Since 1984, Lola and Giuseppe (Joe) Iacobone have been serving delicious food in central Ohio; their latest restaurant success is the culmination of those experiences and Guiseppe’s family recipes.
Lola & Giuseppe’s Trattoria is now located at 100 Granville St. in Gahanna, but the first inception of this family restaurant began life on Bethel Road in the 1980s. Following the birth of their daughter, Gabriel, the family sold the restaurant on
Bethel and reopened a couple of years later closer to home in Gahanna.
“When Gabriel started school in 1994, we opened in a building on the river in Gahanna, where Creekside is now. Unfortunately, Joe suffered a heart attack around 1999 that forced us to close again,” Lola said. “After that, I continued working as a personal chef to families in and around New Albany with about eight or so regulars while I was also working as the pastry chef for the Jefferson Country Club.”
In 2006, she said, her husband’s health had recovered and a family friend approached them with an offer to buy the current restaurant location.
“He came to me and said, ‘Lola, I know how you want to go back into the restaurant business and I’ve got just the place,’” Lola recalled. “One of my personal chef client families talked to me about it and said we needed to do more than just soups and salads and cakes like before. They said, ‘that’s just ladies’ food; you need to do Italian.’”
From that series of conversations, Lola & Guiseppe’s Trattoria was reborn in Gahanna with both Lola and Joe working in the restaurant daily. Following Gabriel’s college career, she has returned as well to help with the family business.
“A big key to our success is that there aren’t many 44-seat restaurants where the owners are here 100-percent of the time,” Lola said. “And we don’t have a big walk-in cooler; we’re making everything in small batches instead, so you’re talking about a whole different taste from that kind of cooking.
“Joe’s in here every day making his red sauce with fresh tomatoes, here at 6 a.m. making his fresh meatballs, and I make all my own desserts from scratch. That means something to people,” she said.
The menu is divided into different sections, according to Lola. First are family favorites from recipes Joe collected from his mother and sister while he was growing up in Italy. The rest of the menu changes to take advantage of seasonal flavors, such as heavier foods in fall and winter and lighter dishes for spring and summer.
“If there’s anything people should know it’s that our food is prepared with a tremendous sense of wanting to please. It’s prepared with the joy of serving others, and for us, that is very personal,” Lola said.
For more information, visit www.lolas-italian.com.