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Former Waiter Turned Owner from Italy “Sparks” American Dream


Los Angeles, CA, March 14th, 2005 – Danilo Terribili had an American dream and an all consuming passion for food and art. He came to this country from Viterbo, Italy in 1979, a gold medaled photographer and a professional, world traveled, waiter, but he only spoke Italian. Determined to realize his own dream of having a restaurant, he got a job at an Italian restaurant on Pico Boulevard called Orlando Orsini’s to learn the business from the inside out. Twenty-five years later, this small town Italian boy bought the very restaurant where he began his American career only now they call it Spark Woodfire Grill.

Spark is not Danilo’s first restaurant, however. In 1981, he met and paired with renowned restaurateur Mauro Vincenti at Rex Il Ristorante and over the next decade they would introduce Californian’s to upscale, authentic Italian cuisine. Mauro became Danilo’s mentor and eventually his closest friend. They shared a deep love for Italian food and wine. “Italians are always cooking,” Danilo said recently, “My mother, my father, my grandmother, my grandfather, were all great cooks.” Sadly, Mauro passed away 1996, leaving Danilo at the helm of Alto Palato, one of the most prestigious restaurants in Los Angeles - known for its authentic Italian cuisine.

Danilo soon earned critical acclaim and became respected in the food world with Alto Palato Trattoria (Los Angeles, Ca), Dada (Viterbo, Italy), Spark Woodfire Grill (Studio City, Ca) and Spark Woodfire Grill (Huntington Beach, Ca). Along with partners Bill Chait and Jeff Sladicka, Danilo has created a restaurant that reflects both Italian and American cuisines, focusing on Mesquite and Oak wood fire grilling and rotisserie. The restaurant excels at thin-crusted pizza, wood fired in a 1200 degree oven, grilled steaks and seafood, slow roasted baby back ribs and Italian herb rubbed rotisserie chicken. Danilo’s genuine enthusiasm for art is reflected in his own photographs, which hang at all of his restaurants. Check out some more of his work at

Danilo Terribili has truly come full circle. It has been a long road, but he is proud that Spark Woodfire Grill (Pico Blvd.) inhabits the original restaurant space where he first found employment in America.


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