Primo celebrates 20th season with May opening

Thu, 04/25/2019 - 3:15pm
On May 3, Primo Restaurant will open for its 20th season.  To celebrate, Primo will host special dinners and classes throughout the year.
“Twenty years in this industry is a huge milestone, and we really wanted to do something special to mark the occasion,” said Executive Chef Melissa Kelly, in a news release.  
Events will include special dinners and cooking classes in Primo’s Post and Beam Barn. Primo is a Mediterranean inspired restaurant in a 150-year-old Victorian house, sitting on four acres in Rockland near the Owls Head town line.
“It is very much a family atmosphere,” said Kelly. “Food is a ribbon that ties us all together.”
Kelly purchased Primo in 1999. The space formerly housing Jessica’s restaurant, and, prior to that, the Benner House.
She and her team have nurtured the land back to its agricultural roots, working one plot at a time to till, amend and nourished the soil, which in turn provides ingredients for her menus. 
Primo has two greenhouses, laying hens, broiler chickens, pigs, ducks, and bees. The farm team grows most of the restaurants produce in addition to caring for its heirloom fruit trees and berries. 
Chef Kelly a 33-year veteran in the kitchen, and a two-time James Beard Foundation winner for Best Chef Northeast.   
In addition to the flagship restaurant in Rockland, Kelly also has two other locations in Orlando, Florida and Tucson, Arizona.
“Primo would not be the success it is without my wonderful team,” said Kelly.  Newly appointed Chef de Cuisine Dustin Martin worked with Kelly at Primo Tuscon, and his tenure with the company now exceeds a decade.  
Front of House Manager Ian Broome was originally part of the team at Primo in Tucson and comes to Primo from his most recent stint at the Ritz Carlton in Washington D.C.
As a certified WSET II Sommelier, he brings wine knowledge with him. Pastry Chef Melissa Legare has also been at Primo for over a decade.
Heading up the Primo Farm Team are Dylan Rich, Kim Sweet and Anna Leavitt. “
Primo Misto” is a team consisting of students from Singapore, the Culinary Institute of America, and other talent from near and far.
The experience at Primo allows its guests to dine on food just a few feet from where it was grown, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients, seasonality and a menu that changes according to what is coming out of the garden on a daily basis.  This philosophy not only brings great flavors to a meal, but it allows Chef Kelly to connect more personally with the dishes she creates.
For reservations or more information for the restaurant and 20th anniversary events visit