La Scala restaurant, a Dublin staple for nearly four decades, is writing a new scene with a familiar cast.

La Scala restaurant, a Dublin staple for nearly four decades, is writing a new scene with a familiar cast.

Johnny and Mike Ciotola, sons of late co-founder Benny Ciotola, have sold the restaurant to current chef William Lalli and front-of-the-house manager Bryan Fiebig.

The sale was effective Sunday; the price wasn't disclosed. The Ciotolas still own the property, 4199 W. Dublin-Granville Road.

It marks a significant change at the Italian restaurant, as the Ciotola brothers have been permanent fixtures there for more than 20 years. Each started working at La Scala in their teens. Johnny advanced to a manager's position while Mike was part of the kitchen staff, helping develop the menu, among other duties.

Mike Ciotola said the economy played a major role in their decision to sell. The family had considered turning the parcel into a strip mall, with La Scala occupying a smaller storefront in the center, but those plans have been scuttled, he said.

Johnny Ciotola said he leaves the business, founded in 1972, with mixed emotions but feels it's in good hands.

"They know it like the back of their back of their hands," he said of the current owners. "The fact that they have it is comforting."

Both Lalli and Fiebig have been with the restaurant for more than 30 years. They're laying down new carpet, putting on a fresh coat of paint, expanding the regular menu and introducing a bar menu. A grand reopening party is planned for Aug. 28.

"This has always been our baby anyway," Lalli said. "For us, this has been a dream come true."

The Ciotola brothers said they kept their plans a secret from customers to protect the deal.

"A lot of them knew it was in the works," Johnny Ciotola said. "We tried to keep it hush-hush. We didn't want a bunch of rumors flying around in case it didn't happen."

For more on this story, see the Aug. 6 edition of Table Talk in ThisWeek Community Newspapers.