Damian and Trina Mandola, founders and owners of the authentic Italian casual concept Mandola’s Italian Kitchen, announced that the Jacksonville location will open July 12. The newest Mandola’s, a 6,452-square-foot space in the Claire Lane Center in Mandarin, will serve the same trusted family recipes in the always cheerful, family-friendly setting that Mandola’s guests in Austin, TX, and Tampa, FL, have embraced for years. The restaurant, and its on-premise bakery and gelateria, will be open seven days a week with in-restaurant dining, as well as to-go and curbside pick-up.
“As a busy wife, mother and business owner, I am the target Mandola's customer. We live in such a hectic day and age, all I want is a fresh, home cooked meal – without all of the work, and quality time with my family,” says Trina Mandola, Damian’s business partner – and wife. She continued, “I’m proud to be able to give that to other people who want something more than just a typical fast casual restaurant. We do things with purpose.”
Built on the mission to offer fresh authentic Italian food fast in a familial setting, Mandola’s serves a wide variety of dishes – from antipasti to ziti, all originating from Damian Mandola’s vast multi-generational collection of family recipes. An origin story exists for each, whether it’s the Chicken Marsala made with Marsala wine sourced from Mandola family friends in Italy, or the Coconut Cake Mamma Grace Mandola made for all of Damian’s birthdays.
“These are the recipes I grew up on, the recipes I made for my kids, and the same recipes we still make at home for our friends and family,” adds Damian Mandola, Co-Founder and Co-Owner, Mandola’s Italian Kitchen, LLC. “I’ve been making this food since I opened my first restaurant 47 years ago and it still brings me such joy to share this food with our customers.”
Guests ordering from the lunch and dinner menu will have plenty of options among Antipasti, Zuppe, Insalate, Panini, Pizza, Pasta, and Pollo, each served with Mandola’s mouth-watering freshly baked Focaccia. With a menu filled with both light-but-substantial and hearty meals, there is a dish for every appetite. Highlights from the menu include:
Antipasti such as Calamari & Zucchini Fritti coated and fried in seasoned flour & semolina, served with marinara and the indulgent Fried Mozzarella coated in homemade bread crumbs, fried until crisp and melted, served with marinara
Insalate, including Damian’s award-winning Caesar’s Salad and staff favorite Insalata Cotta e Cruda, a salad Damian created years ago specifically for a regular guest who longed for the version she enjoyed in Italy. It includes salad greens, asparagus, fresh basil, mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper, potatoes, green beans, garbanzo & cannellini beans, house vinaigrette & Romano.
Zuppe like Mandola’s Italian Wedding Soup, Minestra Maritata, and classic Minestrone, a great vegan option.
A range of Panini (available until 4 p.m.) such as the popular Italian Sausage & Peppers made with Sicilian fennel sausage (Damian’s personal recipe!), grilled with onions, red & green peppers served hot on our rustic bun; Trina’s favorite, the Vegetariano with grilled eggplant, zucchini, onions, Portobello mushrooms & fresh mozzarella with artichoke spread, pesto mayo & red pepper relish on multi-grain bread; and their children’s favorite, Grilled Chicken with grilled herb oil-basted chicken breast with roasted tomatoes, pesto mayo & provolone on focaccia.
Pizzas, each made with housemade pizza dough in the restaurant’s wood-fired pizza oven, including the Carnivore, for meat lovers, a cheese pizza with meatballs, Sicilian fennel sausage, pancetta, pepperoni and red bell peppers; and for those who prefer a white pizza, the Fiorentina with spinach, artichoke, roasted garlic, ricotta, Asiago, Fontina and Romano cheeses.
