Meet Sarah King

A Be A Better Human Story

Whether you give Sarah King a camera or pot of Project Sunrise coffee, she’ll know how to bring brighter days and moments to life for our people here at First Watch. During her time as a server and now as a creative designer at our Home Office, Sarah has transformed her lifelong passions for art and travel into a way to connect people in and beyond our restaurants’ four walls. 

sarah king and friends

What’s your First Watch journey – from restaurant to Home Office?

During COVID, I was jobless for half a year and living with my friends and, on top of it, my car broke down when I moved back to Sarasota from Colorado. There was a First Watch within walking distance from my home that I used to ate at every weekend in high school. So, I applied for a server’s job and was there for about a year and a half, working weekends so I could go to school for graphic design. My manager Liz mentioned a marketing internship and thought I’d be good for it, and soon enough I had an internship with Customer Care from May to July. Before my internship was over, I was hired by the Training team as a graphic designer, and I’ve been here ever since!

How’d you discover your passion for graphic design and photography?

I drew all the time when I was a kid. I remember my mom would frame all my drawings because she thought they were really good, for my age, and looking back they kind of were. I’ve also always been into photography, ever since my parents got me my first camera – Sony Cybershot 1 – when I was 10. Recently, I’ve been into portraits and doing professional headshots. My favorite spot to take photos has been Caspersen Beach, also known as the Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World.

sarah king beach 2

What was your childhood like? We hear you traveled the world a few times…

I grew up in Michigan and was the socially awkward arts kid. My dad is American and my mom is Filipino, so every year I’d get pulled out of school for a month or two to spend time with my mom’s family in the Philippines. In addition to seeing my family on these vacations, we did a lot of travel between islands, scuba and snorkeling. We ended up moving there when I was in the sixth grade, and I did not adjust well – there’s a big difference between vacationing and living there. So, we moved back to Michigan, and it wasn’t long before we got sick of winter. We just happened to vacation in Venice, Florida, and two months later we moved down here and have been here ever since.

If you could bring anything from Filipino cuisine to the First Watch menu, what would it be?

This is hard. I love the produce – fruits and veggies – over there in the Philippines. They just taste so different! But there is this crazy dessert called Halo-Halo. It has crushed ice as the base and you pour sweet and condensed milk all over it, put in fruit-flavored jellies, white beans, sweet corn kernels, and top with corn flakes and scoops of ube – purple potato – ice cream. I remember growing up I didn’t like it at all. Beans, ice cream, and corn – what is this? But then I got to a point when I really tried it, and I was like holy cow I’ve been missing out.

In three words, what does family mean to you?

Boisterous. Community-oriented. Happy.

Anything you’d like to share about what Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month means to you personally?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate our culture – my family’s Filipino culture – more. The Philippines is a collection of small islands, but they have a lot of cultural impact everywhere. Look around and I guarantee you’ll find a large Filipino community. And, we’re so good at loving everyone around us. If you could only take away one thing about us and our culture, it’s that we love to feed people and just be nice.

sarah king beach

Beach life seems to be your vibe. Have you always had a love for the outdoors?

In Michigan, I practically lived in the woods. Being in the Philippines, I was always at the beach, trying to catch all the little sea creatures I could find. I would pick up poisonous things sometimes, and my dad would throw a fit. This love of the outdoors was why I was so inclined to move to Alaska.

Alaska…We. Need. To. Know. More.

I grew up with the beach and woods, but never the mountains. I’m a big mountain girl now after working as a seasonal worker at a hotel in Alaska shortly after graduating high school. I’ve been all over the world and I have to say, Alaska is the prettiest place I’ve ever seen. I had no cell phone service and was in the middle of nowhere together, so I was happily out of touch with reality. On our off days, we’d go hiking a lot, cook salmon over bonfires, set up tents and hammocks along the beach, pick salmon berries – that look like a grape but taste like a raspberry, grape, and watermelon had a baby – and, on rare occasions, catch the northern lights.

How do you want to live your life?

It’s something I think about a lot, almost on the daily. I want to live a simple life, maybe in a small little house with lots of land, a big porch and some goats. I just want to live a life where I’m at peace and not running to stay afloat, to look back and know that I lived a life that was meaningful to me and for me.  

Want to join Sarah in putting the good in good morning?