Houston restaurateur Damian Mandola arrested again on new charges

He's facing new charges, days after he posted bond on a burglary charge

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Famous Houston restaurateur Damian Mandola was arrested for a second time in Driftwood, Texas, on Saturday.

Mandola was taken into custody by the Hays County Sheriff's Office after he allegedly vandalized a truck at the Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood. The winery's general manager, Jeff Ogle, told police he heard a loud noise, and rounded a corner of the building to see Mandola smashing a window of a pickup truck with a hammer.

Photographs Ogle snapped with his cell phone camera appear to show Mandola holding a hammer in one hand and a knife in the other. A deputy later discovered all four tires on Ogle's 2011 Toyota Tacoma had been slashed.

According to an affidavit filed by the officer, Ogle said when he raised his phone to take the photographs, Mandola yelled, "I'll kill you."

Ogle told the officer when he began backing away, Mandola went to a golf cart and drove away. Mandola was arrested later Saturday night for aggravated assault and criminal mischief.

Mandola was arrested two days earlier on Thursday night for allegedly breaking into the winery after it has closed. Lisa Atiles told investigators that she and another employee were inside at around 8:30 p.m. when she saw Mandola drive up outside in his golf cart. She said he then forced his way through a door, took a bottle of wine and left.

The investigating deputy says he found the bottle still in the cart, according to a affidavit filed with the sheriff's department. Mandola was arrested and released after posting a $5,000 bond.

Mandola owns and operates the Trattoria Lisina Restaurant next to the winery, as well as Mandola's Italian Restaurants in Austin. He was once a business partner with the current owner of the winery. The partnership dissolved in 2010 after an extended legal litigation.

Damian Mandola and his nephew Johnny Carrabba were the founders of Carrabba's Italian Grill which became a national chain, but Mandola is no longer involved with company.

Mandola is no longer associated with Carrabba's. He sold his interest in Carrabbas eleven years ago.

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