Ciola's in Lakeway has a new owner
After almost a decade of red sauce, lasagna and Big Nights, Dan Ciola has sold Ciola's Italian-American Restaurant in Lakeway. New owner Dave Staab makes no bones about what customers can expect: "The only change is going to be that when they walk through the door, they're going to see somebody a lot taller."
Staab has spent a lifetime in and around restaurants, from childhood when his parents ran them to his career as a food-company executive to having his own bar and grill in his native Kansas. But when the search for a new place brought him to Austin, where his son lives, Staab said the numbers, the food and customer satisfaction pointed to Ciola's (1310 RM 620 S. 263-9936, www.ciolas.com ). Ciola said he's selling because his job as a bond trader and other obligations are keeping him away from the restaurant.
"I'm just handing off the baton to somebody who's not going to drop my baby on its head," he said. "This guy's right."
Chef Louis Ciola, who is Dan Ciola's nephew, will be staying on at Ciola's through the next Big Night dinner (named for the film about an Italian restaurant) in October with colleague Gordon Johns. Dan Ciola's son, Tony, owns a coal-fired pizza shop called Tony C's at the Hill Country Galleria.
Staab acknowledges that the place will change without the Ciolas, cosmetic things, but he said the recipes of patriarch Dominick Ciola will stay the same. "The food will be as outstanding as it's always been."
- Mike Sutter
Austin food trailers featured in Men's Health
Austin food trailers get some big love in the July/August issue of Men's Health magazine from writer Matt Goulding and photographer Nathaniel Welch. As part of a stomach-churning, one-week, seven-city tour, the two visited Austin for about 24 hours in April. I acted as their guide to the places we could hit on an Easter Sunday and an early Monday: Flip Happy Crepes, Gourdough's, the Mighty Cone, Muck-N-Dave's, G'raj Mahal, Sushi-A-Go-Go and Izzoz Tacos. That means we missed two of the best - East Side King and Odd Duck - but Goulding and Welch got a mouthful of Austin character, especially decent sushi in a gas station parking lot and the one stop I missed, barbecue from a school bus (Old School). Goulding went on to name Izzoz's crispy taco and Old School's brisket as two of the country's 10 Best Street Eats, in company with New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. But this being Men's Health (Kellan's Full-Body Blast!), Austin also made the Unhealthiest Mobile Meals list with the Puddin' doughnut with ice cream from Gourdough's: "This is not a doughnut; it's a spare tire."
Openings, closings and coming soon
• Open: Los Cucos Mexican Cafe, a regional chain, at the former El Arroyo site at 12432 RM 2244, Bee Cave. 263-3400, www.loscucos.com .
• Open: Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a third Austin location of the national chain, at 4301 William Cannon Drive, E-200. 358-0774, www.fiveguys.com .
• Open: Hula Hoops, a '50s-themed soda fountain with diner food housemade ice cream, and Tommy Gunns , a '20s-themed health-oriented sandwich shop, at 711 Pine St., Bastrop. .
• Closing July 30: Jaime's Spanish Village at 802 Red River St.
• Closed: Truck Farm Farmers Market, located in the Pots and Plants Gardening Center at Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) and Bee Cave Road. Although the market has officially closed, several vendors are continuing to sell their products at the nursery located on the northeast corner of the intersection.
• Moving: Starting Saturday , the Cedar Park Farm to Market farmers market will be moving to Lakeline Mall, near the intersection of U.S. 183 and RM 620. The vendors will be set up in the parking lot between Sears and Dillard's.
- Mike Sutter, A.B.
• Want to learn more about dim sum? Fortune Chinese Seafood Restaurant, 10901 N. Lamar Blvd., is hosting a guided lunch at 11 a.m. Sunday. Try traditional dim sum dishes like dumplings, buns, rolls and pastries; an instructor will be on hand to help you order and answer questions. $15. dimsum101.eventbrite.com
• Local companies Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. and Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods both won gold at the Fancy Food Show in New York City a few weeks ago. The event, hosted by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, is one of the largest trade shows in the industry. Sticky Toffee Pudding won outstanding baked good, and Fischer & Wieser's Mom's Spaghetti Sauce won in the classic category.
• Texas Disposal Systems is hosting a fundraiser at 5 p.m. on Sunday at the company's Exotic Game Ranch, 11508 Carl Road in Creedmoor, for the Barr Mansion to help raise funds to rebuild the facility's artisan ballroom, which was destroyed in a fire last month. Guests who donated at least $40 can sample food and drinks from local chefs and food artisans. RSVP through the Facebook group that can found by searching "Friends of Barr Mansion." Make donations and find more information online at www.farmhousedelivery.com or www.barrmansion.com .
• Change is afoot out in the winery in Driftwood formerly known as Mandola Estate. Founders Lisa and Stan Duchman have taken over the winery half, leaving Damian Mandola ownership of the restaurant, Trattoria Lisina. The winery is now called Duchman Family Winery and will continue to operate under the watchful eye of winemakers Dave Reilly and Mark Penna.
• The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas is hosting a contemporary wine trends class with wine expert and Mirabelle and Streat owner Michael Vilim. The class ($25 for foundation members or $35 for nonmembers), which takes place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Streat, 3211 Red River St., will feature 10 wines and a variety of appetizers. www.winefoodfoundation.org .
• Chef Bob Hauser of Cannoli Joe's is offering monthly cooking classes at the locally owned Italian restaurant in Sunset Valley. Risottos are the subject of tonight's class from 6:30 to 8:30. Hauser will demonstrate how to make three different kinds of risottos as class participants enjoy a meal that includes salad, dessert and wine pairings. The next class is Aug. 11. Reserve a seat by calling 892-4444 or going online. www.cannolijoes.com
• Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts is hosting two Bastille Day events this week. Ventana Restaurant, the school's on-site restaurant, will featured a four-course prixe fixe French menu for both lunch and dinner for $17.89 (the year of the storming of the Bastille, for you non-Francophiles). Call 388-3850 for reservations. Get a primer on French cooking techniques from chef Graham Mitchell from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday in a class called "A Celebration of French Cuisine." Go to www.lcbchefsseries.com to register.
- Addie Broyles