Coming to the United States with little money and no English skills, Samir Grahovic’s work ethic and tenacity came together to establish the highly successful Primo Restaurant at 4699 S. Highland Dr., proving that the American dream is alive and well.
“I remember hearing stories about America during the war,” says Grahovic. “I never dreamed it was everything they said it was going to be.”
Grahovic was 25 years old when he fought on the front lines during The Croatian War of Independence.
Two years later, Grahovic was rescued by the United Nations Protection Force and brought to America.
“They provided me with a sponsor and gave me $20,” Grahovic said. “I didn’t know English, I couldn’t even read a map to find my way around or anything.”
Grahovic started working as a dishwasher for a local restaurant that was within walking distance of his house. Every day, he would walk to and from work while reading an English dictionary, trying to make sense out of his new world.
After working as a dishwasher for three years and slowly learning the English language, Grahovic was promoted to a busser/server position and was able to interact with customers.
The promotion allowed Grahovic to earn and save more money, and on Jan. 2, 2001, he became the owner of Primo Restaurant.
Primo Restaurant grew faster than Grahovic could have ever imagined. He found himself having to turn customers away due to lack of space, which didn’t sit well with him.
Shortly after Grahovic took ownership of Primo, he decided it was time for a space that could accommodate his growing clientele. Grahovic established a great rapport over the years with long-time customer, Don Skaggs, a local billionaire entrepreneur, who frequently dines at Primo.
Skaggs took interest in Grahovic’s story and consistently noticed his impeccable work ethic. This encouraged Skaggs to take a chance on Grahovic by financing a multi-million dollar build-out for a new and improved Primo Restaurant, with the capacity of seating 225 people.
“I’ve employed thousands of people throughout my career, and I’ve yet to meet anyone with the same work ethic and humility as Grahovic,” says Skaggs.
Primo Restaurant has now grown into one of Utah’s finest and most reputable, fine-dining establishments. With five-stars across the board, Primo Restaurant is definitely worth your time.