Jacksonville’s fourth First Watch location is set to open in Brooklyn Station on Oct. 16 with several first programs rolling out. The outparcel at 192 Riverside Ave. will be the first in the company to serve alcohol.
“We were looking for somewhere in Florida that we could start this initial test and all the stars kind of aligned for this location,” said First Watch President Chris Tomasso. “Just as we look at consumer trends on the food side, we also look at it on the beverage side. This is not your standard off-the-shelf alcohol program; it’s very unique and very special to First Watch.”
The breakfast and lunch restaurant will serve classic bloody marys and mimosas, as well as wine, Prosecco, IPA and Kombucha on draft. There will also be four bottled cocktails made with First Watch juices, such as the Gin and Kale Tonic. A 10-seat Beverage Bar will serve cappuccinos, lattes and espressos as well.
Tomasso said that the company has seen a 10 percent growth in millennial customers during the last four years. Millennials, who often frequent First Watch more than other demographics, are often looking for a cocktail component to brunch. It was a niche to fill, without alienating other customers.
The Brooklyn location will also feature a few other firsts for the company, including a modified “Urban Farm” interior design with marble countertops, light blues and colorful backsplashes to brighten the space. A small grab-and-go retail area will sell baked goods, bread and cookies.
The restaurant will have 127 interior seats and 44 on the patio. According to building permits, the build out and new design cost almost $280,000.
The Brooklyn spot is huge for First Watch: 3,900 square feet, not counting the substantial patio space. Most First Watch locations hover around 3,300 square feet. Other locations in Jacksonville include Mandarin, Hodges Pointe Plaza and Southside, with one in the works in Bartram Park. Franklin Street’s Carrie Smith
represented First Watch in negotiations with Regency Centers.
The company began in Pacific Grove, California in the 1980s. It has since expanded to 17 states and 105 stores with headquarters in Bradenton, Florida.
“When we looked at the Jacksonville trade areas, Riverside was one of the next logical steps,” Tomasso said. “We loved the speciality grocer in there, the dynamics of the retail and consumer. Jacksonville is a continued growth market for us. The Southside location has just been unbelievably successful; we’ve been received very well.” See First Watch renderings at https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2017/10/09/first-watch-at-brooklyn-station-becomes-first-in.html