Background: First Watch, the Daytime Cafe, was founded in Pacific Grove, Calif., almost 40 years ago and has found its way to Chattanooga. All over town, in fact - Cherokee Boulevard in North Chattanooga, Highway 153 in Hixson, and Gunbarrel Road near the mall.
Their claim to fame is how fresh their food is, how they put customers first, and how they invest in the communities they settle in.
First Impressions: The restaurant - the one behind the old knitting mill on the North Shore - feels open and airy with a nice combination of home and clean. Everything about the decor is true to Chattanooga. The industrial lighting and mural of the Market Street Bridge pull in what locals know about the history and promise of progress that is etched into the roots of this city. The employees were warm and welcoming and seated us right away, giving Pa and I a long wooden table with plenty of room to fill with yummy food and drinks. First Watch fits the vibe for everyone from families to people trying to get a little work done on their complimentary wifi.
Drinks: Upon entry the chipper employees rush to your table with a whole coffee pot ready in hand. Pa ordered the sweet tea and mixed it with OJ for the perfect brunch drink. The seasonal Watermelon Wake-up juice was crisp and made me feel healthy even as they laid the massive chocolate chip pancake in front of me.
Food: Every morning they whisk together homemade french toast batter, but Pa felt they should be spending more time whisking their eggs - pummeling them, in fact, like you were "mad at your mother-in-law." But that's just Pa (he likes lima beans). Everybody else may love them as is with the white showing. Even as the scrambled eggs got a disapproving shake, the biscuits and gravy received a good nod and disappeared quickly from his plate. My pancake was sweet and well cooked. The attention to detail is always important and I appreciated that even the syrup they served came in a fun bottle. It’s always refreshing when the ‘fresh fruit” is actually fresh and I can’t wait to pair it with their banana french toast next time we pop in.
Employees: If you have spent any time at all in Chattanooga it will come as no surprise that the servers were hospitable and caring. The staff was on top of everything from taking orders quickly to noticing when a customer turned their head to look for them - and apologizing profusely for a "bathroom malfunction." First Watch complements the area nicely and, even though Pa may bring his own whisk for the eggs next time, we will definitely be going back.