On December 12th, Chef and Restaurateur Graham Elliot opened the doors to Primary Food & Drink, his first restaurant on the East Coast in Greenwich, CT. Elliot collaborated with Executive Chef/Managing Partner Merlin Verrier on the menu of contemporary American seasonal cuisine as well as on the refined yet casual design of the restaurant.
“We first fell in love with Greenwich by participating in the annual Food & Wine Festival. Being close to a seaboard and having access to ingredients you just can’t get in the Midwest was an exciting prospect,” said Verrier. “Once we connected with a Greenwich native as our partner, the pieces fell into place and Primary just made sense as a next step for the brand.”
Verrier has worked with Elliot for the past six years, most recently as Director of Operations for all Graham Elliot restaurants (Graham Elliot and Graham Elliot Bistro in Chicago). Prior to joining Elliot, Verrier held various positions while working with Chef Richard Sandoval at Modern Mexican, Chefs Max Macissock and Carl Kelin at Great Northern Tavern and Chef Jennifer Jasinski at Rioja in Denver, among others. Now with a move to Connecticut from the Windy City under his belt, Verrier is excited to extend the brand in a new market.
The menu highlights creative spins on well-known classics with dishes like Deconstructed Caesar served with brioche “twinkie,” Shortrib Stroganoff with truffle coulis, and Berkshire Pork Chop with root beer BBQ sauce. A selection of classic cocktails and a wine list, comprised primarily of American bottles, are also offered.
Architect Richard Avery and designer Liza Laserow worked with both chefs on the restaurant’s design, focusing on creating a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere accented by vintage finds. The experience is first set by the “parlor,” which one passes through upon entering. The room is replete with a marble-topped bar and mosaic checkered floor in shades of white and navy, which present a truly vintage feel. Continuing the theme, the larger of two main dining rooms features mid-century-inspired banquette seating in tanned leather, by Rose Tarlow Melrose House, and oak tables in reclaimed wood from South Carolina. The second dining room is outfitted in wainscoting, vintage wallpaper and local artwork, which is available for consignment; it can also be curtained off for private events. A four-seat chef’s table, which allows a closer glimpse into the open kitchen, completes the experience.
The restaurant opens at 5:00 pm nightly, serving dinner until 10:00 pm, Sunday through Thursday and until 11:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. It is located at 409 Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, CT.