Every Monday, we feature an enterprising Houstonian and his or her five favorite things to do in the city. This week, we check in with Johnny Mandola, general manager of Damian’s Cucina Italiana.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Johnny Mandola
- Adventures at Discovery Green – I’m a family man with triplet boys, so my wife and I enjoy going to Discovery Green. There are always different activities to enjoy there and it’s even great to just to walk around on a nice day.
- Houston’s festivals – I try to bring my family to all the Houston festivals we have here in town. I enjoy learning and experiencing other cultures and want to pass that on to my boys as well.
- The Astros at Minute Maid Park – I am a huge baseball fan. Baseball is America’s game. I’ve been following the Astros since I was a young boy. No matter how good or bad they are I always enjoy going to an Astros baseball game. I’ll never forget when the Astrodome hosted the MLB All Star Game in 1986. I went with my father Frankie B. and my late grandfather whose name I share John Batiste Mandola. My grandfather and I each had six hotdogs that day.
- The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – My family and I enjoy going to the Rodeo every year. Seeing the reaction to my boys around those animals is priceless, and they love making all the animal sounds. “A cow goes MOOOOOO!!!”
- Terry Hershey Park – Every other week my family and I take a nice walk through this amazing park in West Houston. I don’t feel like I’m in Houston when walking through there. It’s a nice walk over the hills and through the trees.
About Johnny Mandola
The ever-ebullient Johnny Mandola leads the daily operations at Damian’s Cucina Italiana, an old school restaurant noted for its welcoming and engaging character. Johnny is one of the city’s more captivating hosts and a primo story teller. The father of triplet boys and the son of owner Frankie Mandola, Johnny joined Damian’s after working for several high-profile steakhouses. The restaurant has built a large and loyal following – a who’s who of the city with standing reservations and longtime dibs on their favorite seating spots, including the charming and secluded chef’s table tucked away in the kitchen.
Photo courtesy of Damian’s Cucina Italiana