February 21, 2018
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  • Primo Pasta owners Bill Shoe and Eric Schlueter have a passion for pasta that is seen in both their daily operations and community outreach initiatives.
    Primo Pasta owners Bill Shoe and Eric Schlueter have a passion for pasta that is seen in both their daily operations and community outreach initiatives.

Primo Pasta Kitchen Cooks And Cares For The Community

Gracie Fairfax
Gracie Fairfax's picture
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August 22, 2017

When Primo Pasta Kitchen opened in 2013, owner Eric Schlueter had a vision to bring the upscale dining experience he was accustomed to into a casual, family-friendly environment. Four years in, the staff has achieved that goal.

Primo Pasta’s building was formerly Seaside Restaurant and Crab House. The owners of Seaside, Dave Snyder and Vern Martin, wanted to transform the building into an Italian restaurant and partnered with Schlueter to make their vision a reality. While Snyder and Martin still hold partial ownership of the Primo Pasta establishment, their day-to-day focus is their longstanding Seaside location in Glen Burnie. Schlueter and Bill Shoe, who was promoted from general manager to Primo Pasta business partner in late 2015, spend their days in the ‘Dena at Primo. “They kind of stick to crabs and let us stick to pasta,” Shoe said of the other owners.

Schlueter and Shoe’s passion for food is clearly seen in the hard work put into each one of their specials and in ensuring the standard menu items are done well each time. One of their best-loved standard menu items and a favorite of Shoe’s is the seafood alfredo. “The only thing we sell more of than that is iced tea,” Shoe added.

As Primo has built its presence in the community, staff members have found many opportunities to give back, such as during the Baltimore riots in 2015. Primo Pasta Kitchen organized a food drive to express its appreciation for police and the National Guard; staff rallied the participation of a variety of restaurants throughout the Severna Park and Pasadena areas to join them in the efforts that have since become an annual tradition. In the inaugural food drive, they loaded a semi-trailer’s worth of food and were led by a police escort to deliver food to those patrolling the riots. Primo Pasta now combines the food drive with a fundraiser for the 100 Club of Anne Arundel County, a Pasadena-based organization that cares for the families of both police officers and emergency medical personnel killed in the line of duty, as a part of honor week. For its fundraiser, the restaurant put aside a portion of a week’s worth of sales and donated that money to the 100 Club. During the 2016-2017 school year, Shoe worked with Northeast High School’s signature program coordinator, Brandi Dorsey, to deliver a cooking class focused on preparing healthy, budget-friendly meals to many Northeast High School parents. Shoe also conceived the idea of using Sundays to prepare an item that can be used in meals for the rest of the week, so each meal included bruschetta. Primo provided the food needed to cook the dishes and sent everyone home with a container of bruschetta from Primo. Lauer’s joined the partnership by providing bags of food for families to take home and cook with.

“He really went well above and beyond what I ever expected a business partner would do,” Dorsey said of Shoe. “He created a menu. He proposed that to the principal [Jason Williams] and me. He had everything thought out to every logistic, every calorie to each meal. He put a package together that was phenomenal.”

On September 27, Shoe will be recognized at the superintendent’s breakfast with an award for the Business Partner of the Year for Northeast High School.

When they’re not out serving the community, Schlueter and Shoe are at the restaurant, running the daily operations and putting on special events. On September 10, Primo will hold a Sunday brunch and happy hour as a part of an all-day National Football League kickoff event. Primo holds a monthly brunch except during the summer months when it takes a brief hiatus. On October 14, Primo is hosting a family fun festival that will include games and activities for all ages.

As time goes on and room for growth may arise, Schlueter and Shoe want to keep their perspective in check.

“We’re always looking out for intriguing opportunities,” Schlueter said, “but we don’t want to lose sight of what it took to grow this location and maintain it.”

Primo Pasta Kitchen is located at 8557 Fort Smallwood Road. Additional information can be found by visiting www.primopastakitchen.com, browsing the “Primo Pasta Kitchen” Facebook page or by calling the restaurant at 410-360-2211.

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