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First Watch, a Sarasota, Florida-Based Franchise in Numerous Area Strip Malls - Breakfast and Lunch Only


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I had breakfast/lunch at the Rockville location of First Watch a few months ago. Not brunch - they don't have brunch - but they do serve breakfast any time they are open. Which is NOT for dinner - all the locations are open 7:30am - 2:30pm.

The fact that they are a Florida chain does not surprise me - the menu, look, and whole approach completely reminds me of the places my grandparents who live in Ft. Lauderdale go to almost every day, right down to the astounding number of patrons with blue hair. I think every person over 65 for a 10 mile radius was there.

The food was fine, nothing to write home about, and certainly cooked with more care than Denny's or IHOP. It's not really a greasy spoon, as most of the menu leans towards the healthy side. Just simple eggs/pancakes, sandwiches and salads. I'm sure the Sysco truck backs up to the kitchen on a regular basis, but the place is clean and bright, the servers are pleasant, and the prices are quite reasonable. I won't make a point to go there, but if I was walking by and hungry, I wouldn't run the other way.

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I got taken to the one in Fairfax a couple of weeks ago and I'd hit a Silver Diner or a jeez, ANY diner before going back there. The "famous" potatoes were cold, my crepes were served with absolutely nothing on them and cold, bacon was inediblely chewy. And jeez it was COLD in there.

All in all, I'd give it a big fat boo-hiss.

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The one in Herndon, which may or may not still be open (it's been a while since we were by there) is okay, but the food was kind of creepily perfect.

You know how you'll occasionally catch a glimpse into the kitchen of IHOP, Denny's, etc. and see the pictures of each dish posted next to the pass to show how each dish is supposed to look when it goes out? Well, all the food at First Watch looks exactly like one of those pictures; like each plate has been carefully arranged by a food stylist before it's carried out to your table. If I hadn't been able to see that there were actual people in the kitchen, I would have been worried that there was a giant replicator in back - push a button, get your perfectly formed Syntho-omelet and Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.

The food was fine, but honestly, I'd rather go someplace like Virginia Kitchen where the waitresses are a little cranky and the eggs come from an actual egg, get bashed around on the griddle for a while, and come out looking different every time, rather than First Watch where someone's clearly been instructed to use the Perfect Eggotronic 9000.

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but the food was kind of creepily perfect.

What I found really creepy when I read the menu was that damn near every item either had a TM or © next to its name. Do they really need to have some brassy name for a frickin' omelet or pancake?

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