A daytime-only eatery in Pikesville

TABLE TALK

December 27, 2006|By SLOANE BROWN

Considering the success of Roland Park's daytime-only restaurant, Miss Shirley's, it should come as no surprise that another eatery along those lines has popped up in Pikesville. First Watch - which calls itself the largest privately owned daytime-only restaurant chain in the country - opened its doors on Reisterstown Road a little over two weeks ago.

The Florida-based chain boasts 67 such restaurants in 11 states. This is the first in Maryland. Hmmm. Daytime only. Breakfast, brunch and lunch offered the whole time. Does this mean it's a diner?

No, says general manager Erin Rymer. She says First Watch has more of a restaurant feel. There is no counter. The floor is carpeted, not linoleum. She describes it as "light and airy," with the front third of the building all glass. The tables and chairs are light pine and the walls are painted cheery yellows and greens, with hand-painted fruit and vegetable artwork displayed there.

Folks who have to wait a bit for a table will find interesting entertainment - the kitchen is open facing them, where they can watch orders being filled lickety-split. The restaurant guarantees your food will be on the table within 10 minutes, Rymer says.

"It's an audible kitchen. All the orders are called in verbally by a manager, [referred to as] a helmer, like a captain on a ship," she says. Rymer says it's like watching an assembly line. She also says while the kitchen action provides entertainment to those in the lobby, the open part is exposed to maybe only one table. The rest of the dining room is around the corner. About those orders ...

"We definitely have traditional breakfast and lunch items, but we also have a lot of items that are unique," Rymer says.

On the breakfast list, for instance, you have a Western omelet ($6.59) and mushroom and cheese ($6.79). But you'll also find a Greek omelet, filled with roasted red peppers, feta cheese and spinach, topped with black olives and onions ($6.79). You have Belgian waffles ($5.69) and you have "crepeggs," crepes filled with whipped eggs and several other fillings ($7.29). There are pancakes, plain or with added ingredients like blueberry, or cranberry-nut ($4.79-$5.59) and French toast, plain or stuffed ($5.29-$6.29).

The brunch section comes in two parts. The "healthier side" offers choices such as fluffy egg whites, smoked turkey, spinach and mushrooms wrapped in a sun-dried tomato-basil wrap with Swiss cheese ($6.89); and a Siesta Key Cocktail, a parfait made of granola, low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts, served with a baked muffin ($6.39). The "egg-cetera" part includes items such as eggs Benedict ($7.79) and a "chickichanga," whipped eggs with spicy chicken, chorizo, green chiles, jack and cheddar cheese, onion and avocado rolled in a crispy flour tortilla and topped with Vera Cruz sauce and sour cream ($6.99).

The lunch menu includes salads such as Cobb salad ($7.79); "Won's Oriental," teriyaki chicken breast, fresh veggies, water chestnuts and whole cashews with fresh greens, crunchy Oriental noodles and mandarin oranges ($7.69); and Pecan Dijon, seasoned chicken breast, bacon, avocados, pecans, tomatoes and shredded cheese drizzled with warm honey Dijon dressing ($7.59). The sandwich list includes French dip ($7.19); turkey burger ($6.79) and a chicken-salad melt ($6.39).

You'll find First Watch, 410-602-1595, at 1431 Reisterstown Road. Rymer says it's a bit hidden from the road, but you'll find it between a row of stores and the Giant, near the Old Court Road intersection. It's open 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day. First Watch closes only on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you have information regarding a local restaurant's opening, closing or major changes, please e-mail that information to sloane@sloanebrown.com or fax it to 410-675-3451.

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