Its still all in the family at Primo


Family is the secret ingredient at Primo Family Restaurant in Belle View, and this goes for the new owner down to the no frills interior that beckons to the surrounding suburbia environment.

In August, owner Jim Nicopoulos reopened the long-standing restaurant in the shopping center after his uncle, Pete Silas, announced he was calling it quits after 30 years. Were going to continue the legacy, Nicopoulos said. Primo will still feature their staples pizza, steak and cheese subs and crab cakes  plus daily specials and seafood he is adding to the menu, and coming in November, breakfast on Sunday.

Max Jones, 14, and Amanda Raffaele, 15, live nearby and love to come over with or without family. Jones likes the home fries served with the Philly Cheesesteak subs. Theyre made with love, he said. Raffaele is a home fries fan too. Its like some of the best in the area, she said.

Mount Vernon resident Al Monroe knew of Nicopoulos culinary expertise from the days when Nicopoulos owned The Exchange restaurant in Washington near the White House. Growing up in the Belle View area, Monroe also knew of Primo, too. Primo was here when I was in high school, now were regulars, he said. The service Monroe got at the D.C. restaurant has a familiar feeling at Primo. Everybody who works for Jimmy understands theyre in the service industry, he said.

Pedro Rojas, the chef, is part of that service team. Rojas came with Nicopoulos when he left D.C., and now hes my pillar, Nicopoulos said. The Exchange was bought by Nicopoulos cousin, so it is part of the family restaurant legacy, too.

Expanding menu and service
Nicopoulos plans on expanding the legacy and tradition that encompasses Primo by opening on Sundays for breakfast and football. There will be a full breakfast menu for Sunday mornings, but diners will still be able to order pizza and everything else for every meal. Their debut Sunday will be Nov. 4. Well be flipping eggs, ham, bacon and pizzas all at the same time, Nicopoulos said. Daily specials are another are in which Nicopoulos is getting into. Mondays will be prime rib, while Tuesday is half-price wine night, Wednesday is lobster and Thursday, its lamb.

A group of frequent customers Nicopoulos sees a couple of times a month is the Harmony Heritage Singers, a barbershop quartet of seniors who set up in the back room of the restaurant. They are due in again on Oct. 12, Nicopoulos said, as he described how energetic and wonderful the barbershop singing is.

Energy is what Im trying to bring [here to the restaurant], he added.

Uncle Pete Silas is still part of the equation at Primo as well, monitoring things on an informal basis. He comes in every morning at seven and yells at me, Nicopoulos said.