New owners for Ciola’s promise food will stay the same
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.”
Dave Staab grew up in his family’s restaurant business and says Ciola’s food will stay the same.