Mandola’s opens second location in Tampa

Mandolas Italian Kitchen has opened in Carrollwood, at 14703 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.

It’s the second location and follows the successful opening of Florida’s first-ever location in Riverview in 2020.

The Carrollwood location has close to 8,000 square feet, with a seating capacity of 185 guests.  Customers order from a menu board and select any open table in the dining room or on the outside patio. Servers bring the food and beverages. It’s considered a fast-casual restaurant, but founder Damian Mandola’s culinary program is anything but fast, or casual. The recipes have been handed down over generations of his family, many from his grandmother, Grace. Dishes Italian Grandmothers have been making for their families for centuries fill the menu. Classic and comforting, these are the dishes that families have enjoyed at every celebration in life.

The décor follows through on the theme of family and the enjoyment of life. Framed photos, taken from Mandola’s family albums, line the wall. And while the photos are of his family, the subjects in the photos could just as easily be anyone’s family. The entire concept is based on family, and at a time when the world is Covid-weary and looking for some comfort, that concept is working beyond expectations.

Mandola’s partner, Paul Avery, is among Tampa’s restaurant royalty. He is the president of World of Beer and former CEO of Outback Steakhouse Inc., now known as Bloomin’ Brands. He met Mandola when they worked together on another OSI restaurant chain, Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

With Carrabba’s in the rearview mirror, Mandola and Avery are focused on growing the Mandola’s brand and plan to capitalize on the success of their Riverview location. “The Riverview store has exceeded all expectations.  From sales to social media reviews to repeat clientele, we couldn’t be happier,” Avery says.

Plans include opening six more locations throughout Florida in the next year. Two more are planned for Tampa Bay, Orlando gets two and two will be in Jacksonville. But for now, the focus is on the new restaurant in Carrollwood.

Avery says.

Another new feature is a mobile pizza oven. It’s a full-scale, wood-burning, brick pizza oven that will be taken to parties and events.

“It’s perfect for birthday parties, corporate lunches and even weddings,” Mandola said, “but we are going to start it off at charity events.”

Ultimately, it will be a centerpiece of a full-scale catering division.

Take away is a significant part of the Mandola’s business model and its locations are designed to maximize revenue from customers who pick up their food to go. Large bars are located near the entrances. That’s designed so that customers have a cozy spot if they need to wait. Nearby is a marketplace, where those same customers can pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner when they get home. And a large bakery, whose cases are filled with Italian cakes, cookies and pastry, can be seen from every corner of the place. That way, every guest is tempted to pick up a filled-to-order cannoli, Neopolitan cookie or pint of gelato for the road.

Mandola’s created 55 jobs in Carrollwood, but unlike other businesses that struggle to fill open positions, Avery reports no problems finding experienced applicants and retaining employees.

“People want to work here because of the environment we create. It’s very supportive and a place where committed employees have an opportunity to learn and grow.” Avery pauses and points a finger toward Mandola.  “And this man is at the center of it all.  People love working with him.”




[image_slider_no_space on_click=”prettyphoto” height=”300″ images=”13825,13824,13823,13822,13821,13820,13819″]

You May Also Like
Michelin Guide adds Tampa restaurant to Bib Gourmand list

Michelin Guide inspectors added four Florida restaurants to its Bib Gourmand list as part of the 2024 Michelin Guide, including Streetlight Taco, in Tampa. Bib Gourmand restaurants are described as

Read More
Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival announces Chef Showdown matchups

Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival has announced the chef duel matchups for its “Chef Showdown,” presented by Irvine Spirits, and the first-ever “Breaking Bread with Heroes” breakfast, both hosted

Read More
Exploring the Culinary Legacy of the Rooster & the Till (PHOTOS)

The journey of Rooster & the Till began modestly, with its origins as a 37-seat restaurant nestled in the burgeoning neighborhood of Seminole Heights, a stone’s throw from downtown Tampa. 

Read More
Bern’s Winefest tickets go on sale March 2

Bern’s Steak House, in partnership with its sister properties Haven and the Epicurean Hotel, will hold its 27th Bern’s Winefest, presented by the Laxer Family Foundation, from April 13 to

Read More
Other Posts
Greenlane expands in Tampa with two new locations

Greenlane, a drive-thru salad concept that debuted in Tampa, in June, has plans for a new location on Dale Mabry Highway, in West Tampa, and another on Fourth Street, in

Read More
Sneak peek of new Tampa Bay additions to the Michelin Guide in 2024

Michelin Guide inspectors have selected 19 new Florida restaurants to be added to the Michelin Guide Florida, in 2024, with six in Tampa. The restaurants include: Ebbe, 1202 N. Franklin

Read More
Fortu: The Wagyu stands alone (PHOTOS)

On the ground floor of the Ponce de Leon Hotel, in downtown St. Petersburg, is a cozy little restaurant space that previously was home to Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant, for

Read More
Sonata: An orchestra of flavors at the Mahaffey (PHOTOS)  

In the vibrant tapestry of St. Petersburg’s culinary scene, a new symphony resonates at the Mahaffey Theater with the grand opening of Sonata Restaurant. Sonata is the combined vision of

Read More