First Watch, a Florida breakfast, brunch and lunch chain, has become one of the latest out-of town restaurants to expand to Colorado Springs, although its arrival means the closing of two familiar Egg & I locations.
First Watch opened two weeks ago in what is now a former Egg & I at 7816 N. Academy Blvd., in northern Colorado Springs near the Chapel Hills Mall. A second First Watch will open Aug. 18 in the Egg & I space at 5838 Barnes Road, northeast of Barnes and Powers Boulevard on the city’s northeast side.
The moves are part of First Watch’s 2015 purchase of the 114-unit Egg & I chain, which had been based in suburban Denver. Since the acquisition, First Watch has been converting many Egg & I’s to its brand.
But a third Egg & I in the Springs, at 733 N. Academy, will continue to operate under its name, spokeswoman Eleni Kouvatsos said Friday. First Watch recognizes Egg & I remains popular with many customers and doesn’t want to abandon the brand, she said.
“We’ve had a lot of success in other markets with the Egg & I restaurants that we’ve converted to First Watch,” Kouvatsos said. “It’s sort of proven to be a great move when we do convert them. But we absolutely understand that people are loyal to the Egg & I brand, as well. There will always be Egg & I restaurants that exist.”
First Watch, whose name comes from the nautical term that refers to the first shift of the day, considers new locations based on a community’s economy, population growth and other demographics. It’s also attracted to restaurant sites with high visibility that are near major highways, among other factors.
“Colorado Springs proved to be a growing, dynamic and gorgeous community that seems to be a perfect fit for First Watch,” Kouvatsos said.
According to its website, First Watch’s menu features omelets, pancakes, sandwiches, salads and other traditional favorites. It also has specialty items such as Quinoa Power Bowls, Avocado Toast and the Chickichanga. The Springs’ locations will offer healthy favorites such as house-made granola and pico de gallo, organic greens, house-roasted vegetables and cage-free eggs, Kouvatsos said.
The Springs’ First Watch restaurants also will serve the chain’s new Project Sunrise coffee, grown by an independent group of female farmers in Huila, Colombia, called Mujeres en Café.
First Watch describes itself as “the largest and fastest-growing daytime-only restaurant concept in the United States.” It has more than 330 restaurants in 29 states, including more than 260 First Watch locations and 70 that carry the Egg & I brand. The chain operates from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day.