Nearly a year after North Kansas City lost one of its favorite breakfast and lunch venues, First Watch is returning.
It plans a 7 a.m. Monday opening on the same site at 409 Armour Road, but in a new building and with First Watch’s new restaurant design.
According to management company NT Realty Inc., the former building was damaged to the extent that it was financially unfeasible to repair. Engineering reports indicated the structural damage to the roof may have been due to heavy snowfalls in February 2013.
First Watch, which opened in North Kansas City in 1987, closed the day after Thanksgiving in 2013 and the building was demolished.
But First Watch always planned to return to the location where it has 5,500 loyalty members.
The new design features “urban” elements such as an exposed ceiling and industrial lighting, and “farm elements” like a row of cast iron skillets on the wall, baskets made into lighting fixtures and a barn door made of reclaimed wood for the private meeting room.
It also is set to feature custom wallpaper printed with newspaper headlines. Specials, like the current pumpkin pancakes, will be posted on a roll of butcher paper and on the chalkboard wall. A small retail area will sell First Watch coffee and its granola, which is made in-house daily. Servers will now wear denim with brown shirts.
The new 3,900-square-foot restaurant has a more open floor plan with open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides for lots of natural light. There’s a community table seating eight people and two long sofa banquettes, along with two booths seating six people each. All the tables are made of reclaimed wood.
“We wanted that sidewalk cafe, neighborhood feel, especially when it has been in the neighborhood for so long,” said Chris Tomasso, spokesman for First Watch in Florida. “We are really happy to be back.”
The new building’s front facade is now even with the sidewalk, and First Watch will have a covered patio seating 20 people next spring.
Hours will be 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.
First Watch, a breakfast, brunch and lunch operation, offer items like pancakes, omelets, sandwiches and salads and traditional takes and ones with a twist, including the Killer Cajun omelet with spicy Cajun all-natural white meat chicken and a side of Santa Fe sauce, veggie burgers, Reubens, chicken salad melts, BLTs with a fried egg, Cobb salads and Italian wedding soup.
The company has 125 First Watch restaurants in 16 states, including 11 in the area and one in Lawrence, and it is adding several restaurants annually. It is actively looking for more locations in the metro, Tomasso said.
Tasty’s opens drive-through
The owner of a weekday lunch-only venue, Tasty Burgers & Gyro in the food court of City Center Square, 1100 Main St., said his customers wanted to be able to get his food during their off hours. So Jawad Salman has opened a second location with a drive-through in south Kansas City.
Tasty’s, at 9425 Blue Ridge Blvd., serves such items as specialty burgers, fish filets, shrimp po’ boys, Philly cheesesteaks, giant tenderloins, Italian steak sandwiches, hot wings, chicken tenders and gyros, along with sides like jalapeno poppers and fried okra.
“My customers said they missed the restaurant when they weren’t at work,” Salman said. “We cook-to-order and use fresh ingredients. We cut up all our own vegetables. A lot of restaurants get them in packages pre-cut.”
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