Primo Pizza | Wayne, NJ
A few years ago, our favorite Italian restaurant changed owners, so we started to research a new location.
A google search provided a list of Italian restaurants: large dining rooms with busy waitstaff, small mom-and-pop pizzerias on Main Street, and more.
Where we ended up, is Primo Pizza Wayne on Hamburg Turnpike in NJ.
Primo Pizza | Evolving into a local gem
What I love about visiting a local restaurant is seeing their gradual changes over time.
When we first tried Primo Pizza, the interior had old-school booths in rows. The walls were a light tan, and only a few employees worked behind the counter.
Nearly four years later, Primo Pizza has completely updated their interior design and grown their menu and team.
Updating to tables was a complete re-vamp for Primo Pizza. The classic, dark-wood furniture includes high-top tables (featured above) or standard tables for 4-6+. The large space allows you to push tables together to accommodate large groups.
We are fond of taking the round table in the corner that looks out across the entire restaurant.
Caesar, the owner of Primo Pizza, also added new sconces, fresh paint, ceiling tiles and more, to modernize the space.
The most recent update to Primo Pizza is the gorgeous new counter-top and stone front. A glass case now features traditional, Italian desserts, while new blue pendant lights dangle over the counter.
They also have a self-serving soda machine. For a flat rate, you get a cup and can go to the fountain for soda, seltzer, tea or lemonade, as often as you like.
The Italians Order "Family Style"
When we go out to eat as a family, we like to order many appetizers or entrees and share. This allows everyone to try parts of each dish.
We now have a routine for ordering at Primo which includes the following:
Garlic Knots (6) | $2.50
Every good Italian meal starts with the bread.
Normally, you receive a basket of fresh Italian bread with butter for your table. We usually save this bread for dipping in sauce.
The second "bread course" we order is the garlic knots. They are always spectacular: fresh, seasoned, and coated in garlic.
Fried Calamari (Large) | $9.95
We order a large calamari (pronounced, like the Jersey Italians CALL-A-MAR or CALL-A-MOD), with extra sweet sauce.
The calamari is always tender, and is a large portion for such a reasonable price! We've never been disappointed in the quality.
BBQ Chicken Wings (12 pieces) | $9.00
Chicken wings at a pizza place? Yes, it was a strange idea at first to me too. But let me tell you, these are delicious.
We order our chicken wings extra crispy, so when they're coated in the sauce, they maintain some crunch. Despite an extra minute or two in the fryer, these wings are still juicy on the inside. Served with celery and blue cheese dipping sauce.
Mussels (Sweet Sauce) | $9.95
In any restaurant, ordering mussels can be hit-or-miss. At Primo's, they're consistently perfect.
If you don't eat seafood, this is what makes a great bowl of mussels:
- Not overcooked: The mussels should be tender, not chewy. They should easily pull away from their shell.
- No grit: If the mussels are properly cleaned, it won't be like eating sand.
- Shells intact: Just as bad as eating grit is cracking your tooth on a chunk of the shell. Great restaurants make sure not to smash or crack the mussels as they cook and serve.
One of the ways that Primo's mussels are so flavorful, is that they remove the top shell, which allows the sauce to cook and coat each mussel.
Empanadas | Special
One of the special appetizers Caesar makes are these empanada inspired pockets. They are filled with shredded chicken, beef, or spinach and feta. Heated and served with a side of oil and spices.
Pizza For Dinner
Pizza, if done correctly, is as amazing as an entree.
While we have tried many of Primo Pizza's amazing entrees, true to their name, I'm going to focus on the pizza.
Caesar is a pizza expert. He is always willing to try new ingredients and combinations on his pizzas. This is perfect for my family and I because we like to try unique pairings.
Click to view Gallery
When we order pizza we ask for the following:
- Thinner crust, well-done
- Extra (sweet) sauce, less cheese
- Extra garlic
The toppings we order for our pizza depends on the type of pie we want to create. At Primo we've had:
- Eggplant and balsamic
- Cheese & Anchovies
- Sautéed Onion & Sausage
- BBQ Chicken & Bacon
- "Salad" Pizza
- White Pizza with Broccoli or Spinach
- And various combinations of the above
My Favorite Pizza
White Pizza with Spinach | $19.00 + extra toppings
I adore white pizza. I could eat it every day; the creamy ricotta and fresh spinach are amazing.
But to really put it over the top, we add sautéed onions, garlic, and breaded chicken to it. Despite being a white pizza (sauceless), I like to get a side of sweet sauce and drizzle spoonfuls here and there.
With all of these toppings, one slice is enough for dinner. I highly recommend trying this pizza, or being creative and making your own!
You Can't Leave Without Dessert
I personally don't think a meal is complete without having dessert. No matter what, we finish our wine and have a cappuccino to close the meal.
What's New | Gelato
This past year, Caesar has added Gelato to the dessert menu, with new flavors added every so often. My favorites include:
- Espresso Chip -- because why not have coffee-flavored gelato? The best part is the chocolate-coated espresso beans throughout.
- Cannoli -- flecks of vanilla flavor, cannoli is mellow and sweet.
- Cookies and Cream -- rich and simple.
- Amaretto -- delicious, I like to combine amaretto with cannoli.
I'm not sure about the prices for Primo's desserts. I believe most of the desserts range from $2.50-$5.50+. Some desserts are available as specials and not always presented on the menu.
For the gelato, there are both small and large cups. I can have a "kiddie" sized cup and feel full since the gelato is so rich. If you don't finish your dessert, you can always get a travel lid, and take it home.
What I love best about this cheesecake is that it's New York style. It's light, creamy, and savory-sweet. Paired with a cappuccino is the best.
What Italian restaurant doesn't offer zeppole? Pizza-dough fried and tossed in powder sugar, with a side of warm Nutella. This is a cozy dessert which is good to share with groups.
Another Italian classic to offer for dessert, I believe a plastic container of cannolis is $5.00.
Do You Have a Favorite Italian Restaurant?
Supporting local businesses is important to me.
Now that my family and I have found Primo Pizza, it's hard to look anywhere else when it comes to getting a fantastic Italian meal, without breaking the bank.
Do you have a favorite Italian restaurant? Or dish? Tell me about it in the comments!