BRANDON — Apparently, it was worth the wait.
After searching more than five years for a suitable location to expand in the Brandon area, First Watch finally brought its fresh take on breakfast and brunch to the area with a memorable grand opening June 17.
Locals flocked to the Bradenton chain's new restaurant at 11305 Causeway Blvd.
"We had a record-setting first week," said chief marketing officer Chris Tomasso. "We've had a lot of requests to come to the area. There's a lot of commercial retail that made it difficult to find a site that made sense for us."
The 3,400-square-foot restaurant with an outdoor patio opened in the former Blinds To Go outparcel in the Lake Brandon Village shopping center. It marks the 40th First Watch Daytime Café in Florida and just the third of the more than 100 locations in 15 states to occupy a freestanding building.
First Watch features traditional favorites including pancakes, omelets, salads and sandwiches.
But locals have already started ordering signature specialties such as the Chickichanga, which includes whipped eggs with spicy chicken, chorizo sausage, cheese, onions, avocado and green chilies rolled in a flour tortilla for $8.49.
Tomasso said all menu items are freshly prepared to order and the open-kitchen restaurant does not use deep fryers or heat lamps.
First Watch also offers seasonal off-menu specials on a large chalkboard. So in addition to favorites like the Siesta Key Cocktail, which melds vanilla and strawberry yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts and house-made granola for a twist on a parfait, diners have even more choices.
The Brandon location is testing a French Toast Monte Cristo sandwich as its special chalkboard selection. It comes with a side salad and Tomasso said it's slated to become part of a special summer menu. He also pointed out a few other customer-centric policies that guests seem to like.
"We have a team approach to service," said Tomasso. "It's how we operate."
Rather than having one server handle your order from start to finish, an entire crew takes your order, delivers it and buses your table. A team member also leaves a carafe of your favorite beverage on the table and brings your bill halfway through your meal so you can decide when you are ready to leave — immediately or an hour later — depending on your schedule.
First Watch is the largest privately owned, daytime-only restaurant in the nation.
MMA fitness facility sets up in Brandon
If the words fitness, boot camp or mixed martial arts appeal to you, then FrontLine Fitness & Mixed Martial Arts would like you to know about some changes to the warehouse style fitness center and MMA gym located at 8267 Causeway Blvd.
New owners Jeff Villanueva and Carla Hall purchased the establishment on May 15 and hosted a grand opening on June 22 with hopes of expanding their gym programs and classes, as well as adding new equipment.
For the fitness buff, the fitness program is designed to improve strength, stamina, flexibility, speed and agility through foundations of interval training, weightlifting and cardio activities combined with bursts of speed and power.
FrontLine offers a daily youth fitness program to guide teens and preteens in their development of mental and physical balance, respect and discipline.
For the aspiring MMA athlete, FrontLine offers instruction in boxing, kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling. Experienced instructors are on staff teaching each discipline.
For class descriptions and schedules or to read current blog updates and postings, visit getfrontlinefit.com. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
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