First Watch – Alpharetta

Every Friday Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday. Today we feature an article from Mike Christensen. Follow Mike on Twitter @SCSA31274.

first watch logoI rarely go out for breakfast.  I’m either too busy in the morning, or sleeping too late on the weekend.  Probably the best reason why I don’t eat out for breakfast is that I make terrible choices.  I’m drawn to the bacon, the sausage, syrupy pancakes and French toast.  Pretty much anything that makes me go “Ooo” on the menu at a breakfast joint is sure to alert my cardiologist.

I was intrigued to hear about First Watch, a national chain started in 1983 for breakfast and lunch that advertises fresh, premium, finest ingredients made from scratch with no use of heat lamps or deep fryers.  Looked like to me that this was one place that I could eat a meal that is yummy as well as healthy.  I’ve been to the Johns Creek location and had the bacon and onion hash, a mix of bacon, potatoes, onions, and cheese.  Ok, not too healthy, but man it was good.  The portions weren’t huge and yet I was more than satisfied.

But this isn’t Roots in Johns Creek, so what am I talking about?

Well, Alpharetta can now claim it’s own location of First Watch.  Located on the corner of Old Milton Parkway and North Point Parkway, the Alpharetta First Watch still has that new strip mall smell.

It’s a little difficult to get in and out of the parking lot due to the divided nature of North Point Parkway, but once you’ve been there once, you will have no problems navigating it.  The space is open, light and inviting with tons of windows and extremely comfortable seating.  Bright colors blast out of the decor to wake even the sleepiest of heads.  Every employee I’ve encountered has been very pleasant, sometimes to a fault.  I have felt a little rushed a couple of times with both ordering and “here’s the check”.  Not a lot of time to relax and enjoy the food.

First Watch french toastAnd what food it is.  I’ve eaten both breakfast and lunch and have been completely satisfied each time.  First Watch offers nutritional info on the web site, so if you are watching calories, check that before you go.  Some items that seem healthy are pretty high in calories and fat.  Who would have thought a pancake could be so bad for you?

For lunch, I opted for the grilled turkey sandwich with a side of Italian wedding soup.  The sandwich came on toasted sourdough bread with tomato, bacon and cheese.  There was a little too much ranch dressing for me, but overall, the sandwich had the right amount of turkey and bacon to be juicy to counter the toasted bread.  Everything was in balance.

I was pleasantly surprised with the Italian wedding soup.  It didn’t have a lot of veggies but plenty of herbs with little meatballs.  Delightful.

My breakfast choices were a little more narrowed.  A little searching on the menu brought me to a unique discovery, raisin bread French toast.  With nearly a third the calories and fat of regular French toast, the order was placed.  It was some of the best French toast I’ve had.  Sometimes with French toast the bread can be too creamy and falls apart.  The raisin bread had more substance while still being able to be cut with a fork.  The sweetness was offset by the raisins and that, in addition to the slightly chewy bread, really woke up my taste buds.

My one complaint was the syrup.  It came out in a glass bottle with a little metal pouring top that resembled the spout on liquor bottles in bars.  All that is just fine. But First Watch must keep these things in the oven to make the syrup warm because this bottle was nearly unholdable, it was so hot.  Even after ten minutes I couldn’t hold it to pour it.  I had to use a napkin.  Hot syrup is great, but maybe a complimentary oven mitt would be nice.

I have really enjoyed my experiences with First Watch.  The food is satisfying and delicious, the prices reasonable, staff (overly) friendly and the environment welcoming.  All of the other breakfast places in Alpharetta should pay attention to what First Watch is bringing to the party.

9 Responses to “First Watch – Alpharetta”

  1. Greg August 22, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    I get the impression that you were satisfied. What’s the wait time, say, on Saturday morning?

  2. Travis Allen August 22, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    I’ll stick with Another Broken Egg

  3. Scott Douglas August 22, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    This reviewer could only find fault with the syrup bottle? Come on. No restaurant is that perfect.I agree with Travis. I’ll also stick with Another Broken Egg.

  4. Scsa31274 August 22, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    The several times I’ve been there, the wait isn’t too bad. The turning the tables quickly may have something to do with it. There are lounging chairs outside if there is a wait though.

  5. A August 22, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Is it at least cheaper than The Original Pancake House, which in my opinion is way more expensive than it needs to be? Also, how does it compare to J. Christopher’s?

  6. Tom Miller August 24, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    First Watch is #1 on Consumer Reports rankings for Family restaurants, just ahead of The Original Pancake House which is #2. Alpharetta is fortunate to have both restaurants, and I wish them great success. Also thanks for saving Alpharetta’s most beautiful trees.

  7. Travis Allen August 28, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    Thanks Tom, however they don’t really explain why they ranked them so without you having to subscribe to their website.

    Consumer Reports also knocks Waffle House and Buffalo Wild Wings for not being family friendly…I find this odd as I don’t really consider either to be “family” restaurants. Waffle House is a diner, and it’s open 24 hours, so they can knock it on mood if they want, but with no explanation of what time they visited, that judgement doesn’t hold much weight. As for Buffalo Wild Wings…yes, it’s loud…again it’s a sports bar, not really a “family” restaurant.

    Guess what I’m getting at is that you can rank things in any manner or fashion to make something number one at a particular aspect.

    I just find the food at First Watch to be lacking in personality. It doesn’t look or taste much different than what I would get at IHOP, and I don’t like going there.

  8. Jen August 29, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    My kid loves the Waffle House in crabapple. Not my #1 choice, but for a 2 yr old, I find it pretty family friendly. He loves to watch the staff work, cook and joke around. They all know him and love him as most of the workers have young kids of their own. When I moved to the south, I didn’t get why Waffle House is so popular, but certain locations seem to have really fun staff that make it fun for kids.

  9. Kevin September 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    How is the noise from the neighboring Orange Theory Fitness?

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