Primo Middletown steakhouse gets $200,000 forgivable loan to open in town

Schulte said the $1 million payroll was “pretty high caliber” and more in line with industrial businesses than restaurants. He said that to hit that payroll, the restaurant would need 25 employees earning $40,000 a year.

Primo is authorized to use the loan for expenses incurred to purchase furniture, fixtures, equipment and other similar tangible personal property for use at the Middletown location, according to city documents.

The loan can be drawn by Primo at any time during the disbursement period by submitting a drawdown request to the city. The initial financing expense will be partially offset by new tax revenue over the life of the loan term as long as Prime meets its annual payroll thresholds, according to city documents.

In the event of a payroll shortfall, the 4% interest rate charged will not be forgiven and this additional proceeds will be used to compensate for the shortfalls. The loan will also be secured by assets purchased with the loan proceeds.

Jay and Linda Moorman, owners of the downtown building that also houses BeauVerre Riordan stained glass studios, attended Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Jay Moorman said he’s excited about the prospects of another downtown restaurant opening.

“That’s all I ever wanted,” Jay Moorman said. “I built it for an upscale restaurant.”

Several restaurants have opened and closed in the space, but Moorman believes Primo Middletown will succeed thanks to the owner’s commitment to food quality and customer service.

“I’m sold,” said Moorman, who added that the restaurant could open in three months.

He said Nelson Castillo, owner of Primo Middletown, signed a 10-year lease with an option to buy the building.

Schulte said the owner hopes to work with culinary students at Butler Tech and the Warren County Career Center.

Lolli said 60% of restaurants fail within the first year and 80% within five years. But he trusts Primo Middletown.

“They know how to operate,” he said.

Castillo said the restaurant will be open for brunch and dinner and will offer steaks, seafood and a wide selection of wines.

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