Houston restaurant legend Damian Mandola and his wife, Trina, have put their stunning 323-acre Hill Country estate, Villa Antichità, on the market for $12 million.
In 1986, Mandola co-founded Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Houston with his nephew Johnny Carrabba. Tampa-based Bloomin’ Brands now owns the Carrabba’s chain, which has 230 locations across the U.S. Other restaurants under the company’s umbrella are Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.
Houstonians also know him as the founder of Damian's Cucina Italiana, the Midtown restaurant that's served classic Italian cuisine for over 30 years (he sold it to relatives in 1992). In 2006, Damian Mandola opened Mandola’s Italian Market in Austin and then Mandola Estate Winery and Trattoria Lisina in Driftwood.
The main house at the Mandolas’ Tuscan-style waterfront estate in Driftwood encompasses 8,721 square feet, featuring more than 60 authentic antiques and antiquities. The oldest antique, located in the living room, is a 15th century hand-carved stone fireplace surrounded by floor tile from an Italian villa. Another highlight of the living room: 28 hand-carved wood panels that were brought to the U.S. from an Italian monastery.
The property includes a pool, a bocce court, and two secondary residences: the Hill House and the Earth House. More than 4,000 feet of the property back up to Onion Creek.
Given Damian Mandola’s culinary background, it stands to reason that the kitchen would be the heart of Villa Antichità.
A 500-year-old French door opens into the kitchen, with an oversized solid-wood, butcher-block island; a colossal wrought-iron overhead pan display; a circa-1805 stone gas oven; and a soapstone drop-in farmhouse sink. The glass door of the oversized pantry offers access to an herb garden. Down below is a climate-controlled wine cellar.
Houston architect Ed Eubanks designed the residence and Houston-based Renaissance Builders constructed the home; the company’s other clients include former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush, and Michael and Susan Dell.
The listing agents are Juan Alonso and Jennifer Alonso at Keller Williams Luxury Homes International’s Alonso Group.