Primo Waterfront celebrates coastal Italian cuisine in Newburgh


Photos courtesy of Whitewater Imagery

Led by the team behind Heritage Food + Drink in Wappingers Falls, Primo Waterfront combines views of the Hudson River with an elegant menu.

Dining along the Newburgh waterfront is an experience.

While the city as a whole is renowned for its premier food and drink, there is something very special about scoring a table that offers a view of the Hudson River alongside a mouthwatering meal.

And that is precisely why Jesse Camac knew he wanted to open a restaurant there.

If his name sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve heard him attached to Heritage Food + Drink in Wappingers Falls, which Camac has run since opening in 2017 (and has won multiple Best of Hudson Valley awards for years). . So when he heard that the space housing the now closed Cena 2000 in Newburgh was up for grabs, he knew it had first-rate restoration potential.

But did we mention it was in the middle of the pandemic?

Primo waterfront

The timing might not have seemed right, but it was a good time to secure the space, create the concept, and build the team. Since Italian cuisine had already enjoyed success there, Camac knew he wanted to pursue something similar. Instead of a typical “red sauce” joint, however, he imagined Primo Waterfront, a lighter Italian concept with an emphasis on coastal cuisine and seafood dishes common to the Mediterranean region. He just needed a leader to lead him.

“Around this time, Frank [Camey, the corporate chef for Heritage Food + Drink] got a call from Ralph Bello, who told us Il Barilotto [in Fishkill] closed, ”said Camac. Bello, previously executive chef of Il Barilotto for six years, was looking for a position and Camac was happy to have him join the team. In no time at all, Bello, Camac and Camey were talking, and “the three of us knew [Bello] would be the perfect guy for [Primo], remembers Camac. With his background in rolling fresh pasta and his experience in Italian cuisine, Bello is an excellent candidate for the leadership position at Primo, with Camey serving as the business manager for Heritage and Primo.

Newbourg restaurant

With an opening slated for fall 2021, Primo Waterfront will invite diners to experience coastal Italian cuisine in the heart of the Hudson Valley. The restaurant is inspired by the Amalfi Coast and Venice for its menu, both fruity and fresh. As with Heritage, Primo will source much of its supplies from farms in the Hudson Valley and modify the menu to incorporate seasonality.

“My wife’s family has worked in agriculture for 75 years,” explains Camac. “We try to support local farmers as best we can. It’s the right thing to do and the product is better.

Primo waterfront

So what’s on the menu at Primo Waterfront? From the moment it opens, Newburgh Restaurant will be a favorite spot for antipasti that range from creamy burrata to mouthwatering mussels. Pasta is a focal point, thanks to Chef Bello’s skill in making it. True to the roots of the waterfront restaurant, many pastas incorporate seafood, with options like lobster bucatini or octopus paccheri to make your mouth water. The main courses will be equally tempting, with grilled salmon, cioppino, and swordfish spiedini to make patrons feel like dining on the Italian coast.

Primo waterfront

Of course, the best part of all might be the restaurant’s crudo and raw bar. The menu concept draws inspiration from both Italian seafood-focused regions and some of New York’s top-rated restaurants, which Camac frequented while researching the best way to incorporate a crudo, or version. Italian bar vintage, concept in the menu. Work with John Daly, a friend of his who has experience at Michelin 15 Est and Masa, Camac hired him as a consultant to learn everything he and Bello needed to know about sourcing and slaughtering fish.

“This is one of the more special parts of the menu,” Camac says of the crudo section. “We buy from places where these omakase restaurants [in New York City] buy from.

Primo waterfront

Indeed, the crudo menu stands out as one of Primo Waterfront’s most unique offerings. With rotating specialties based on the ingredients and the seasons, Primo’s crudo dishes entice diners with appetizers like amberjack with strawberries, basil and pink pepper or spotted shrimp with sunflower pesto, lemon and capers. In short, it is more than enough to make your mouth water.

Newbourg restaurant

Of course, the food menu is only part of the picture at Primo. The restaurant also offers serious flavor on its cocktail menu, which includes fresh ingredients that change seasonally. G&T are a staple, while frozen drinks like Mai Tais and Frosé are a delicious surprise. There is also beer, sake and a selection of wines. Hey, this is an Italian restaurant after all.

Primo waterfront

As for space, Primo offers a completely different atmosphere to that of Cena 2000. Thanks to an intestinal renovation carried out by Camac himself, the Hudson Valley restaurant is a completely bespoke project designed to combine with the high-end concept. of the restaurant. White hues dominate the space, flanked by black and brown accents with pops of blue dotted throughout the design. Primo embraces its riverside location, with an airy concept and an indoor open kitchen that flows perfectly into the outdoor dining area beyond. There are approximately 65 seats in the building, including a private dining room that seats 20 to 25, as well as 160 to 170 seats outside for those who wish to eat by the water. Two bars, one inside and one outside, complete the latest dining experience to arrive along Newburgh’s waterfront.

Newbourg restaurant

Can’t wait to try it out? With an opening date slated for later this fall, Primo Waterfront is poised to bring a new vision of Italian cuisine to the Hudson Valley community. Follow with Restaurant to Instagram for a taste of some of his mouthwatering dishes.

Primo waterfront
50 Front Street, Newburgh

Related: 18 Riverside Restaurants for Waterfront Dining in the Hudson Valley

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