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JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes Debuts Redesigned Primo, The Second Outpost From Acclaimed Chef Melissa Kelly

September 20, 2021 GMT
JW Marriott Orlando Logo
JW Marriott Orlando Logo
JW Marriott Orlando Logo

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef Melissa Kelly is set to re-open her redesigned second outpost of highly acclaimed Primo Restaurant, focusing on Mediterranean Italian at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes this fall. The Orlando location of Primo mirrors Chef Kelly’s philosophy adopted at the Rockland, Maine location, nothing is wasted – everything has a place and through the Grande Lakes Orlando on premise 7,000 square-foot farm, Chef Kelly has access to the resort’s local fruits, vegetables and herbs garden.

“It is an honor for JW Marriott to partner with Melissa Kelly since 2003 when Grande Lakes Orlando opened. Melissa started farm-to-table before it became a trend, her vision inspired us to build Whisper Creek Farm to enable us to infuse the highest quality ingredients into our dishes. We are thrilled to unveil the new rustic Mediterranean décor.” Jon McGavin, Area General Manager


The inspired menu will heavily focus on the farm-to-table experience with seasonal highlights including produce, honey and eggs sourced from on premise Primo Garden and Whisper Creek Farm in addition to Mick’s Farm and Frog Song Organics in the local community. All seafood is also locally sourced from Florida waters, including clams from Cedar Key, white shrimp and squid from Cape Canaveral, and Snapper, grouper and other seasonal catch from Ponce Inlet. Mountain Trail Farm in Clermont, FL provides Primo with whole pigs, which are prepared several different ways. Primo also has a long-standing relationship with Lake Meadows Naturals in Ocoee, FL for chicken and ducks.

The beverage program was a collaborative effort, using Melissa Kelly’s philosophy and Primo Maine’s wine list as inspiration while utilizing ingredients from the resort’s gardens and farm as well as locally-sourced ingredients for a unique crafted experience. The Primo pastry team in collaboration with the pastry team in Primo Maine and the resort’s pastry chefs oversee the pastry program.


The 215-seat dining room is complete with a 50-seat terrace conceptualized by New York City based interior design and branding studio, Dutch East Design, which has taken on the redesign of the Orlando restaurant and brought forward a completely new layout. The overarching design narrative celebrates Chef Kelly’s Puglian heritage and combines sensibilities within the space. The design brings forth Chef Kelly’s notion of being stewards of the land reinforcing the interconnectedness with what nature offers. Puglia’s textural and tonal architecture is the inspiration for the interiors of Primo. The arrival and bar lounge pays homage to an archetypal Italian courtyard with sweeping archways, decorative screens, and furnishings all within a tone appropriate for an al fresco experience. The palette is influenced by a rustic and handmade quality - a mix of aged copper, tumbled limestone, handmade ceramic tile, terra cotta and troweled plaster creating a sublime tactile experience. The private dining room is nestled in the back of the restaurant and connected by custom arched metal/ribbed glass arched doors.

The bar counter has a glazed brick front and copper top; with a Cle terra cotta tile backdrop and arched niche for the chef counter which gives guests a direct connection with the display and working kitchen. The layout creates a series of dining salons and each is framed with a soft archway and brick threshold and all with grand ceiling heights. Dutch East Design custom designed collections for lighting, seating, screens and case goods all detailed in finishes such as etched ceramic and caning, which allude to the quintessential Italian palette. The terrace is also a celebrated component with a new trellis, drink rails, herb planter boxes and flowering plants cascading overhead all finished in a deep sea blue palette to counterpoint the interior muted palette.

Primo was named one of the top 22 new restaurants of 2000, by Esquire Magazine and has been featured in Gourmet, Wine Spectator, Art Culinaire, Travel + Leisure, Oprah Magazine and many more. Melissa was honored with the 2002 “Golden Whisk” Award from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs for women who demonstrate excellence in the kitchen.

Primo is open September 23, 2021. Reservations are available September 24, 2021. For more information, please visit

For media requests, contact Baltz & Co: Autumn Lewis /

About Grande Lakes Orlando
The 500-acre Grande Lakes Orlando estate features a 582-room Ritz-Carlton and 1,000-room JW Marriott hotel situated at the headwaters of the Florida Everglades. Guests at both hotels can enjoy all the facilities and services at Grande Lakes Orlando, including an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course and the 40,000-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Spa as well as three pools including the winding lazy river at JW Marriott and the new AquaCourse 360 interactive water feature. Experience a wealth of dining options throughout Grande Lakes Orlando, where the cuisine is as diverse as the resort. Twelve outlets to choose from featuring a steak and seafood restaurant, Knife & Spoon led by award-winning chef John Tesar and southern-inspired cuisine at Highball & Harvest. The resort sources ingredients from its on-site apiaries and 18,000-square-foot Whisper Creek Farm.

On-property activities include Grande Lakes Sports Experiences offering kayaking, eco-tours on Shingle Creek, falconry, mountain biking and fishing school. Conference and meeting attendees have their pick of a selection of meeting space options located across 150,000 square feet that connects the two properties plus more than 100,000 square feet of outdoor space.

Grande Lakes is located 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport, five minutes from the Orange County Convention Center and minutes from the major theme parks. Follow Grande Lakes Orlando on Twitter at @RC_Orlando and @JW_Orlando, Instagram @ritzcarltonorlando and jwmorlando and Facebook ritzcarltonorlando and jwmarriottorlando. For more information about Grande Lakes Orlando, visit

About JW Marriott
JW Marriott is part of Marriott International’s luxury portfolio of brands and consists of beautiful properties and distinctive resort locations around the world. The impressive array of award-winning hotels caters to sophisticated, mindful travelers seeking The JW Treatment™ – the brand’s philosophy that true luxury is created by people who are passionate about what they do. These experiences help guests to be fully present, foster connections and feed the soul. Inspired by the principles of mindfulness, JW Marriott is a haven designed to allow guests to focus on feeling whole – present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalized in spirit – through programs and offerings that encourage them to come together, act with intention and experience every moment to the fullest. Today there are over 80 JW Marriott hotels in more than 25 countries and territories. Visit JW Marriott online, and on Instagram and Facebook. JW Marriott is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy™, the new name of Marriott’s travel program replacing Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®(SPG). The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including earning points toward free hotel stays and nights toward Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit

About Dutch East Design
New York-based Dutch East Design was founded by design visionaries Dieter Cartwright, Larah Moravek and William Oberlin, who together bring 30 years of experience in interior design and branding services for hospitality and retail brands. The team is renowned for its multidisciplinary process for each project: By understanding and building visual brand identities, Dutch East Design is able to create a more thoughtful product throughout each design phase -- working collaboratively with owners and operators to bring their unique expressions to life. For more information, visit

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SOURCE Grande Lakes Orlando