First Watch - The Expensive Breakfast Standard

4.195/5 stars Review Philosophy

First Watch Takeaway. The Breakfast Comparison. 6.5 / 10 standard breakfast. 7 / 10 pancakes. Expensive. Fancy IHOP.

Crunchy corporate feeling, but always quick, clean, and friendly service. Can have massive wait times at busy points in the week. Check before you head over.

Now open in University City. Parking is normally straightforward at every location with dedicated lots. They are all over St. Louis, from the Central West End to St. Charles and everywhere in between.

Table Of Contents: Experience | Food | Atmosphere | Receipt

First Watch eggs baon and toast


  • 8658 Olive Blvd, University City, MO 63132
  • (314) 339-7608
  • Website
  • Yelp - 4.3 stars - 6 ratings
  • Google Maps - 4.7 stars - 10 ratings


Monday 7 AM–2:30 PM
Tuesday 7 AM–2:30 PM
Wednesday 7 AM–2:30 PM
Thursday 7 AM–2:30 PM
Friday 7 AM–2:30 PM
Saturday 7 AM–2:30 PM
Sunday 7 AM–2:30 PM


First Watch Experience Summary

I've been going to First Watch for a while as my grandparents lived near an early location in Florida, and they had one close to me when I lived in North Carolina.

They seem to be opening up all over St. Louis now, with the latest location in University City being the subject of this review.

First Watch front

At this point, they've become the high-quality breakfast standard for me. It's not cheap at $11.99 for my Standard Breakfast - two eggs over medium, with toast, potatoes, and bacon. I give it a 6.5 / 10. The eggs and bacon are fine. The toast is a bit too buttery, and the potatoes have too much going on.

A similar meal at the Olivette Diner might go for something more like $8-9.

Their pancakes come in better for me at 7 / 10 that cross the Flood Line. They too are expensive, but they are also huge.

The coffee is a 7.1 / 10. It's a very good cup of coffee, but for $3.75, I'd rather have a cup at home for $.50.

First Watch menu

The vibes at First Watch are crunchy corporate. They want to be hippie, but with 500 locations now, they end up feeling a bit post-modern and fake. Kind of more Chipotle than diner.

That being said, they are always super clean and have fast, friendly service. The worst part of the service is having to check out up front, where there's usually a line.

The Food At First Watch

First Watch eggs baon and toast

I'm a huge diner fan, having grown up in New Jersey. My "Standard Breakfast" at any diner for years is simply two eggs over medium with toast, potatoes, and coffee.

I'd say I've had the Standard Breakfast from easily fifty different places in my lifetime, if not more. Which makes me uniquely qualified to compare First Watch against my bank.

First Watch kids menu

I give First Watch's Standard Breakfast a 6.5 / 10. It's better than IHOPS 5 / 10 as the eggs are fresher, the toast is better, and the coffee is better.

Unfortunately, First Watch potatoes have a ton of seasoning that doesn't really add any value, and they put too much butter on the toast. They also lack a non-meat version, so I'm stuck paying extra for bacon.

The bacon is high quality, thick, and crunchy. It's very good, but not something I have in my daily calorie budget.

It's also not in my daily monetary budget at $11.99. The Standard Breakfast is very expensive pre-tax and tip.

First Watch chocolate chip pancake

The pancakes are great. At 7 / 10, you can't go wrong with an order. They are huge, light, fluffy, and always deliver. Both of my sons get them with a scrambled egg as their breakfast, and I steal the last bit they can't finish. $7.59 for kids or $8.59 for adults, they aren't cheap either.

The coffee comes in with a 7.1 / 10 on taste. It suffers from the same level of expensiveness at $3.75 for an unlimited cup. I like the nuttiness of it, and the coffee has more flavor than an at-home Kuerig.

I didn't get any specialty drinks on this visit, but those are also worth your consideration if they're within your budget. I have always found them to be fruity, delicious, and refreshing whenever I muster up the courage to try them.

First Watch chocolate chip pancake

First Watch Atmosphere And Miscellaneous

First Watch, at this point, is crunchy corporate. They try to stay true to their hippie wellness roots with the tractor on their menu and the words written on the walls, but they're definitely corporate now. The dining rooms feel almost too clean, with straight lines everywhere like they're planned from a central control room in HQ.

It's definitely not a bad vibe; it's just corporate and standard.

First Watch seating

The service is fast and friendly. I have never had an issue with it being slow in the dozens of times I've gone across all their locations.

The things you need to be aware of are:

  1. Checking out is a pain in the butt as you have to go up to the front counter, and there is always a line.

  2. It can be super packed, even in their giant restaurants.

First Watch back menu

The solution to the long line at checkout is to suck it up and stand in it for five minutes or try to pick a time when it isn't too long.

On the busy front, check online or call to make sure the wait isn't crazy long during rush hour brunch times on the weekend.

Parking At First Watch

First Watch side

Parking at First Watch is super simple. They have a dedicated lot at basically every location in the suburbs. For the location in the Central West End, I haven't had any trouble finding street parking within a block or two on the weekend. Just make sure they have seating before you head over.

First Watch Receipt

First Watch receipt First Watch selfie

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