Editor Insights: Feeling Like Part of Chef Ercans Urban Prime Tribe
For someone who has lived a life of not going out much (and being totally ok with that), I have to admit I have come to truly love going out to Urban Prime, the new market, restaurant and social destination in Viera.
My Urban Prime story begins in 2022, when my daughter, Ella Grace Helton, and I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Ercan Ekinci when he prepared the tastiest pulled pork for lunch at the Suntree United Methodist Christmas Bazaar. Ella had insisted on ordering food for us on her own, and he left the kitchen to come over to tell me how kind, polite and mature she was.
Chef handed me a business card that read Urban Prime, and said it was coming.
In the months that followed, I noticed social media posts planting seeds and building excitement. And while just the day before this article published Chef talked about Urban Prime blossoming “into an unparalleled cultural melting pot of greatness,” he’s already there.
We had no way of knowing at that first meeting how many more times Chef would come out of the kitchen and talk to us — and every other patron at his vision-come-to-life Urban Prime.
We initially went to try the food. On the market side, from the produce and food staples to the seafood and sushi, from prepared meals and salads to the pastries (oh that dreamy pastry counter…) not only were our taste buds happy, but the greetings, kindness and smiles from the people preparing and serving the food built an invisible bridge of positivity. Or I might as well call it magnetism. Because we keep going back.
Chef is the mastermind of connection, understanding that sharing on social media a bit of personality and backstory of each staff member makes them recognizable, trusted and familiar. And where are we humans most comfortable? Somewhere familiar.
“When I started my dream of the Urban Prime concept, I wanted to create a safe space where guests can get a sense of community while having something to enjoy on every level,” Chef said.
And he’s already turned his monthly calendar into an entertainment and fundraising palooza. He hosts the monthly Prime Art Festival, monthly Yappy Hour, cigar and bourbon nights, fundraisers and much more. This February, you can celebrate the Super Bowl with a retired pro NFL player. The live musicians have been spectacular — you know it’s good when people make their own dance floor on the pavement by the fire pits.
Food as art
On the restaurant side, the food is presented as works of art. Presentation and taste elevated. Speaking of works of art, I’m grateful to both the Brevard Cultural Alliance and Chef for welcoming Ella into your community of artists. She instantly became part of the Urban Prime family when she was invited to be among the first artists to have original work on the new walls. See, Chef is not only an artist with food, he’s also a visual artist and photographer. Some of his own art adorns the walls.
“I am very lucky and grateful to have had the opportunities that I was given to make my dream come true. As a lover of the arts, I wanted to find a way to incorporate that into my concept from day one and find a way to support local artists,” Chef said.
Urban Prime hosts Brevard Cultural Alliance artists’ work throughout the building. And various artists put on live demos and mingle at the monthly Prime Art Festivals. For the second such festival on Jan. 31, Ella did a live demo, working on a pastel painting, while quilting artist Kestrel Michaud sewed up some magic and Gina Hulse did live painting. At the first festival, local legend Derek Gores let patrons tear magazine pages for him to use in a collage he worked on live, while a sculptor carved across the aisle.
“(Displaying artists’ work and the festivals) helped me create an environment where guests could enjoy art, music, food, community, and so much more in one location, creating a new lifestyle to bring all different cultures together under one roof here in the heart of Town Center,” Chef said.
Chef made reference to “Prime Time lifestyle,” an existence where we support — each other, as well as local charities — connect and thrive. And he wants that for his staff, as well as his patrons.
“One of my long-term goals is to create and grow a safe environment for my employees and my purveyors to build local roots and take the Urban Prime brand to the next level,” he said. “People from all walks of life enjoy the space we have created here and it goes to show that we have something for everyone to indulge in right here at Urban Prime!”
I’m thrilled you have welcomed and nurtured my artist child, and I’m at peace knowing I’ve found a place where I feel at home when I actually leave home (for reasons other than driving the kid around).
See you by the fire pit.
2435 Metfield Drive
Melbourne, Florida 32940