Brunch at First Watch: A break from Black Friday Ballyhoo

Mystery Diner • Dec 1, 2017 at 8:15 AM

At 11:30 a.m. or thereabouts, my dining partner and I took a much-needed break from our participation in Black Friday, the annual exercise of pure retail capitalism on a nationwide scale.

The line we’d joined in the wee hours of Black Friday morning outside a Big Box Store’s front door seemed to reach, in the words of Jean Shepherd, “all the way to Terre Haute.” Those who had come earlier had brought such comforts as sleeping bags, portable stoves and in one case, a tent. Others made do with “Lynchburg Antifreeze” and staved off “Line Boredom” with some spirited gaming on their smart phones. “Words with Friends’, anyone?”

The doors opened and my partner and I were swept forward on the human tide into the store and our shopping goals within.

Several hours later, I tossed our purchases into the trunk of the car and slumped, exhausted into the driver seat.

“I could eat something just now,” said my dining partner, a tired and droopy note tinging her normally forthright manner.

“I know just what we both need, and where to get it,” I said, stepping on the gas.

About 10 minutes later, we were seated at our table at First Watch, the latest addition to Johnson City’s restaurant scene. We had the capable and friendly Tasha as our server, a view of both the restaurant’s open kitchen and the dining area serving as an engaging and much-appreciated floor show.

Every one has been to a lunch counter that serves only breakfast and lunch. First Watch takes that concept a giant step forward, both in presentation and culinary skill. The results were most readily visible in my dining partner’s lemon ricotta pancakes ($8.99) and my turkey burger combo (also $8.99). The folks at First Watch make a point of locally sourcing the contents of their larder. This means their menu can change according to what is available locally, and that the freshness of their ingredients is unmatched.

With Tasha in charge, our made-to-order selections were in front of us inside of 15 minutes. My turkey burger combo was constructed from turkey meat whose upbringing was properly seen-to and correctly handled, (free-range, non-GMO, etc.) so that I as The Customer could be confident of the quality of the good-sized burger patty that I was putting mustard on.

After flame grilling, my turkey burger patty was placed on a fresh-baked brioche together with some avocado, onion, crisp lettuce and a slice of ripe tomato, along with mayonnaise and pico di gallo salsa. For a side order I had some fresh-picked field greens that included some very tasty arugula, making an altogether very satisfying lunch.

My dining partner’s order from the breakfast side of the brunch menu had lemon-infused whipped ricotta cheese blended into the multigrain pancake batter that was cooked on the griddle, then stacked two-high on a plate and topped with a good helping of creamy smooth and tangy lemon curd. To say that my dining partner enjoyed her pancake brunch would be an understatement. I had a bite or two from her plate. Just delectable.

Relaxing, I leaned back in my chair and noticed several other diners had joined me in just such a maneuver. All of them were wearing a big smile just like mine. Meanwhile the First Watch dining room was jumping like a geyser. While some continued with their meals, other diners were greeting friends and talking excitedly about the experiences they had encountered so far on this Black Friday. I have no doubt that their dining at First Watch also figured as a topic of conversation, as it did with my dining partner and me. See if you and friends have the same experience.

First Watch

1150 W. State of Franklin Road

(University Commons)

Johnson City


Daily 7 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Available on Facebook

& social media.

Credit cards accepted

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