First Watch restaurant opening in Knoxville

This submitted photo shows the First Watch restaurant in Brentwood, Tenn.

Photo by Rachel Paul, © 2011 Rachel Paul

This submitted photo shows the First Watch restaurant in Brentwood, Tenn.

The First Watch national restaurant brand plans to open at least three of its breakfast-themed restaurants in Knoxville soon, one before the middle of the year.

Knoxville-based Capstone Concepts LLC, which operates three Mr. Gatti's restaurants in the Knoxville area, will be bringing the First Watch brand here. Details are nearly complete for the first location — in Turkey Creek — said James Geib, Capstone Concepts chief operating officer.

"As soon as we get the first one up and running, then we want to get one in North Knoxville and then the Bearden area," he said.

The plan is eventually to have about four restaurants in Knoxville, Geib said. Each will employ about 25 people, bringing as many as 100 jobs to town. Total investment will be $1.5 million to $2 million, Geib said.

The franchise agreement includes Capstone Concepts opening a total of eight locations over the next five years. Capstone is considering multiple East Tennessee locations as well as Asheville, N.C., and Bowling Green, Ky.

Florida-based First Watch has more than 100 restaurants in 14 states. In 2011, it opened its first company-owned restaurant in Tennessee in Brentwood.

First Watch serves breakfast, brunch and lunch, seven days a week. It offers traditional fare such as eggs, pancakes, soups, salads and sandwiches, but also has a number of specialties.

One is Crepeggs, which are thin, sweet crepes with whipped eggs and served with seasoned potatoes and an English muffin. The BLTE is a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with a fried egg and Monterey Jack cheese on a multigrain bun.

The restaurants are open daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Several new restaurants have entered the Knoxville market in recent months, including Tupleo Honey, Chuy's and Cheddars.

"Knoxville is a very different market. There are a lot of Starbucks here but there are not a lot of places with a good, family friendly type concept," Geib said.

Until about three years ago, Geib had managed about 144 Arby's locations in three states, and said he got familiar with First Watch from eating at one in Cleveland, Ohio.

It had fresh food and good service, a bright interior and a "ma and pa" restaurant feel. Geib said he has not found a place like it in Knoxville, and Capstone wants to expand its restaurant offerings here.

"Breakfast is the fastest growing segment in the restaurant industry and First Watch is the clear market leader," he said in a statement.

According to the company website, First Watch refers to the nautical term for the first shift of the day.

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Comments » 1

ArtSeen writes:

A FirstWatch in Turkey Creek? How not useful.

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