Around Town

First Watch expands with new cafes coming to Fairfax County

The daytime cafe First Watch will open in Franconia and Fair Lakes in 2024 (courtesy First Watch)

First Watch is bringing its avocado toast and million dollar bacon to more spots around Fairfax County.

The fast-casual cafe, which serves made-to-order food and drinks for breakfast, brunch and lunch, will open at least two more locations in the county next year — with a third potentially also in the works.

First, a Franconia restaurant is on track to open next spring in Festival at Manchester Lakes (7027B Manchester Blvd), according to First Watch public relations manager Hunter Carpenter. It will occupy 4,500 square feet in a currently vacant corner building that once hosted Lucky’s Sports Theatre & Grill, per a site plan from property manager Regency Centers.

Carpenter also confirmed that First Watch will open at 12249 Fair Lakes Promenade Drive in fall 2024, replacing TGI Friday’s, as the Washington Business Journal reported this summer. The chain restaurant remains open for now, but its days are evidently numbered.

TGI Friday’s didn’t return a request for comment by press time.

“These restaurants will be our fourth and fifth locations in Fairfax County, respectively — and the newest additions to First Watch’s presence locally since its Bailey’s Crossroads opening in 2021,” Carpenter said.

With more than 500 restaurants nationwide, First Watch can also be found at Fair City Mall (9600 Main Street) in Fairfax and at Greenbriar Town Center (13027 Route 50) in Chantilly.

A permit currently under review by Fairfax County indicates that another cafe may be planned at Idylwood Plaza (7501 Leesburg Pike). The commercial alteration permit calls for a new storefront with interior and exterior wall demolition intended in part “to create a new covered patio area.”

Carpenter confirmed that First Watch has been “looking into new sites in the Falls Church area,” but no leases have been finalized yet. A public relations representative for Federal Realty, which manages Idylwood Plaza, said the company can’t provide any details until a lease is executed.

“[We] love the community and hope to grow there, but have not executed any recent leases yet and therefore have no new sites to announce at this time,” Carpenter told FFXnow. “We opened the doors to our first restaurant in Fairfax County nearly two decades ago, and we’re always looking for new ways to bring our take on breakfast, brunch and lunch to more of our neighbors.”

Started in Pacific Grove, California, in 1983, First Watch emphasizes its use of fresh ingredients and seasonal dishes that change five times a year based on “the position of the sun,” according to its website.

“This ever-evolving menu has included items like the Crab Avocado Toast, Barbacoa Quesadilla Benedict, Elote Mexican Street Corn Hash and Watermelon Wake-Up fresh juice, among many others,” Carpenter said.

The menu also includes classic breakfast foods like omelets, eggs benedict and pancakes, along with sandwiches, salads and quinoa bowls. Available drinks include a juice bar, iced coffee and cocktails for brunch.

According to Carpenter, some of the most popular menu items are avocado toast, lemon ricotta pancakes and the aforementioned Million Dollar Bacon, which is hardwood-smoked and baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and a maple syrup drizzle.

Both Franconia and Fair Lakes restaurants “are still in the construction and design phases,” he said. The dining rooms will have an “urban farm” style that combines “the rustic feel of a farmhouse with the modern elements of an urban loft.”