New eatery coming into Macomb Township

By: Thomas Franz, | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published August 31, 2016

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The owners of upscale J. Baldwin’s Restaurant in Clinton Township are expanding their business ventures into Macomb Township.

Jeff and Rose Baldwin will be opening Testa Barra, an establishment rooted in Italian cuisine, this February. The co-owners appeared before the Macomb Township Board of Trustees Aug. 24 to obtain pre-approval for a liquor license, which they successfully received.

“We know this is going to be a great destination and give this demographic and area a choice of a great eatery like J. Baldwin’s, but with an Italian flavor, north of Hall Road,” Rose Baldwin said.

Testa Barra is expected to open this upcoming February at the intersection of 22 Mile Road and Romeo Plank. Baldwin said work is underway to remodel a building they began leasing in July.

The atmosphere and style of Testa Barra are expected to be geared toward younger professionals and younger families, Baldwin said. Pricing for meals will be at a more casual level than that of J. Baldwin’s.

The restaurant will be 5,600 square feet and feature an enclosed patio area, along with 20 bar seats, a lounge area and a dining room. A private room for seating up to 75 people will also be available.

Baldwin said homemade pasta and hand-tossed pizzas will be staples of the Testa Barra menu.

“We’re using farm-to-table ingredients. We’re going to be purchasing from the local farmers and really engaging ourselves and strengthening our position in the community. We’re very much about local purchases and building a stronger community,” Baldwin said.

Aside from having ingredients nearby, Baldwin said she and her husband are expanding their ventures into Macomb Township because it is the home for the bulk of their customers at J. Baldwin’s.

“Our No. 1 zip code for J Baldwin’s is the Macomb Township area, and we wanted to truly give the Macomb Township area a great culinary experience-based restaurant in their neighborhood,” Baldwin said. “It’s really a decision of community.”

Baldwin said heading north of Hall Road was also key in expanding into the township.

“Right now, J Baldwin’s is truly a destination-based restaurant. We’re off the main road; 18 Mile stops near J. Baldwin’s,” Baldwin said. “Being on a busy street was not our desire — people will find you if you’re worth being found.”

Macomb Township Supervisor Janet Dunn expressed optimism for the new restaurant due to residents’ desire for more dining and entertainment options locally.

“I think people that live here are starving for entertainment. I think our Parks and Rec Department does a really good job, but this is a little bit different. This is like a date night out for married or dating couples, and I think a nice restaurant is a great addition to our township, because now it will be a destination rather than just a place to call home,” Dunn said.

Dunn also said the stability of the township is making it attractive to new businesses.

“We have money in the bank. We have some of the best facilities in the whole county — people are envious of us — so I think people are looking for a restaurant like this, that is for a little more affluent clientele, and I think it’s going to be something people have been looking for,” Dunn said. “It will be practically right in their backyard. I think this is a win-win for everyone.”