Fearless Restaurants originally planned to launch another Rosalie, the successful Wayne-based eatery, at the end of 2023. Instead, the team decided to shake things up and, at the final hour, announced an entirely fresh concept: Testa Rossa. Translated as “redhead” in Italian, Glen Mills’ next entry from Fearless Restaurants will offer Italian-American cuisine in a fun, casual setting.
Fearless founder Marty Grims and his daughter, co-director Sydney Grims, have developed a prestige for delivering neighborhood favorites. In the past few years, they have introduced several eateries across the Main Line, Philadelphia region and Long Beach Island—White Dog Cafe, Louie Louie, Autograph Brasserie, Rosalie and Daddy O Restaurant & Hotel.
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Testa Rossa is to reclaim the iconic Ruby’s Diner building in Glen Mills. Stokes Architecture + Design leads the revamp and, once the doors swing open this summer, there will be a capacity to seat over 180 diners indoors, with plush booths and an elegant central bar, as well as 100 seats outside on a patio. Guests can expect to eat amidst a playful color scheme and 1960s-inspired bold design.
Marty Grims previously shared, “You either grow or die in this business. But it’s very important to grow responsibly,” summing up his group’s philosophy regarding the expansion to any new site. Testa Rossa will uphold the culinary standards of Rosalie and serve authentic Italian food of freshly made pasta, wood-fired pizzas, locally sourced seasonal ingredients, specialty cocktails and an extensive Italian wine list.
At the helm, ensuring this signature quality is carried over, is Merick Devine, who oversees the kitchen at Rosalie. Devine explained how the menu at Testa Rossa will be more casual than Rosalie’s, but he’ll serve some familiar crowd-pleasers, too.
“There will be regional classics, elevated Italian-American familiars, and a few dishes that land somewhere in between,” says Devine. “For snacks and apps, there’ll be selections of salumi, Italian meat products (some brought in, some made in-house) and salads. Meat, fish and vegetables will be simplistic, emphasizing product sourcing and cooking.” And he advises diners to “save room for dessert, which will include gelato, pizzelle cones, Chinotto floats and pistachio milkshakes.”
Devine has a long track record of culinary excellence. He displayed his talents at Frasca Food & Wine in Colorado for over six years, where the restaurant gained two nominations for the prestigious James Beard “Outstanding Restaurant” award during his tenure. Though trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Devine accredits his motivation for cooking from a love of making pasta while traveling through Italy and working at restaurants across the European country, including La Subida in Friuli Venezia Giulia, which holds one Michelin star.
“I don’t have a romantic story about sitting around my Italian grandma’s stove and watching her stare deeply into a pot of ragu. That’s not how my passion for Italian cooking started,” Devine says. “I wasn’t the guy who always knew he was destined to be a chef. I never even really liked to cook. But what I liked to do, was eat. I was very fortunate growing up that I had an amazing family that valued time together and always placed importance on it. It wasn’t until college that I started buying cookbooks instead of textbooks. I started skipping class to test new recipes and practice sharpening a knife. It was during this time that my career and path was ignited.”
The decision to pivot away from opening another Rosalie in the Glen Mills location to creating an original restaurant became clear after learning more about the area and its demographics, explained Sydney Grims to Delco.Today: “We feel as though the area had a void for a fun, vibrant Italian-American restaurant, and we wanted to fill that void.”
Fearless isn’t in the business of opening similar eateries again and again; they mean it when they say they want to grow responsibly and deliver varied restaurants with distinct personalities at each locale.
Slow and steady wins the race.
The team’s primary goal, as always, is to ensure they deliver another classic. Coming summer of 2024, we have no doubt that Testa Rossa will be precisely on time.