Industry News | January 17, 2011

First Watch Signs Deal to Enter Milwaukee Market

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First Watch, a breakfast, brunch, and lunch chain based in Bradenton, Florida, signed an area development agreement to bring five restaurants to the Milwaukee area. VMB Sunrise Hospitality Inc., operated by father and son Michael and Vincent Busalacchi, agreed to open five First Watch restaurants in the Milwaukee market over the next three to five years. The first restaurant will open in Brookfield in the first half of this year in the Brownstones Shopping Center at Bluemound and Calhoun Roads.

First Watch features traditional favorites like pancakes, omelets, salads, and sandwiches, as well as signature items such as the Chickichanga and Fresh Fruit Crepes. All of its menu items are freshly prepared to order.

“We started eating at First Watch in Naples, Florida, and the concept really got our attention since we are in the restaurant business ourselves. I knew I wanted to bring more restaurants to the Milwaukee area and First Watch was the perfect choice,” Michael Busalacchi says. “We are really looking forward to growing the brand not just in Milwaukee, but also in the whole state of Wisconsin. We’re ready to follow the great job First Watch has been doing since they started.”

Busalacchi is a seasoned restaurant operator with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. He owns and operates three Culver’s restaurants in the Milwaukee area. Busalacchi previously held senior-level operations positions with Culver’s and other concepts. VMB Sunrise Hospitality Inc. is a family business.

“We’re confident that First Watch will do well in this market, especially with Michael’s great experience in the industry and his knowledge of Milwaukee,” says Chris Tomasso, chief marketing officer for First Watch. “We’ve been looking to expand into the Milwaukee market for a while and believe the market will really enjoy everything First Watch has to offer.”