There’s a whole lot to love about First Watch. It’s a company that was founded on the concept that working parents should finish their day at 2:30, just in time to join the school pickup line, then get home for an evening with the family. Who else would you trust to offer a kid-friendly brunch?
The very first First Watch restaurant opened 38 years ago with this family-centric core and launched in 2020 in Chicagoland with First Watch locations in Oak Brook and Kildeer. First Watch’s kid-friendly brunch menu has pancakes, waffles and grilled cheese that your kids will beg for, but it also boasts basics that are elevated with something a bit special — and always made with the freshest ingredients. No deep fryers, no microwaves, no kidding.
“First Watch is consistently recognized as a top family dining restaurant and that’s not just because you’ll find plenty of options for picky eaters,” says Eleni Kouvatsos, spokesperson for First Watch. “We’re also a really good spot where people can trust to try new things, including kids who want to branch out.”
One must-have for kids and adults is a delicious selection from the First Watch fresh juice menu. Available year-round is Morning Meditation, a blend of OJ, lemon, turmeric, agave and organic ginger with fresh beet juice that “looks like a tequila sunrise,” Kouvatsos says. It’s this juice that puts First Watch at top of the list among concept restaurants to source inflammation-fighting turmeric.
“We didn’t expect our juices to be so popular, but even with kids, the bright green Kale Tonic is a hit and offers nutrients they wouldn’t get in regular apple juice,” Kouvatsos says. That Kale Tonic is fresh fuji apples, cucumber, lemon and, of course, kale — and is super fresh and sweet on the tongue. A summer seasonal choice worth sipping is the sweetly refreshing Watermelon Wake-Up, a blend of watermelon, pineapple, lime and mint.
But which First Watch brunch item are you? What would the trend-conscious or the stark traditionalist in your brood choose? There’s something for each, plus a few shareable items, too. Here, we share our best match-ups for all the personalities in your family from just a tiny selection of the First Watch menu (there’s a whole lot more).
There’s nothing more gorgeous and #yummy than the Floridian French Toast. Your family #foodstagram lover won’t be able to snap too many close-ups before tucking into the super thick-cut brioche with delicate powdered cinnamon sugar, seasonal berries, bananas and kiwi.
For the kid whose active lifestyle demands energy, but who wants something a little special, the Ham and Gruyere Melt is an “elevated grilled cheese that’s perfect for dipping into tomato soup,” Kouvatsos says. Smoked ham, tomato and Gruyere grilled with Dijon mayonnaise on an artisan brioche, served with fruit or potatoes. “I’m into that one,” Kouvatsos recommends.
What better for the traditionalist than The Traditional? Two cage-free eggs any way you like them, plus a choice of bacon, smoked ham, or savory chicken, turkey or pork sausage. Whole grain toast and seasoned potatoes round out the plate.
Buff dad with abs
Here are a couple of protein-packed choices for the health-conscious member of the family. Will it be the Power Breakfast Quinoa Bowl — with quinoa, Italian sausage, roasted mushrooms and tomatoes, plus kale and Parmesan topped with two cage-free eggs — or the Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl — with quinoa, kale, shredded carrots, roasted tomatoes, grilled lemon chicken breast, pesto and feta? All protein, satisfying and delicious.
Chill artist type
The AM Superfoods Bowl is a unique blend of coconut milk chia seed pudding, fresh fruit, blackberry preserves and housemade granola. Don’t forget the whole grain artisan toast slicked with almond butter. Spoiler alert: there will be FOMO vibes from siblings across the table.
Originally a seasonal item, Avocado Toast was promptly returned to the menu when “people lost their minds because it was no longer available,” Kouvatsos says. A healthy lineup in an indulgent package, this dish needs its thick-cut whole-grain toast to “support the chunks and chunks of avocados,” she says. “It’s served with flaked Maldon sea salt, the only salt approved to be served to the British royal family. Once you have it, you won’t want any other kind.” Served with two cage-free eggs.
For the table
There’s no reason you can’t order a couple of luscious extras to share. Kouvatsos says it’s not uncommon for families to order the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (multigrain fluffiness with fresh whipped ricotta cheese, marinated berries and lemon curd) or the Million Dollar Bacon, which she calls “an indulgent fork-and-knife bacon situation.” (Four slices of hardwood smoked bacon baked with brown sugar, black pepper with a kick of cayenne, drizzled with maple syrup.)
And, if you’re celebrating something special, try a First Watch brunch cocktail from the unique, mostly juice-based menu. “This is a great extra for mom’s day out or a special brunch date,” Kouvatsos says. “Because they start with our fresh juice, the Vodka Kale Tonic, Morning Glory or Pomegranate Sunrise are certainly less-guilty versions.”
Learn more about First Watch at firstwatch.com.