Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve heard this several times yet many people still skip breakfast, sometimes because they can’t be bothered to wake up early in the morning to prepare food. Fortunately, there are several breakfast-centric chain of restaurants in the United States, two of the most famous being First Watch and the International House of Pancakes (IHOP).
First Watch has 310 stores in 17 states across the United States. IHOP has more than 1,600 locations in countries across North America, Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. Both offer a wide range of breakfast foods but IHOP also offers lunch and dinner items.
The Operating Hours
The brand’s name refers to the nautical lingo referring to the breakfast hour, or the first shift of the day. First Watch restaurants are open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. only so it can be an inconvenience for people who want breakfast at any time of the day and night. This is one area where the chain may have to think of changing for many reasons.
Many of the IHOP locations, on the other hand, are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so customers can enjoy their hearty fare anytime they want. But there are also locations where the operating hours are along industry lines, usually from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 7 a.m. to 12 midnight from Fridays to Saturdays. For locations in malls, their operating hours conform to mall operating hours.
We have to say that First Watch has a more welcoming vibe because of the rustic décor and warm colors. In one location, for example, the farmhouse vibe is reinforced by the Edison bulb pendant lights, peach-basket chandeliers, and barn-inspired mural, which were inspired by the local history. Apparently, First Watch strives to honor its locales via the décor in its locations.
IHOP locations have a more modern feel in their locations, but it’s a good thing, too, in many ways. The minimalist décor is complemented by bright lighting and airy interiors with a pleasant hum from the diners’ conversations.
Between the two, you may prefer IHOP if you want a citified feel and the First Watch if you’re looking for a countrified ambiance, even in a bustling city.
The Food and Drinks
The food and drinks menu on First Watch and IHOP are both extensive so diners can take their pick. Keep in mind that their food aren’t exactly for people on a strict weight loss diet so sharing with others may be necessary to enjoy the guilty pleasure.
The menu at First Watch is relatively straightforward. The entrées are classified according to several categories – From the Griddle, The Healthier Side, Omelets and Frittatas, Egg-Sclusives, Sandwiches, Salads, 2 for You, and Small Plates. You should then be able to choose quickly since each category has its own characteristics.
All foods here aren’t subjected to heat lamps, deep-fat fryers, and microwaves. Diners then have the assurance that the food served to their tables have been made from scratch and served straight from the stove – hot and hearty with delicious flavors in every bite.
If you’re watching your calorie intake, you may want to consider the Healthier Side menu. You can get egg-white omelets, whole grain toast with avocado, fruit-topped oatmeal, and the Superfoods Bowl, a filling combo of pudding with coconut milk and chia seeds, granola, and fruit toppings.
Otherwise, you can go all out and order The Works. You will get the divine combo of chopped ham, sausage crumbles, and bacon bits with crimini mushrooms, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, and chopped onions and tomatoes, all folded into a fluffy omelet.
Pancakes and waffles are obviously the specialties at IHOP restaurants and we must say that these are among the best we’ve tasted so far. Fluffy, airy and rich, these pancakes and waffles are the perfect background for toppings from the classic butter and maple syrup to the fruit jams, whipped cream, and sliced fruits. The choices are impressive, too, including the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity Pancakes, New Fluffy The Snowman Pancakes, Red Velvet Pancakes, New York Cheesecake Pancakes, Double Blueberry Pancakes, and Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes, to name a few.
Like First Watch, IHOP also offers healthier versions of their regular fare. The Simple and Fit menu features several breakfast combos, such as the Two-Egg Breakfast consisting of scrambled egg substitute, whole wheat toast, turkey bacon, and fresh fruit. You will only get 8 grams of fat and 350 calories from the entire meal!
Both First Watch and IHOP are great places to enjoy your breakfast and you can enjoy your breakfast here every day, too, if you have the money for it. Their prices are competitive, not to mention that you’re getting freshly-made, flavorful and filling food without slaving away at the kitchen.
But if you’re the type of wants greater variety in food items, then the IHOP chain is the better chain since there are lunch and dinner items. First Watch remains true to its name that it’s the best place to get possibly your first leisurely meal of the day.