Nestled amid the bustling Front Street restaurant scene (which includes Blu Pointe and Café Pitti), newcomer Primo Waterfront transports guests from the banks of the mid-Hudson to shores of southern Italy. The sister location of the Wappingers Falls mainstay Heritage Food + Drink, Primo (which opened in December), boasts 180 waterfront seats, 60 indoor seats, a private dining room, and two bars. With the weather warming up, what better way to dine al fresco than beneath a pergola overlooking the river? Inside, bright white walls and accents of blue tile and gold fixtures compliment the menu’s coastal theme.
Heading up the kitchen is Executive Chef Ralph Bello, previously of Il Barilotto Enoteca in Fishkill, a traditional Italian-style restaurant that shuttered in 2020. He was cooking at Heritage when he pitched the idea of a place that served authentic, seaside Italian fare to owner Jesse Camac. Thanks to the pandemic, there was a space available for rent and an eatery was born.
Among the tempting appetizers are elevated classics like antipasto with truffle honey and fruit mostarda, and mussels with chili-garlic broth and basil. Main dishes include a variety of fresh pastas, fish, and meat entrees. A few standouts: squid ink taglioni served with king crab and saffron butter, and swordfish spiedini topped with a romesco sauce, broccoli rabe, and pistachios. Primo’s unique crudos, such as bluefin tuna with salsa verde and preserved lemon, are also not to be missed. Dining with a group? Go for the royal seafood tower, piled high with oysters, clams, shrimp, smoked fish dip, and more.
If you’ve been to Heritage, you know that Camac’s restaurants provide a casual, convivial vibe to enjoy great food and have fun. While Primo is a bit more upscale in terms of service, décor, and price point, this new spot maintains the welcoming atmosphere that Heritage perfected, just across the river.
50 Front Street, Newburgh