Reminiscent of Mercato Centrale in Rome and Eataly in New York City, Primo Mercato is redefining the eating experience with a new fun and exciting concept within the Mall at Short Hill in Short Hills, New Jersey. It is an authentic Italian food court with a chic modern twist. Guests will find open kitchens where chefs prepare a wide range of Italian specialties within a grand open space that is both cheery and inviting. Spend a moment to walk around and take in the different offerings available at the numerous creative stations. Each one offers authentic Italian cuisine and there is also a full-service wine and liquor bar, right in the center of this 17,000 square foot space.
The businessman behind Primo Mercato is Milan-born, Andrea Ussia. After beginning his career in the restaurant world, Mr. Ussia conquered challenge after challenge, propelling the companies that he worked with to new heights of brand awareness through both innovative marketing, while delivering quality and value. The food and hospitality industry can be a fickle environment, but if you bring to the consumer a better experience, they will be loyal, provided you always hold up your end of the bargain. Mr. Ussia is a proven master at holding up his end of the deal, following his vision from conception to opening and sustained operations. He is the CEO of Mercato Centrale SRL, a company that is in charge of the support and development of new Italian Food Courts opening outside of Italy.
Previously, Mr. Ussia had been the Director of Operations for Eclub International, one of Italy’s most important hospitality companies. In his role, he developed Mercato Centrale, the successful Italian Food Court located in the center of Florence. He then developed Campi Bisenzio in Rome, at the Termini train station, with additional projected openings in Turin and Milan next year.
More than a purveyor of Italian food and wine, Primo Mercato is committed to promoting the values of the community. The mercato is deeply entrenched within the Italian culture. Priced to accommodate all budgets and tastes, Primo Mercato is a comfortable place to gather with friends and colleagues for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a true Italian aperitivo. The areas within the food court include La Pasta, which features handmade pasta, freshly butchered and Italian cured meats, premium seafood, gourmet cheeses, a salad bar and fresh baked deli products. Pizza and Grill offers Neapolitan-inspired pizza, perfect for an informal lunch or a quick stop while shopping. Primo Caffé has all of the products of an Italian caffé – cappuccino and espresso, plus other specialties and breads – all freshly baked on premise. Il Gelato not only offers the rich Italian ice cream reflected in its name, but also has authentic Italian pastries and a chocolate fountain. The food court area is spacious and open, allowing guests to feel like they are in an Italian piazza, while shopping at the mall.
Included in the large food court is an enclosed, lovely restaurant where a fine dining experience awaits you at Osteria da Primo, Primo Mercato’s formal restaurant. Skillfully and creatively decorated to create casual Italian ambience, it has the feel and flavor of a walk through Piazza San Marco in Venice or Piazza Navona in Rome. You will also want to note that Osteria da Primo is open until 11:00 pm weekdays and midnight on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant has its own separate entrance (next to Bloomindales), so you can access the parking lot after the mall closes.
Executive Chef Andrea Zanin oversees the Osteria. He is a world-renowned pastry chef whose awards include first place for his “Panettone Salato Gastronomico” and first place for his traditional “Colomba.” Andrea has garnered praise on three continents for his ambitious and creative restaurant concepts, as indicated by his award for the new products research and technical innovation during the “Accademia Maestri Pasticceri Italiana.” From his home city of Venice, to the countries of Europe, he has expanded his vision of exceptional, yet accessible Italian cuisine with great success. Having established restaurants in China, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and of course, the United States, Chef Zanin’s presence, knowledge and skills are brought to the forefront to ensure that each guest’s dining experience, whether it is a pastry or a full-course gourmet meal, will have the authenticity of ingredients, quality and tastes that have made him a legend in Italy.
Patrons find Osteria da Primo to be an immersive experience, with a seasonal gourmet menu that is ideal for dinner, as well as special celebrations or a business lunch. The 100-seat dining room is a culinary oasis for guests, where the attentive wait staff will guide you through the menu of traditional Italian dishes, while Osteria da Primo’s comprehensive wine list showcases the beautiful diversity of Italy’s 20 regions.
The Mall at Short Hills is located at 1200 Morris Turnpike in Short Hills, New Jersey. And remember to use their entrance from the parking lot to extend your stay past the closing of the Mall.