It’s another busy day at Primo Family Restaurant, a popular dining spot in Alexandria of Virginia for more than 25 years.
C.A. Savoy says he doesn’t like the atmosphere or food at the Chain restaurants. He enjoys Primo’s.
“Everything in here is home cooked. It’s all fresh food and delicious.”
Server Tina Mitrakas has worked at Primo’s since its open.
“I like the customers. Everybody is friendly. I like the people I work with. It’s like my second home.”
Lynne Sepple's son Nick is here celebrating his birthday.
“My son has been here since he’s 6 days old. He’s been here once a week since then and now he is ten.”
Mary Wise often stops by after work. She plays the role of Mather Washington, wife of the first U.S President at nearby Mountverlen where the Washingtons lived. Wise says Primo’s feels comfortable.
“It is a place where you can consistently have good food, not too expensive. You know you’re never going to be, ever confronted with something that is a surprise. I think people like that.”
Another appeal she says, is owner Jimmy Nicopoulos.
“I like to get involved with my clients and find out about them. I touch them. I have to be involved with my customers and my staff at the same time.”
Everyone calls him Jimmy, including Savoy and his wife who are long time patrons.
“We’ve become part of his family now. He refers to Joyce and I as his mother and father.”
Jimmy bought Primo’s 5 years ago. And it is truly a family business from the photos on the wall to the dining area where his father-in-law seats patrons, to the kitchen where his cousin Spiro Routoulas prepares Greek specialties.
“He’s a funny guy. He comes inside the kitchen and he tastes whatever I make. Oh, it’s fun.”
“Quality controls great style.”
Besides food and friendliness,
“Enjoy your dinner.”
Jimmy says Primo’s has another appeal over the chain restaurants.
“The chains have to go through processes of buying their foods from large industries and distributors. We can get our produce local. We can get our meats.”
Elizabeth Bessel notices the differences and stays away from the nearby chains.
“I just don’t find food to be that great. When I eat here, you know, Jimmy would come up to the table and tell me he got that produce from somebody’s farm.”
Jimmy says he thinks there’s room in the neighborhood for both family and chain restaurants. His customers agree.
“It’s been here for 25 years and I see he may be here for 25 more years.”