Breakfast Chain First Watch Opens Fast Casual Concept in Nashville

The rapidly growing casual dining chain First Watch is testing a fast casual concept with a location in Nashville, Tennessee.

The new restaurant named Sun & Fork serves breakfast all day and is catering to the on-the-go millennials in the area.

“With Sun & Fork, we’ve created a restaurant for Vanderbilt [University] students and staff, the surrounding medical community and other local area businesses and residents to enjoy those healthy options and other First Watch favorites,” said Chris Tomasso, First Watch CEO.

First Watch bought Bread & Co, a bakery chain back in 2014 and has transformed former location of the bakery in Nashville to be the home of the new Sun & Fork concept.

The menu features many trendy breakfast food items like avocado toast, A.M. superfood bowls, and quinoa bowls. There are also build-your-own bowls, breakfast burritos, grab-and-go juices, and sandwiches like the "Elevated Egg" sandwich.

For those tight for time, the restaurant offers online ordering through its website.

So will First Watch expand this concept and attempt to also conquer the fast casual breakfast market?

It's too early to tell, but it's certainly a possibility.

“It’s our first go at operating a fast-casual First Watch concept like this, and it’ll be a great learning experience for us,” said Eleni Pierce, public relations and communications manager at First Watch. “There is absolutely potential in the future that we may expand into other markets. But we’ll see.”

There are now over 290 First Watch restaurants. In 2012, Consumer Reports named First Watch one of the top nine chain restaurants in the U.S., according to a survey of 48,000 diners.

The Florida-based company also owns 55 The Egg & I restaurants across the country.

Read more about the new Sun & Fork restaurant at "The Herald Tribune" now.

Speaking of emerging brands, don’t miss this recent episode of The Barron Report, where Host Paul Barron outlines the brands killin’ in today’s market and why they have that X-factor.

Marlin Network launches Foodservice Professional Panel

Marlin Network launches Foodservice Professional Panel

This foodservice marketing agency is putting together a restaurant operator panel and is looking for professionals just like you to become influencers in the industry!

Marlin Network is an agency that has been in business for over 30 years and is on a mission to engage consumers in better experiences away from home.

Currently, the agency is looking for input from operators, owners, chefs, and managers across all segments of commercial restaurants. Marlin Network wants the opinion of those people in the industry who are considered key decision makers, or the people purchasing product for their place of business.

This is an interesting opportunity for industry professionals who qualify, where they will be rewarded for voicing their thoughts on products anonymously. The company will never sell the participant’s information or market to them. Marlin Network’s goal is to better the foodservice industry and incorporate the opinions of real food industry professionals into their projects.

Read More

Tuning Up Nashville's Music City Center

Can you picture a massive building with organic lines and curves that flow like the shapes of Nashville's rolling hills or the Music City's melodic sounds? With ceilings that mimic the patterns and structure of grand piano keys? Or rooms with walls that bend, filled with acoustics that make you feel as if you're standing inside of a mandolin or guitar?

The movement and fluidity of music itself was the design inspiration for the Music City Center. This center takes on the idea of a city's brand identity to a whole new level. And at 300,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, 60,000 square feet of ballroom space, and 1.2 million square feet of space in total, this convention center is music to any event director's ears. The center was needed to bring new life and business into Nashville, and needed to expand in the city's downtown urban setting, according to Charles Starks, the complex's president and CEO. He wanted the center to look like nowhere else in the world.

 In this episode of "BUILT.," in partnership with FCSI The Americas,  FCSI consultant Michael Pantano of Culinary Advisors, tvsdesign, and the visionaries behind the Music City Center work in harmony to turn this building into the pinnacle of flexibility, sustainability, and foodservice excellence.  

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In terms of functionality, Pantano always thinks like a chef. Aware that only 25 percent of a kitchen needs to be in fixed positions, whether due to the cooking line or exhaust hoods, he was able to make everything else mobile. Just as the entire convention center was flexible and fluid — without fixed concession stands or fixed dining areas so that the space could be reshaped — the kitchen could move with the needs of clients, too, able to fluctuate from serving six to six thousand.

"Our food sales have over doubled what we had projected initially and we've become known in Nashville as a place to go to for food. Not the convention center, but a place to go to for food," Starks said.

The Future Through Sustainability

The beautiful architecture and foodservice aren't the only things that set this design paragon apart from the rest. This space is also sustainable.

Above it lies a 4-acre green roof, the largest one in the Southeast, growing 14 types of vegetation. The center also has a solar farm and honey bees on site for the kitchens. The staff  keeps close relations with local farmers to serve food with a farm-to-table feel. The Music City Center also has a 360,000-gallon rainwater storage system that captures rainfall and utilizes it, not only to irrigate its plants and landscaping but also to flush their sewage system. That has led to 54 percent saving in the building's water usage in three years.