Pastas made with the Mandola’s family pasta recipe, including Spaghettini Ortolano thin spaghetti in a sauce of zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, peas, mushrooms, onions, basil & garlic with extra virgin olive oil, and topped with optional pine nuts & grated Romano cheese; Eggplant Parmigiana, using the classic Sicilian recipe passed down from Damian’s grandmother, baked eggplant with a light tomato sauce, housemade Italian breadcrumbs, Romano, fresh mozzarella cheese & parsley, served with Trenette marinara; and classic Spaghetti & Meatballs or Italian Sausage, Damian’s meal of choice, sauced with Mamma’s Marinara of imported San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic & fresh basil.
Pollo dishes passed on through the generations, such as Chicken Parmesan chicken breast coated with housemade seasoned Italian breading, pan sauteed in olive oil, with melted fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce and served with a side of Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken Piccata chicken breast sautéed with lemon-butter white wine sauce and capers, finished with fresh parsley, served with a side of Fettuccine Alfredo.
Mandola’s Daily Features, a menu of dishes - each only available one day during the week, has been a draw for customers since the first Mandola’s opened in 2006. “Customers tend to find their favorite Daily Feature and come back for it week after week!” remarked Damian Mandola. Daily Features, which will be added to the menu later this summer, include: Monday’s Chicken Capriciossa, Tuesday’s Lobster Ravioli, Wednesday’s Spaghetti Carbonara, Thursday’s Cannelloni Fiorentina, Friday’s Shrimp Scampi; Saturday’s Brasato; and Sunday’s Baked Ziti.
Children 12 and under can order from the Children’s Menu, which includes Spaghetti & Meatballs, Fettuccine Alfredo, Trenette & Butter and Cheese Ravioli, among other options. Each children’s entrée includes a drink and a scoop of gelato.
Visitors to the Mandarin location can enjoy beer, wine, specialty drinks and select liqueurs perfect for adding to an espresso. A variety of Italian wines are available by the glass or bottle, including Mandola’s own Montepulciano, Chianti Classico and Pinot Grigio. The assortment of Specialty Drinks includes frozen options Peach Bellini, Sangria and Frose; and on-the-rocks cocktails Lemon-Basil Mimosa, Aperol Spritz, Rosato Spritz, Mandola’s Adult Lemonade, Negroni, and Margarita a L’Italiana. A full menu of foreign and domestic beers (Peroni, Blue Moon, Yuengling, Michelob, La Rossa, Stella Artois, Floridian, Nazionale, Miller, Corona) are also available.
Guests can enjoy special pricing on Wine By The Glass, Draught Beer and Specialty Drinks during Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 3:00 - 6:00 pm. The Happy Hour menu also includes Bites: Bruschetta alla Checca garlic toast topped with tomatoes, garlic, basil & extra virgin olive oil; Garlic Fries Italian fries with garlic, parsley, & Romano served with a creamy pesto dip; Fried Mozzarella fresh mozzarella coated in housemade bread crumbs, fried until crisp & melted, served with marinara; and BYO (Build Your Own) Personal Pizza.
The on-site Mandola’s Bakery produces all baked goods daily, from traditional Italian cookies like Pignoli, Anginetti, raspberry thumbprints and lemon ricotta cookies, to classic pastries including the restaurant’s renowned cannoli, to an assortment of specialty cakes such as Tiramisu, Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake and Italian Cream Cake, each available by the slice or whole to enjoy at the restaurant or take home.
The Gelateria, also located on-site, prepares a variety of regular and seasonal gelati and sorbetti, each made fresh daily using the finest ingredients sourced from the best purveyors. In addition to seasonal introductions, Mandola’s always has Stracciatella, Nutella, Tiramisu, and Damian’s personal favorite Pistachio gelati, made with the finest pistachio paste imported from Bronte, Sicily, and Lemon, Raspberry and Strawberry sorbetto. All are available in individual serving sizes, and by the pint and quart to-go.
A full-service coffee bar also serves espresso, cappuccino and coffee.
Mandola’s offers in-house pick-up and delivery catering for any size group or type of occasion. In addition to family style servings and buffet, catering clients can opt to have Mandola’s wood-fired mobile pizza oven and gelato cart at their event for an added surprise.
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.