That was quick, and probably expensive


Waiting for Turbot

Waiting for Turbot

“Primary” the new restaurant at the bottom of Greenwich Avenue, has closed. You probably didn’t even have time to notice that it’d opened.

Celebrity chef Graham Elliot’s foray into Greenwich — the restaurant Primary Food & Drink — despite good reviews, closed on Thursday.

Standing outside Primary at 409 Greenwich Ave. Thursday afternoon, manager David Wolvovsky said the eatery “is closed as of today — the issue being, it wasn’t busy. The investors, the landlord pulled the trigger.”

A couple of people I know who worked there described the place as a chaotic, poorly run circus, with no qualified supervision and clueless service workers. That’s not a recipe for success.


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91 responses to “That was quick, and probably expensive

  1. Cos Cobber

    Wow, that was rather quick. Didn’t manage to make it there myself…but never heard anything positive.

    Btw, I never looked into the place either, but all the interior shots never looked good. The place looks cold and boring.

  2. Cos Cobber

    Narcissist Susan has stepped aside her pursuit to represent the dems in Bristol. What struck me though is word Malloy wants a “labor” candidate instead. “Labor candidate?” How about a “taxpayer candidate?”

    • Not just Malloy:

      “”She said she heard from sources close to the governor that the governor and senators, the U.S. senators, were looking for a labor candidate. That was part of the decision,” said Dean Kilbourne, the Bristol Democratic chairman.”

      I guess they must feel that the unions lack a sufficient number of sock puppets in the state senate.

      • Libertarian Advocate

        That’s not it so much as the fact that the progressives, being mostly white collar professional types have an ever attenuating connection to Blue Collar labor. Sooner or later, the blue collars are gonna figure out that all those taxes “Proggies” love to impose do in fact drive union jobs out of state. The Left, contrary to popular myth, is not Labor’s good friend after all. In fact, “Proggies” are more like greedy cynical foster parents, purely in it for the cash.

  3. D

    Always wanted to check it out, but got lazy when I never heard anyone excited about it. The fit out is too nice to tear out though – they’ll find a different operator. Hopefully they’ll run a better restaurant. I miss Thataway!

    • Anonymous

      I had heard that zoning made the bar too small for any other takers, so in the end it was a doomed space – cuz you have to make it with alcohol, not packing the back rooms for high dollar food.

    • Flash

      Maybe someone will bring back Augies Downtownet

  4. Rick

    Too bad. It would be nice to have somewhere that isn’t Italian or a steak place, but I guess they didn’t execute.

  5. Foodie

    I must live under a rock. I’ve never heard of “celebrity chef Graham Elliot”.

    • Rick

      You need to watch Masterchef on FOX.

      He’s actually a highly regarded chef in Chicago with a couple of Michelin stars, but this outpost was run by one of his minions who wanted to relocate to the East Coast and Eliot set this up for him.

  6. Mickster

    Mickster loves the caption!!!
    Don’t you hate it when people refer to themselves in the 3rd person…

  7. Greenwich Gal

    I went. It was ok. I wasn’t terribly impressed. Kinda gimmicky, such as the “deconstructed Caesar salad with parmesan twinkie.” Personally, I don’t want to assemble my salad – that is why I’m paying the restaurant. Nevertheless, it was too expensive for what you got and their attitude too precious. Many friends called for reservations and got a frosty response. And it was loud. Real loud.

    • housecat

      I had that same ridiculous “salad” at Polpo. Not too impressed with that place, either.

      • Anonymous

        Polpo is the most overrated restaurant in town. Only thing worse is the people that patronize it, clearly more interested in being seen there/saying they’ve been there than for the food.

    • Reader

      Exactly. I walked in there to check it out the day it opened and got a frosty response from the manager. Never went back.

    • Greenwich resident

      Actually I thought that name sounded fun! It sure caught my attention. I had that dish also, but the funny thing is, a few months later when I tried to explain to my friends what the “twinkie” was, I couldn’t remember! I do remember enjoying my whole meal, and thinking it was tasty, but I completely forgot what I ordered. So I guess that means the food must have been forgettable. I thought the service was fine. Oh well.

  8. an extra $3 for a martini up? good riddance…

  9. Anonymous

    Thataway was GREAT place and the owners were really cool folks.

    It’s sorely missed.

    Current building owner likely overpaid as well. The ROI is going to be painful.

  10. Al Dente

    I ate there, had a lamb dish. It was good. But the place was so LOUD. Next owner: put down some carpet and put up some acoustic panels.

  11. Anonymous

    Oh bummer! I never got there but wanted to.

  12. BigMike

    The landlord is also the builder and also the co owner of the restaurant.
    He’s a 99′ grad from GHS and has been trying to make it as a builder/developer etc.
    I’m not surprised by the closing. I was tempted to go there the other night after a warm up @ Douro, but the two reviews I had from friends made me think to go elsewhere.
    Oh well, NEXT!

