Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant |

Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant

After living in Steamboat Springs for more than a decade, Rex Brice knew what was missing: an affordable restaurant that served homemade food in a casual atmosphere.

When Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant was put on the market, the 38-year-old Brice saw an opportunity to fill a niche. He bought the Lincoln Avenue restaurant more than a year ago and immediately changed the menu and lowered the prices.

Mazzola’s has been a Steamboat fixture for more than three decades, but “the menu had been diluted over the years,” Brice said. “They were serving chicken wings and hamburgers. I wanted to get it back to a grassroots Italian restaurant.”

Mazzola’s buys its pasta, but everything else is made in the restaurant’s kitchen, including the Italian flat bread that is baked fresh daily.

For diners who visited Mazzola’s recently, the restaurant has undergone a substantial makeover. New carpet, freshly painted walls and checkered tablecloths are just a few of the more noticeable changes. Brice also got rid of the salad bar and moved the hostess station to eliminate the confusion often experienced by first-time patrons.

The long-stem wine glasses were cleared from the bar and replaced with more casual, European-style wine tumblers.

The changes came quickly because the concept was something Brice had wanted to make a reality for 10 years, he said.

“Homestyle food, cooked fresh to order without paying an arm and a leg. This is the kind of food I like to eat.

“Our motto is ‘Eat big, talk loud and break a few rules.'”

Recently, Mazzola’s added “big” and “huge” portions for each menu item. The “big” meals are enough for one. The “huge” portion is enough for two people.

The new menu features traditional Italian pasta dishes but also contains a few surprises, including an herb-crusted, pan-seared Tuscan steak, a not-so-traditional eggplant parmesan and the seafood Cioppino, made with linguine, scallops, salmon, clams, calamari and a spicy tomato broth.

The food is complimented by an extensive Italian wine list.

Long-time Mazzola’s customers will continue to be greeted by manager Todd Johnson (aka JJ), who decided to stay at the restaurant after he heard Brice’s vision for the place.

When customers stand up to leave the new Mazzola’s after finishing their meals, Brice often stops by the table to ask patrons about their dining experience.

“They tell me that it was good,” Brice said. “Then they do a double take, like they just had a realization, and they say, ‘No, it was great.'”

Mazzola’s is open for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Pizza is served from 10 p.m. to midnight, and pizza slices are served from midnight to 2 a.m. The entire menu is available for delivery from 5 to 10 p.m. Special family meals, such as ordering an entire lasagna, also are available. Call 879-2405.

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