Watch the full episode above now!


Historic Husk Bar Brings New Life to Old-Fashioned Classics

The Husk Bar is found downstairs in what used to be the master bedroom of a historic 1800s home in Rutledge Hill. Upstairs you will find the James Beard Award-winning restaurant, Husk Restaurant. The bar has an attached patio, and right outside, you will find an atrium providing something more than just a garden view. In the atrium lives the Husk’s herb garden, where bartender Mike Wolf picks herbs and garnishes at season’s peak, often inspiring new cocktail recipes.

In this episode of “Across the Bar,” Paul Barron travels to downtown Nashville to see what they’re stirring up at the Husk Bar.

Cocktail No. 1: Robotic Reaction

In order to turn out a drink with intense color, Wolf tried his hand at a Midori Cocktail using Centenario Plata tequila. Pulling some salad burnet from the Husk herb garden to intensify the melon flavor and finishing it off with a housemade tincture, the Robotic Reaction transforms the intensely sweet flavor of Midori into a more organic tasting cocktail with a kick.


  • Muddled Cucumber
  • Fresh Salad Burnet
  • Sea Salt
  • Happed Grapefruit Bitters
  • Lemon and Lime Juice
  • Midori
  • Centenario Plata Tequila
  • Cucumber-Salad Burnet Tincture
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Cocktail No. 2 : Ol’ Sorgy

The Ol’ Sorgy is a take on a classic Old Fashioned using Barrel-aged sorghum syrup infused with dried Magnolia leaves that give off a whiskey bourbon-like aroma. Wolf perfected the recipe once he found that “sorghum and Wheated Bourbon had this really nice affinity with each other.”


  • Whiskey barrel bitters
  • Lemon Peel
  • Honey Vinegar
  • Tansy Tincture
  • Weller 107 Wheated Bourbon

Cocktail No. 3: The H is Silent

This final cocktail shows the true skill of the bar at Husk. Using their own housemade Cara Cara Orange Curacao, Wolf creates a unique drink that Host Paul Barron can’t get enough of.


  • Cara Cara Orange Curacao
  • Lime Juice
  • La Cartuja Red Wine
  • Barrel Select Rhum Agricole
  • Abbott's Bitters
  • Cara Cara Orange Garnish

Two Boots Kicks Up Fast Casual Pizza With Quirky, Cajun Flair

The fast casual pizza sector has been taking a slice of the industry. With more than 80 unique, Chipotle-line-service-style concepts emerging in the business, how can a brand stand out? In this episode of "Fast Casual Nation," we visit Two Boots in Nashville and chat with the two big cheeses, Phil Hartman, owner and co-founder, and Sam Boyer, manager of the Nashville location, to see how they set themselves apart. 

All in the Name: Why Two Boots?

Today, Two Boots may be comprised of 16 locations across New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and beyond, but its creation began humbly in the Lower East Side of the Big Apple. Hartman and his business partner opened the first Cajun restaurant in Manhattan. As successful as it was, it was what he called a "Wild West Show" — too crazy. Looking to provide a laid-back but enjoyable dining experience, they came up with a idea where two culinary concepts collided. 

"We took the Cajun cooking and combined it with pizza and beer, which we really loved. We're called Two Boots because everyone knows Italy is shaped like a boot, but Louisiana, if you're in the right condition when you look at the map, also looks like a boot. Like an old work boot. That's our 'Two Boots,'" Hartman said. "We combined Italy and Louisiana...the two best cuisines in the world, as far as we're concerned." 

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Whole Pie, Whole Experience: What Keeps Two Boots Two Steps Ahead

While most fast casual pizza brands are all about the personal pizza, Two Boots does not focus on customization as much as it does the "whole pizza pie" experience. The brand comes up with unique and quirky combinations, like Hattie B's medium-level heat chicken with housemade ricotta cheese, or the "V for Vegan" pizza, featuring red pepper and basil pesto. All pizzas have a cornmeal crust, which offer a different, white-gold texture and a nutty crunch.

Like their interesting flavors, the pizzas are named after just-as-interesting icons. But why does Two Boots take this approach?

Hartman believes it's not a true pizza-eating experience if a group of friends aren't sharing a single pie. And Nashville Manager Sam Boyer had his views on offering a few creative pizzas as opposed to complete customer customization.

"I don't know, it takes away from the experience, I think, And it can also be kind of disastrous when you give folks a big menu," Boyer said. "There's something to be said about having professionals who tinker with the pizzas, who spend hours tasting it...coming up with the optimal ingredients for it and the toppings."

Watch the full episode now and step into the shoes of Two Boots!