pm | firstwatch.com