Derrick Wheeler's background is in business and engineering. He also owns a software-development company, Bleu Solutions, based in West Chester.
But he's had the desire to own a fine-dining restaurant, and he's solved that by opening Vella, a northern Mediterreanean BYOB, taking the former Freskada space in the Main Street at Exton Town Center (120 Woodcutter St., Exton, 610-524-3334). He's actually getting into the management side with an assist from Kathleen Devine, a 30-year dining veteran.
Designer Joseph D’Ambro - whose resume includes Alba in Malvern, Sovana in Unionville and Talula's Table in Kennett Square - installed a rustic, old world look with distressed furnishings.
Wheeler hired chef Ehud Mekler from Florida to work with Freskada's former chef, Alessandro Spaneeda.They offer flatbreads and pizzas from a wood-fired oven; top entree price is paella for $26.