Damian Mandola, the Carrabba's co-founder and the name behind Midtown's Damian's Cucina Italiana, was arrested in Driftwood on Thursday of last week and again on Saturday. Records from the Hays County Sheriff show that Mandola was arrested for burglary after breaking into Duchman Family Winery, which is next door to his restaurant Trattoria Lisina, with the intent to steal a bottle of wine. Following that arrest, Mandola returned to the winery and was booked again on Saturday according to the Houston Press:
The Duchman employee then took a few photos of Mandola brandishing a knife and a hammer, which are listed in the arrest report as "deadly weapons." According to the employee, Mandola threatened him, called him "a few choice names," and drove away on the golf cart. The employee then called the police.
It appears that a personal matter has long been brewing, and this latest incident is one that comes as a result of years of tension between the Mandola and the Duchman Winery owners. Damian's Family Vineyards became Duchman Family Winery about four years ago, since the prominent restaurateur was struggling to sell wine to Italian restaurants in this state, since they didn't want a rival restaurant owner's name on the wine they sold to their customers. So Mandola handed over the reins to the Duchmans in 2010. Since then, there's been much conflict between the Duchman family and Mandola, who, according to an anonymous source, considered the wine at Duchman to be his own property. We reached out to Mandola's rep and will update if we receive a statement.
· Damian Mandola Arrested for Second Time in Three Days [Houston Press]
· Splitting heirs at Mandola, I mean Duchman, Winery [Dallas Morning News]