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6.25.2013

First Watch 2.8/4.0

Following the Monumental Yoga event on the Circle in downtown Indianapolis, my sister and fellow yogi stopped for a bite to eat at First Watch.

First Watch is apparently a franchise, though we did not know that when we chose it. There are 3 in the Indianapolis area - downtown, East 86th Street and Carmel. All the food is made to order using the finest and freshest ingredients possible. They pride themselves on leaving a freshly brewed pot of coffee at your table, the choice to share food and FREE newspapers and Wi-Fi among other things.     

The cafe we went to sits right off N. Illinois Street near W Ohio Street, and is adorned by an awning. The windows are stenciled with the words "breakfast" and "lunch" and a sidewalk sign features the days specials. It's super cute from the outside!


Inside we were greeted by a friendly gentleman who promptly sat us in a booth near the windows on looking the sidewalk. The decor of the restaurant was pretty standard, nothing too fancy. There were simple booths, and it was minimalistic. The specials were written on a big black chalkboard and containers of grass acted as dividers between some booths.

 

We unfortunately had a lot of time to check out the atmosphere because we sat in the booth for about 15 minutes before a server ever approached us. Let's just say the service was lacking a bit. It was slow and haphazard.

BUT, the service was eventually overcome by the delicious food we were served. It was flavorful, fresh and original. The cafe serves breakfast and lunch ... The breakfast menu looked incredible but it was lunchtime - we might have to hit this place up for breakfast sometime too. The menu described the dishes well and had appetizing photos throughout. The also had corky silverware wrappers like the ones below.


I decided to get "2 for You", a combination of a half sandwich and salad. I chose the Pecan Dijon salad  which was comprised of chicken, bacon, avocado, tomato and carrots with cheese and warm honey dijon dressing and the Monterey Club - turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, choose and mayo on multigrain.

The salad dressing was rich and like nothing I had ever tasted and the sandwich was hearty and fresh.


My sister went with the Santa Fe salad - Cajan chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, cheese and Santa Fe dressing with ciabatta toast.

She commented immediately on the freshness of the ingredients and enjoyed the salad very much ... the bread looked delicious too! I wanted to steal the bread for my own!


Here is how this experience stacks up based on my 1-4 rating system - 4 being the best:

Food: 4
Fresh ingredients; original offerings - not just your average sandwich or salad; hearty; large portions ... overall DELICIOUS!

Atmosphere: 2.75
The location, awning, chalkboards and comfortable vibe of the cafe suited the breakfast and lunch restaurant well. Nothing too special when it came to decor.

Price: 3
Large portions for the price. The "2 for You" offerings were under $8. The full-sized salad was around $9.

Uniqueness: 3
It was evident that the food was fresh and made to order - you don't see that too often. The silverware wrappers were a touch of whimsy. The items listed abov,e such as a fresh coffee pot at your own table, free newspapers and such, added to the uniqueness.

Service: 1.25
Unfortunately the service was bad, more importantly SLOW. If you want great food and aren't in a hurry, this would be a nice choice.

Overall Average: 2.8
The overall score is above average thanks to the food - did I mention it was DELICIOUS! The overall experience wasn't terrible, but the service definitely brought down the score. It is a cafe worth trying though!

I would recommend First Watch for a Saturday or Sunday breakfast, brunch or lunch. The food isn't what you think of when you think of a chain restaurant. It is truly fresh and unique.

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