  13. Walt

    Dude –
    This would be the PERFECT location for a rub and tug. Close to the train station, so we could get them coming and going. At lunch, we get the whole Greenwich hedge fund crowd. It’s a can’t miss Dude!!

    Can Francis grease the skids with the P&Z? Promise them and the GPD some free handys so we won’t have any problems. They agree to keep the Cos Cob grease balls out of our hair?

    How about names? Sum Cum to Rewax? Me Ruv Yu Rong Time? Wasp’s Nest? You bring Em, we sting Em?

    We can also have a café in there, where we can do Haiku. HAIKU DUDE!! FIVE SEVEN FIVE!! This way it’s classy – ARTISTIC – and we keep all the blue hairs happy!!

    Tiny hands upon my joystick.
    It feels lovely but I grow hungry.
    Do they serve tuna here?

    I will get you a white paper. Start printing flyers. I will work on talent acquisition.

    You loser.
    Your Pal,

  14. Riverside Scissorhands

    I bid on that building. About 60% of what it ultimately went for, which is the right price. I would be surprised if the building owner beats Treasury returns. Greenwich commercial real estate sucks – it is the ultimate “bigger fool” play.

    • Anonymous

      wow..never would have geussed

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, Greenwich commercial real estate seems like an absolute suckers play. It seems over the past decade the greater fools are those looking for a real estate toy. Good for sellers, bad for buyers.

    • Anonymous

      Most recent cap rates are ridiculous. Return will be decent in a generation or two….

  15. Anonymous

    Walt, you’re a douche….but that was funny…you disturbed ahole

  16. Anonymous

    Replaced Thataway, one of the few family affordable, friendly and comfortable spots, with another Greenwich shishi cookie-cutter. Unlike Thataway, no loss except for the landlord.

  17. Anonymous

    Went in and sat at the bar to have a drink and had hoped to eat there. But the menu was small and completely overpriced, we left after one glass of wine.

  18. JJM

    Primary felt like a subway station, as for Polpo, great ambiance, piano player in the bar and quite good food. Saw John Boehner there once, pretty cool having secret service pretending to be patrons with little clear earpieces dangling.

    • Cos Cobber

      Ah yes, the piano player Polpo….ever been hit up by their ladies at the bar? Let’s just say they have women of the night on the prowl…I didnt stick around to find out the prices.

  19. Greenwich Gal

    I hate Polpo. Over priced noodle house that thinks they’re Le Bernadin. Please.

  20. AJ

    Bring back Manero’s and the Clam Box.

  21. Anon58

    Bottom of the Avenue hasn’t been the same since the days of “Mickey’s” and “Augie’s Downtown”.

  22. D

    Anyone know what the deal was/is with the residential portion of this development? Rental apartments? Condos?

  23. Let’s nominate the Greenwich restaurants we like – it’d be interesting to hear…
    I’ll start with two which Mrs. Balzac and I like:
    Elm St. Oyster House (it’s tiny, it’s cute, the food’s good)
    Applausi in OG (but we don’t get there enough)
    Your thoughts?

    • Cos Cobber

      There are so few I really like.

      Elm Street is a good one. Barcelona used to be good, but its been a long while since I have dropped in. I like Gingerman somewhat. I generally like Rebecca’s too. Wild Ginger is decent for what it is.

      Actually, the best meal I have had in town in a while was at Char in Byram. Fun interior, upscale food, fair portions, very pleasant staff. Could use a few more people in there to up the tempo. I tend to like loud.

      Otherwise, I tend to head to Stamford for dinner…Greenwich is too sleepy.

      • Anonymous

        Char is terrific, agreed. Just crowded enough, but I do hope them continued success.

        Right down the street is that asshole bartali’s place, tarry lodge. I hope he rots in his own pig fat. F’ing hypocrite. Check the lawsuit against him & bastianich for stealing the wages of waiters, skimming tips basically. Between that and calling the entire financial services industry a bunch of nazi’s, well, f him.

      • Riverside Dog Walker

        What restaurants do you like in Stamford?

        Char is a good lead and it gets good reviews on Yelp. Thanks, all, I didn’t know this one.

        One Stamford restaurant we like is Ocha, Thai/Japanese, and good for what it is. Near the Avon Theatre.

        • Anonymous

          Stamford for sushi is Fin2. Hands down.

        • Cos Cobber

          Sorry for the belated response.

          In Stamford – Zaza and Dolce Cubano are fun and yummy for adults.
          With kids, we like Dinosaur BBQ, Coal House Pizza (service here is spotty) and Kona Grill (yes, I know its a chain, but its really affordable and easy).

          I’m sure there are many other solid choices, we just never get to them because we often take the kids with us.

