Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

First Watch Is A Breakfast Lovers Haven

Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day. To that end, I am forever searching for new and wonderful places to enjoy this meal. I found myself driving out to the town of Brookfield this morning to enjoy a blissful breakfast with Margie. We chose First Watch. First Watch is a chain breakfast restaurant out of University Park, Florida. The name of the restaurant is a nautical reference to the first work shift aboard a ship as First Watch is only open from 7:00am to 2:30pm. Did I mention they really specialize in Breakfast? So much so that in a survey of 150,000 Consumer Reports readers First Watch ranked as the best breakfast chain. They earned top ratings in taste, service, value and menu choices.

On this spring day both Margie and I arrived hungry. One of the great things about First Watch is that in addition to their regular meu which is full of an impossible amount of delicious options, they also have seasonal specials to choose from. At this location you often have a small wait for a table. A testament to their amazing food and service. Today, however, we were sat without wait.

Within seconds we were greeted by our server Richelle. On a rare occasion you can just meet someone and know right away that it will be a great customer service experience. This was one of those times. Approaching our table with a smile and enthusiasm, Richelle seemed more than ready to help us, she seemed eager.

One great thing about First Watch is they leave a small carafe of coffee at your table if you order coffee. This accomplishes many things. First, and most importantly, you never run out of coffee. Second, this makes it a lot easier on the server and a lot more convenient for the customer. Although I have no doubt our server would have kept my cup filled. Another note about the coffee here, it is really good. In 2018, First Watch began to source their coffee from Huila, Colombia. They did this to support local groups of proud female coffee growers that hand pick their beans from small 3- or 4-acre plots. If that wasn’t good enough, they made a long-term commitment to buy beans from them at a premium price. Armed with this knowledge, the cup of coffee not only tasted great, but I felt great drinking it.

Margie opted to order one of the beverages off the seasonal menu I spoke up earlier. Summer Blush is a mix of watermelon, pineapple, Fuji apple, lemon, cane sugar and mint. This is served in a good size glass and is as refreshing as it sounds. You experience the flavors of each of the fruits mentioned and a mild brightness from just the right amount of mint. Margie was lucky she kept her glass away from me as I would have drunk it all when she wasn’t looking.

Deciding what dish to order can be the most difficult thing about your trip to First Watch. Once again, Richelle was very helpful. Explaining each of her favorite dishes in the categories of ‘hot’, ‘cold’, ‘sweet’ and ‘savory’, she made a complete recommendation. Margie ordered the Summer Crab Omelet. This again came off the seasonal menu. It featured fresh crab, house-roasted corn and red peppers, Jack cheese and scallions. It was topped with hollandaise and Cholula. This was served with lemon dressed organic mixed greens, whole grain artisan toast and all-natural preserves. I would like to begin discussing the sides first. The mixed greens were not only dark greens instead of some cheap iceberg lettuce you are often served elsewhere. The lemon is both light and bright. The whole grain artisan toast is perhaps the best toast I have been served. The preserves that accompany it taste natural and not full of sugar. The omelet itself has a very pronounced crab flavor, which our server informed us of. Margie and I are both big fans of crab and if you order this dish, I would recommend you be as well. The hollandaise is perfect. Where other restaurants I have been in try to pass off a drizzle of cheese sauce as hollandaise, First Watch has the real deal. It is both delicate and delicious.

I ordered the Chickichanga, not to be confused with a Chupacabra, which is a legendary creature of folklore in central and south America. The bite of this dish comes not from fangs, but from Whipped eggs with spicy, all-natural chicken breast, chorizo, green chilies, cheddar, Monterey Jack, onions, and avocado rolled in a flour tortilla. It is then topped with Vera Cruz sauce and all-natural sour cream. It is served with a small cup of fresh fruit and seasoned potatoes. I enjoyed this dish immensely. It could have had a little more spice for my liking, but still had a great amount of flavor. The sauce was a perfect match. The potatoes could have been browned a little more, but again that is a personal preference. The fresh fruit was all ripe and tasted amazing.

On top of these two wonderful dishes, Margie and I took the recommendation of our server as well as our stomachs and ordered the A.M. Superfoods Bowl. This was a combination of coconut milk chia seed pudding topped with fresh bananas, berries, blackberry preserves and house made granola. It is served with the whole grain artisan toast mentioned earlier. This time they top it with almond butter and Maldon sea salt. If your mouth isn’t watering, let me assure you it should be. Richelle had gushed about this dish when we ordered it and she was right! As her and Margie discussed different ways of composing and serving it, I secretly stole more bites. The texture is like a thick pudding or yogurt. With the fresh fruit and granola, it is a dish that is sure to give you plenty of energy. The chia seeds add a great source of fiber and protein. The almond butter on the toast was smooth, creamy and delicious. I would travel back to Brookfield (I live in West Allis) just to order this dish again. Richelle even offered to ask the cooks how it was prepared. We enjoyed it so much Margie and I went shopping for ingredients to recreate it at home. With her creativity my mouth is already watering.

We left this visit with full stomachs, happy hearts and a feeling like we had made a new friend. From the heart-warming coffee to the delicious food and superior customer service, First Watch should definitely be on your list of breakfast destinations. There are several locations throughout Milwaukee, but this is our favorite.


Written By: Neil Panosian

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