Il Primo Restaurant Announces Grand Opening Of New Location In Ooltewah

Monday, October 9, 2017

Il Primo, an Italian neighborhood restaurant in North Chattanooga, announces the opening event of a second restaurant location in Cambridge Square, Ooltewah on Friday, Oct. 20, from 5-10 p.m. 

Il Primo was conceived by owner, Nathan Lindley, who dreamed of opening a restaurant that would be part of its neighbor’s lives; a place to celebrate special occasions and a meal with family and friends. Taking inspiration from the small, family-run Italian restaurants nestled in neighborhood cities of the Northeast, Nathan began developing a concept and menu that would mimic the timeless feel that makes such restaurants endearing. Within a year of opening, guests would comment that they felt that Il Primo “had always been there,” referring to the look and feel of the restaurant and its place in their daily lives.
While the name Il Primo, which translates to “The First,” may not have implied a second location when it initially opened doors in the old Greenlife Grocery building in Spring of 2014 – the restaurant’s success led developers to pursue Il Primo as an anchor for their neighborhoods and led management to consider embracing another community. 

The new location will be led by the same group that created the original, Owner Nathan Lindley, Managing Partner Josh Nason, and Chef Oscar Ixcoit. Joining them are Chef Paul Rogers and General Manager Dan Potter. Chef Paul joined Il Primo in February from Charleston, S.C. and has been working to master the scratch recipes and plate execution of the original location. Mr. Potter, a 20 year culinary veteran of the Chattanooga restaurant scene, brings a familiar face and welcoming hospitality to the new culinary venture.

Celebrating the simplicity of classic Italian cooking married with the prosperity of America, the American-Italian menu will offer the same dishes as the original Northshore restaurant. All sauces and dressings are made in-house each day and complete dishes that are sourced and prepared. Guests at the new Il Primo location will find favorites such as Lasagna Bolognese, Chicken Picatta, Pork Scallopini and Dry Aged Meatballs, as well as the dishes on the menu that rotate with each season, such as Sautéed Scallops with Butternut Squash Risotto and Mushroom Ravioli. Nightly specials, such as Eggplant Parmesan, Lobster Risotto and Chicken Carbonara are popular favorites and draw regular, weekly diners. The bar program includes a house-made limoncello and a wine list that focuses on fine American and Italian wines, ranging a broad spectrum of varietals and prices. 

Il Primo Restaurant in Ooltewah is on the corner of Cambridge square, in a newly-built building designed by Michael McGowan of River Street Architecture. The building design is classic and timeless, with several design elements that pay homage to the Bottega Favorita building in Birmingham, Al. where owner and restaurateur, Mr. Lindley spent his formative restaurant years. Taking inspiration from the original Il Primo, carefully chosen fixtures and furniture create a sense of comfort and permanence. The space includes indoor seating for 110 guests, with additional outdoor seating for 36 on a patio that includes a bocce court. 

Il Primo Restaurant will serve dinner, Monday through Thursday from 5-9 p.m. and from 5-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.  The bar at Il Primo will open each day at 4 p.m., featuring happy hour specials from 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

While maintaining the spirit of the casual, neighborhood walk up system of the original Primo, Il primo Cambridge will accept reservations for parties up to 12 guests at one third of the tables. The remaining tables will be kept for guests who choose to just walk in or call to be placed on the wait list before their arrival. Guests may make reservations by calling the restaurant at 498-1300 between the hours of 2-5 p.m. Shortly after the opening date, online reservations will be made available as well. For food and wine menus, pricing, catering, take and bake, and daily specials, visit the website at

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