First Watch restaurants coming to Lexington

First Watch restaurant in Cincinnati. Photo by Michael E. Keating| The Enquirer
First Watch restaurant in Cincinnati. Photo by Michael E. Keating| The Enquirer CIncinnati Enquirer

First Watch, a daytime-only restaurant company, has announced plans to expand into the Lexington and Louisville markets early next year.

The first restaurant will open in Lexington. A total of eight restaurants are planned for Lexington and Louisville over the next five years.

A spokesperson for the Bradenton, Fla.-based chain, Varuni Jaipershad, said specific locations have yet to be determined, but that all First Watch restaurants are in large shopping plazas anchored by major retailers.

First Watch recently opened new restaurants in Jacksonville, Fla.; Nashville; and Milwaukee, and expects to grow to 115 restaurants by the end of 2012.

First Watch has been in the Cincinnati area for several years, and it has two restaurants in Northern Kentucky.

The locally franchised First Watch restaurants will be operated by the Holland Rosen Group. Business partners Gary Holland and Ron Rosen, founders of Holland Rosen Group, LLC, are the largest franchisees of Skyline Chili, with 12 restaurants in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, and three La Rosa's Pizza restaurants.

"We are excited about taking this wonderful restaurant concept to Lexington and Louisville, and our friends who eat at First Watch in Northern Kentucky are thrilled that we are coming to their town," Holland said.

First Watch specializes in pancakes, omelets, salads and sandwiches, and signature items including the Chickichanga, healthy turkey omelet and fresh fruit crepes. The restaurant says it does not use microwaves, deep-fryers or heat lamps.

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