My initial glimpse of First Watch was of a line that extended from the desk at the front of the restaurant, out the door, and into the parking lot. With so many brunch options available in Colorado Springs, the long line said it all. The classic breakfast smells seep through the swinging entrance doors and onto the street, accompanied by the fragrance of coffee pots carried to tables by the staff members.
At 7 a.m. each morning, First Watch opens its doors to the community. Until their closing time, 2:30 p.m., they serve both breakfast and lunch items. They refer to themselves as “The Daytime Eatery,” demonstrating a dedication to the food that starts our day. Within this focus, the menu presents a variety of dishes, each crafted with an intentionality that makes them unique.
At First Watch, the chefs use neither heat lamps nor deep fryers to make their food, ensuring that each item on the menu is served as fresh as possible, with all taste intact. As I walked into the restaurant, I was seated with a pot of Project Sunrise coffee and a simple, brown paper menu.
First Watch brings the classic elements back to breakfast. The restaurant centers its menu on the essence of freshness and indulgence by offering an abundance of fruit and vegetables with each and every dish. The menu is organized by seasonal dishes, breakfast classics, healthier options, egg dishes, and power bowls. One breakfast option is the “tri-fecta,” a plate composed of two eggs, the choice of a giant pancake or waffle, and the choice of bacon, chicken sausage, or pork sausage. Customers who prefer lighter fare might prefer the avocado toast, power wrap, or sunrise granola. Every dish on the menu leaves customers satisfied.
As I walked up to the front of the space to pay for my meal, I let the waiter at checkout know I was happy and full. “That’s the point!” he said. Although many people associate fresh, healthy food with lightness, the pesto chicken quinoa bowl, a “protein-packed quinoa mixed with kale, shredded carrots and house-roasted tomatoes topped with grilled all-natural lemon chicken breast, basil pesto sauce, feta crumbles and fresh herbs,” left me full for several hours after my meal. It was the perfect combination of crunchy and salty, topped with incredibly tender chicken and soft feta, outlined by a flavorful pesto glaze.
Elsa Godtfredsen ’19 tried the lemon ricotta pancake. “The pancake had a very solid lemon flavor, and the ricotta made it fluffy. It also came with warmed syrup,” she said. As a breakfast lover, Godtfredsen admired the atmosphere at First Watch: “It had an old café vibe and efficiency, but was also very modern, cute, and comforting.”
Alongside its decadent food, First Watch also has a delicious selection of fresh juices from their juice bar that are brightly colored, tangy, and tasty. All the food and drink on the menu come with their nutritional information and ingredients. This allows customers to attain more knowledge about, and agency over, the food they’re putting into their bodies.
Not only is their food delicious, but First Watch also participates in several community engagement projects. The restaurant chain partners with Share Our Strength, an organization that helps to provide food to children in America; a percentage of the restaurant’s proceeds go to support their mission. The restaurant is also running “Project Sunrise,” where they source Huila Coffee directly from coffee growers in Columbia and the project “Mujeres En Café,” which works to support a coffee plantation in Columbia run entirely by women.
First Watch highlights the essentials of a breakfast/brunch/lunch experience, and moreover, most dishes leave customers full and pleased for just around $10! With wooden tables and brown-colored walls, the restaurant feels as though it could be a cozy cabin in the mountains or the familiar home of a loved one.