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First Watch: Eggs, Bacon and Hope for the Future

by Karen Rice NWA Democrat-Gazette | May 24, 2020 at 6:00 a.m.

It wasn't all that long ago that there were no First Watch locations in Northwest Arkansas. But then came Fayetteville and Rogers. And now, there is a third location in Bentonville so you can easily get that delicious Million Dollar Bacon that's baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and a maple syrup drizzle or the mouth-watering Vanilla Chai Latte Pancakes with fresh sliced bananas, raspberries, maple-chai almond butter and super-seed crunch.

First Watch is neither a young company, nor a passing trend. Founded in 1983 by Ken Pendery, the breakfast, brunch and lunch concept has established strong roots in healthy harvesting, fresh food and compassion for community. Having both the desire to provide the best quality ingredients to its customers, and the passion for helping those less fortunate is what led the First Watch team to seek the finest ingredients from the best farmers. For one such ingredient, it led them to the heart of Colombia, where they would meet the Mujeres en Café, and create a First Watch exclusive: Project Sunrise coffee. The First Watch team visits and learns from that community, and gives back in ways like improving their schools and investing in their future; and they get some of the world's best coffee in return -- to give to you! "Better Coffee. Better World." That's the Project Sunrise promise. With each visit to a First Watch restaurant, you'll be greeted with a smile and a whole pot of their premium roast to start your day off right.

Amanda Lehmann, Director of Operations for the First Watch locations (two in Springfield, one in Joplin and now three in Northwest Arkansas), came to the company "over a year ago," she said, "from what you know as Panera." The hard-working woman in the chef coat can be found cooking, hosting and guiding her staff in best practices at any time in her numerous locales. "Serving people is the best part about working for First Watch," said Lehmann. "I love being in customer service, and having the fresh food focus just feels right. It feels good to me."

Dedicated to featuring fresh seasonal produce from local growers whenever possible, First Watch is always coming up with exciting new ways to combine healthy and delicious. Ordering the Tri-Athlete, for example, gets you an egg white omelet with house-roasted Crimini mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and green chilies; and it comes with housemade pico de gallo, whole grain artisan toast, all-natural house preserves and fresh fruit. If you're into counting calories or pinching pennies, you'll be thrilled to hear that this champion's breakfast crosses the finish line under ten dollars and only 550 calories! But that's just a taste of what First Watch has to offer. Corporate Chef Shane Schaibly has his finger on the pulse of the industry, and is always keeping things fun and fresh, farm to fork. He's putting out dishes like the Elevated Egg Sandwich; with its over-easy cage-free egg, bacon, Gruyere cheese, fresh smashed avocado, mayo and lemon dressed arugula on a brioche bun and a side of fresh, seasoned potatoes!

Healthy eating is commendable, but if you're into brunching and you love your French Toast extra cinnamon-and-sugary, you needn't worry. Just give their Floridian French Toast a try, and you'll see that Chef Schaibly and the First Watch crew definitely have your taste buds in mind as well as your waist, bud. The Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, in addition to their humongous size; get fresh, whipped ricotta cheese added to their multigrain batter, and are topped with marinated berries and creamy lemon curd. Talk about fresh! Everything here is made from scratch, in house, from their French Toast batter and baked goods to veggies sliced and juices squeezed Fresh. Every. Day.

Turning up the BEET in 2020

There are several new dishes that have made their debut at First Watch in 2020, and one of the most exciting is their Brilliant Beet Toast. This dish isn't just tasty, but it is good for you, too. For one, beets have lots of nutrients packed inside just a few calories, and they can help regulate blood pressure, fight inflammation and improve digestive health, just to name a few. Brilliant Beet Toast is made using First Watch's whole grain artisan toast topped with house-made beet hummus, fresh avocado, house-pickled onions, diced red beets, lemon dressed arugula and herbed Goat cheese, and served with two cage-free basted eggs (or, however you like your eggs cooked is good with them!) It's a vegetarian dish, and if you're one of their gluten-free diners, you're always welcome to sub the whole grain artisan toast for Udi's gluten-free toast -- for free!

With so much deliciousness, and so much feel-good; First Watch is the new go-to for the greatest breakfast, brunch and lunch experience. If you're looking for a good place to start, try Director of Operations Amanda Lehmann's favorite dish: The Chickichanga!

First Watch

Location:

500 SE Walton Blvd Ste 24, Bentonville

Phone:

(479) 551-5454

Location:

3251 N. College Ave, Fayetteville

Phone:

(479) 668-0683

Location:

5206 Village Parkway, Ste 1, Rogers

Phone:

(479) 657-6630

Hours:

7:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Seven days a week.

Online:

firstwatch.com

facebook.com/firstwatch

NAN Dining Guide Spotlight on 05/24/2020

Print Headline: First Watch: Eggs, Bacon and Hope for the Future

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