Main Line Food Review: Frankie’s Fellini Cafe in Berwyn


Courtesy of

Frankie’ Fellini Cafe in Berwyn offers pizza, pasta, meats, salad and more.

Anthony Grasso, Staff Writer

The refreshing smell of bread baking in the oven and parmesan cheese sprinkled in olive oil will greet you as you step into the vestibule at Frankie’s Fellini Café in Berwyn. After walking through the interior door and into the restaurant, you will be welcomed by the jovial smile of owner Frank Chiavaroli, a picturesque gesture of Italian hospitality. Frankie’s is the epitome of a delicious local and family-owned restaurant, where friends gather and everyone is treated like family. 

My first trip to Frankie’s was when my parents came for Parent’s Weekend during my freshman year. We were searching for an Italian restaurant, and Frankie’s came highly recommended by multiple other Villanova parents. From the moment we first walked in, absorbing the lively atmosphere and the colorful array of entrées scattered around the different tables, we knew we  arrived at the right place. The waitress got us set at our table and immediately made us feel welcome into the restaurant “community.” Having seen my dad’s Villanova hat, she asked how my semester was going and what I loved most about Villanova. Despite the fact that nearly every table was full, she took the time to speak with us as if we had arrived at someone’s home for an Italian meal. 

While we were waiting for our food, the owner came over to introduce himself to us and spoke about how he loves welcoming new Villanova students into the restaurant. We asked about the history of the restaurant and his involvement, and he told us that he had been in the business since 1978 and located in Berwyn for approximately 13 years. Chiavaroli drives from South Philadelphia every day to be at the restaurant and prepare his unique, homemade recipes. 

Upon the arrival of our food, the very first taste confirmed that the Italian specialties were really as delicious as they had looked on the tables when we arrived. The Chicken Francese had the perfect trace of lemon to give it a little tang as it melted in my mouth, and the homemade tomato sauce that topped the pasta on the side had a pinch of spice that gave it a powerful aroma and savor. My parents were also extremely impressed with their meals, both the Tagliatelle with Meatballs and the Penne alla Sofia Loren, which includes tomatoes, broccoli and chicken in a blush cream sauce. 

On our way out of the restaurant, our waitress Val told me that I would always be welcome at Frankie’s, a gesture I especially appreciated as a first-semester freshman still getting accustomed to my new home. One Friday evening after we returned from Fall Break, I got on SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line and rode westbound to Frankie’s. The restaurant is located right across the street from the Berwyn station on the Paoli/Thorndale Line, which makes the trip from Villanova to Frankie’s very simple, even if you don’t have a car. I was nervous about how I would be received entering the restaurant by myself, but I was immediately greeted with a handshake from Chiavaroli and a hug from Val. They sat me at the counter, and I had a wonderful conversation with Chiavaroli throughout the entirety of my meal. On the way out, they sent me back to Villanova with delicious pizzelle (an Italian cookie crisp) on the house. I will always be grateful for the hospitality and friendship that all of the staff at Frankie’s have shown me in my visits, whether alone or with my family. 

Before COVID-19, I usually went about one time per month, but I have not done so since the pandemic sent us home last March. I certainly look forward to being able to return to Frankie’s when it is safe for students to do so, and I hope that many Villanovans will also consider doing so. We see the immense hardships that restaurants all across the nation have faced, and I eagerly await the moment when we are permitted to travel and support local restaurants like Frankie’s. I have seen how hard Chiavaroli and his entire staff work to operate such a special establishment, and I encourage everyone to go experience for themselves the delicious food and friendly atmosphere that Frankie’s Fellini Café in Berwyn has to offer.