Commercial Real Estate, Capital, Insurance, Leasing & Management

First Watch restaurant expanding in Northeast Florida, adding bars

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Carrie Smith, managing director with Franklin Street, represented First Watch, The Daytime Cafe, in negotiating retail leases for two new Northeast Florida locations.

Excerpted from Jax Daily Record story.

First Watch, The Daytime Cafe, is adding two Northeast Florida locations next year in addition to the six open in Duval and St. Johns counties — and they will have bars, or at least partial ones.

The Riverside restaurant at 192 Riverside Ave. was the first in the company to sell and serve alcohol when it opened in October 2017, renovating and moving into a former Corner Bakery Cafe.

First Watch intends to open by early summer in OakLeaf Crossing and about a month after that in Nocatee Town Center, said Eleni Kouvatsos, the company’s public relations and communications manager.

“Both these new restaurants will have a bar and serve our crafted brunch cocktails,” Kouvatsos said.

“As a 36-year-old company, we’ve learned throughout the years that in order to stay relevant, we must evolve, try new things, ask our customers and friends what they want, and respond accordingly,” she said.

Kouvatsos said the signature cocktails and brunch classics will be the same at all locations, but the beer, wine, kombucha and hard seltzer options might vary or not be offered at some restaurants.

“We’ve been testing the concept closely and slowly rolling it out in certain new restaurants, modifying the menu, figuring out the larger strategy around the program,” she said.

A Jacksonville bar menu includes four signature cocktails, three brunch classics (bloody mary, mimosa and champagne) and hard cider and kombucha on draft.

The signature cocktails are vodka-, tequila- and rum-based.

The city is reviewing a construction permit application for a 3,656-square-foot First Watch at 9680 Argyle Forest Blvd., No. 1, in OakLeaf Crossing in Southwest Jacksonville. 

Plans show a restaurant with 114 inside seats and 32 on the patio. It is replacing Gator’s Dockside, which will move to a free-standing building nearby in Oakleaf Station.

TWT Restaurant Design, Construction & Development Co. of Tampa is the contractor for First Watch.

Kouvatsos said Monday First Watch has a fully executed lease for an end unit at OakLeaf.

Carrie Smith, managing director with the Franklin Street commercial real estate firm, represented First Watch in negotiating the deal, Kouvatsos said.

She said the Nocatee location will open at 295 Pine Lake Drive, Unit C105, in Ponte Vedra in St. Johns County. Smith also negotiated that deal.

Each new restaurant will have about 30 employees, she said.

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