      • Anon58

        Agree on Char. I was there for the first time on Saturday night. Responsive staff, good food at a reasonable price. I’ll be back.

    • Libertarian Advocate

      The now long gone sushi joint that WAS at the corner of Fawcett Place and Greenwich Ave. Just as it started to get noticed and HEAVILY attended, the owner pulled the plug on it. Too bad, they made some EXCELLENT sushi.

    • Anonymous

      Elm St. is GREAT and the owner is a terrific guy.

    • Riverside Chick


  24. Xyzzy

    Thatsways put the Chopping Block out of buisness and I never forgave them for that.

    CB was the best place to eat. Damn

    • GPD Folk

      Bring back Joe C’est Bon, Spadaro’s & The Town House

      • Libertarian Advocate

        Wow! Your avatar is a pissed off four legged “Mr. Hanky” with an antenna on his head. Even worse than my psychotic lobster critter…. CF did you pick the menu of available avatars or is that the default set for this template?

      • Riverside

        Wow, that’s really going back years!!

    • Greenwich resident

      I agree.

      • Greenwich resident

        I mean, I agree about the comment about the Chopping Block, posted by Xzzy on June 20 at 12:18.

  25. AJ Nock

    I agree with the comment about Char.

  26. Anonymous

    Le Penguin

  27. AJ

    I think the restaurant failed because of its name, Primary Food & Drink. What does that mean anyway? Is that like your primary care physician? Did they serve bread and water? Boiled chicken with a Pepsi — extra if you wanted ice? And if you desired anything more, you had to go see a specialist?

    • Foodie

      Bingo AJ. I have real trouble with owners who come up with such stupid restaurant names – tell me its food, and what kind of food. Taco Joes, Clam Box, Dunkin Donuts. That’s how it should be done. Primary not so much.

  28. AJ Nock

    Following Foodie’s advice, they should have named the restaurant “Small Portions, Big Check”.

    • AJ

      I think the “Small Portions, Big Check” are pretty much standard for nouvelle cuisine; usually with some sort of herb jammed into the middle, standing erect like a planted flag and with a light touch of some sort of fancy pants sauce drizzled all over it in artsy fartsy fashion.

      • Foodie

        I can top that. I was recently served chicken with goats milk whey crumbled on the top. I said, what, what did you say that was? It was stupid as hell, tasted like crap, and worst, it cost a fortune.

  29. Flash

    Capeesh in Stamford off the Merritt is spare atmosphere, but I like that clean look, makes me feel the kitchen is clean.
    Agree Char is relaxing spot with good food, easy park.
    Photo spot Rouge hit the dust too. I think Primary and Rouge suffered from parking despair.

  30. Anonymous

    Need to put in a plug for my favorite restaurant in Greenwich – Crew on Railroad Avenue. Has a cozy feel – the food is always GREAT – and you can get full and 1/2 portions of most everything. Very friendly and professional crew (pun intended) running the place.

    • Cos Cobber

      Crew is still good? I liked it years ago….sounds like I need to get back there soon.

    • Always Parking Available

      Crew is great as it’s got more tables empty than full on Sat nights. Great place to go hang but just eat before you go. Maybe park at Crew and eat at O across the street.

      • Anonymous

        Crew food is really good. And it’s a real hands-on atmosphere, as in the owner buses tables and waits on you as well, and takes pride in his place. (Isn’t it a husband-wife duo?) Thinly staffed the last time we were there, but the food is tasty and it has a homey feel. Don’t go there if you want super attentive service at your beck and call. Do go there if you like good live music, have time to kill, and enjoy good food & times with friends/family.

  31. Anonymous

    FYI…the builder/owner of Primary stiffed all of his subcontractors – people are out hundreds of thousands of dollars. He is in trouble.

  32. anon

    What became of the young man who owned the BBQ joint on Railroad? He did so well for a long time, then poof, gone.

    • Anonymous

      He was there a long time – but biz got slow and he moved on. I think he went back to his native Montana.

  33. Anonymous

    @Balzac You can believe us because we’re one of them. Place has been open 6 months on our dime.

  34. Anonymous

    You mean JCS has stiffed its subs?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, exactly. Liens have been filed against the property.

      • Flash

        Ct Case lookup has only 2 for JCS and one is a lady who fell on the sidewalk.
        Interesting that Case lookup now shows you copies of documents.
        You can’t hide anything from public access.

        • Anonymous

          What’s the likelihood of a sub filing a mechanics lien against property owned by a firm like JCS? It’s a nail in coffin in terms of getting any future business. They’ve got a heck of a portfolio of nice properties.

  35. Anonymous

    Are they adopting the Antares business model?

  36. I’ll just have a Joey Bs chili dog.

  37. Anonymous

    Funny. In late may we gave it 3-4 months till closing after eating there one Friday evening. Clueless staff and mediocre food. Hopefully somebody with industry experience will take over. Place has potential.