MARTINS FERRY Primo's Italian Carryout has been open in Martins Ferry for a little more than a week.
Judging from the foot traffic and sales the new business has experienced since its opening Nov. 22, the citizens of Martins Ferry have already grown to like Primo's.
The same can be said of its owners' fondness for his adopted town and its customers.
T-L Photo/MIKE HUGHES
PRIMO DICARLO has opened the new Primo’s Italian Carryout on Hanover Street in Martins Ferry in the former Zontini’s Pizza location. His family is known for pizza, as is the location, but pizza is not on the menu. Homemade meatball and sausage sandwiches, as well as other signature creations, are making a splash as Primo begins a new tradition in local Italian cuisine.
''I'm amazed at the town because the people are so nice. It's a welcoming community and I'm happy to be here," said Primo DiCarlo, the owner and operator of Primo's Italian Carryout, located in the former Zontini's Pizza Shop on Hanover St.
And yes, he's from that DiCarlo family.
A recent graduate of Franciscan University, Primo grew up working in the family business at the Adams Street location in Steubenville.
But that's about as close to pizza as you'll find at his shop. That's why the sign reads Primo's first name and not his last.
He wants to make a name for himself with his own set of menu items. None of which is pizza.
"Dicarlo's is a big valley tradition. I wanted to make my own tradition and go out on my own and do something different,'' Primo said.
The menu is far from extensive, but each dish served is carefully crafted to ensure taste and satisfaction from his customers.
Primo's offers two types of sandwiches, a meatball and sausage-patty style sandwich.
The meatballs are made fresh daily at Primo's with his own recipe.
The sausage is purchased from a local shop in Steubenville and seasoned with Primo's own blend. It comes in either hot or mild and came be served with provolone, along with sweet red and green peppers.
A generous portion of penne pasta is available with a meatball and a breadstick.
Four types of salad are also offered, including: Antipasto, tossed salad, chicken salad and a side garden salad.
Primo says he's content with his menu for now. He may try a few different items out on a temporary basis to see what the public is interested in. If it sells, it may become a permanent fixture. If not, it won't. He's trying to keep his menu simple and making available only what's popular. That way, he can keep his costs - and in turn, the overall price for the consumer - as affordable as possible.
"I'm just interested in serving what people like,'' Primo said. "It it doesn't sell, we'll take it off the menu. I want to be able to offer good food at good prices that people like.''
Primo's is open Monday through Saturday. During the weekday, the store open at 11 a.m. It will close later in the evening after everything is sold out, usually between 8-9 p.m.
Saturday hours are up in the air at the moment.
"That first Saturday we were open, it was slow the first couple of hours between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and then once it hit 3 p.m., we were swamped,'' Primo said. "So Saturday is still up in the air. After a few weeks we'll have a better answer on our exact hours.
"But we will keep going until we sell out."
Customers will also notice varying items available on the counter daily, ranging from calzones to pepperoni rolls and cookies. It will depend on the day.
"Every day we want to have some type of baked goods for sale,'' Primo explained. "I just want to offer good products at low prices that everyone can afford."
Primo's is located at 409 Hanover St. It can be reached by calling (740) 633-0670.
Hughes may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.