Restaurateur Damian Mandola was arrested not once but twice in Driftwood over the past few days. Mandola co-founded national chain Carrabba's Italian Grill, as well as Austin's Mandola's Italian Market. His Driftwood restaurant Trattoria Lisina is next door to Duchman Family Winery, and on Thursday night Mandola allegedly broke into the winery to take a bottle of wine. According to The Statesman:
The workers told dispatchers that they saw Mandola drive up in his golf cart and approach the locked front door. When they heard the door being forced, they went into an office and called 911.Mandola was arrested by the Hays County sheriff on a burglary charge, and released on Friday on $5,000 bail.
On Saturday, Mandola returned to the winery, where he allegedly threatened employees with a hammer. The Houston Press spoke with an anonymous eyewitness, who provided what they say is a photo of Mandola with a hammer, as well as the following report:
An employee in the tasting room told me that Damian was on his 'Mule' -- basically an all-terrain golf cart -- and he was headed behind the winery. I headed outside, and upon reaching the corner of the building I heard a tire burst, which was the tire of my Toyota Tacoma. As I rounded the corner I witnessed Damian smash the back window of my truck.
Mandola was arrested again Saturday and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief according to jail records. The Houston Press notes that Mandola was once a partner in Duchman Winery until a "falling out" in 2010. A rep for Mandola's has not responded to Eater's request for comment.
Update! The Statesman has more details from Mandola's Saturday arrest affidavit. Duchman winery GM Jeffrey Ogle "explained he was in fear for his life and stated Damian had not been acting like himself"
· Driftwood Restauranteur Arrested After Quest for Wine Goes Awry [Statesman]
· Damian Mandola Arrested for Second Time in Three Days [Houston Press]
· All Mandola's Coverage [EATX]
[Photo: Hays County Sheriff]