top of page

Our Story

Pasta & Pizza Pie Runs in Our Family

Welcome to Mariola Italian, where open arms, family tales, and a journey spanning oceans and generations await you. Our story begins with the patriarchs and matriarchs of Founder Mike Mariola, whose roots trace back to the enchanting villages of Carovilli in the Molise region and Giungano in the Campania region of Italy.

In 1915, Felice, driven by dreams and determination, embarked on courageous voyage across the seas. He arrived in Akron and found his place in the rubber industry, working as a machine oiler at BFGoodrich for an astounding 48 years. A true pillar of the community, Felice was a founding member of the Carovillese Club in Akron, where Pasta Dinners have become a treasured tradition, still open to the public every Tuesday night.

Joseph Mariola, son of Felice and Mary, carried the family legacy forward. Born in 1923, he lived his entire life in Akron, dedicating himself to the insurance business. A man of steadfast commitment, Joseph left an indelible mark on the community before his passing in 1992.

In 1948, Phil Mariola, Joseph's son and Mike's father, entered the world in Akron. After travels abroad Phil, returned to Akron with the love of his life and his new bride, Bernadette. In 1983, Phil and Bernadette moved the family to Wooster, drawn by opportunities at ATI and OARDC, forging a new chapter in their journey.

Mike Mariola carries the torch of tradition and passion for Italian-American cuisine. From his earliest memories, he recalls joyous family gatherings, where big plates of baked rigatoni drenched in red sauce and flavorful sausage and pepper sandwiches were lovingly shared among cousins. These cherished moments ignited Mike's vision of creating a welcoming Italian restaurant, a place where communities can revel in laughter, weave stories, and indulge in timeless Italian-American delights.

Mariola Italian is a family affair.  Mike and his wife and children all play different roles in the restaurant company. Mike's brother, Vince, contributed his construction expertise to craft the restaurant, while Mike's father, Phil, carefully curated the wine list, adding a touch of old-world sophistication to the Mariola Italian experience.

At the heart of our journey lies the cherished values of friendliness and tradition, epitomized by the patron saint of Carovilli, Santo Stefano del Lupo. Legend has it that this revered saint's prayers transformed a disruptive wolf into a friendly companion. It is with this spirit of warmth and hospitality that we welcome you to Mariola Italian, where friendliness and tradition intertwine.

We embrace our heritage with open arms, cherishing the values instilled by our ancestors. From the vibrant streets of Akron to the vibrant community of Wooster, we honor our roots while creating and savoring American-Italian comfort food. Join us as we celebrate the legacy of those who came before us, weaving together memories, flavors, and the spirit of our Italian-American heritage.

Wolf Icon - color.png
Wolf Icon - color_edited.png

Meet the Founders

Mike & Emily Mariola

Mike & Emily - South Market Bistro 2002.jpg

"A restaurant created with love is a reflection of the heart and soul of its creators."

Meet Mike and Emily, the passionate and driven husband-and-wife duo behind Mike Mariola RestaurantsThey opened The City Square Steakhouse in Wooster in 2008, which pairs small-town charm with unmatched sophistication, and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Steakhouses in America.​

The City Square Steakhouse has been a staple in the Wooster community for more than a decade, serving juicy Certified Angus Beef ® steaks and burgers, fresh seafood and vegetarian entrees, house-made sides and desserts, along with craft beers and cocktails.


Drawing inspiration from the success of the steakhouse’s bar menu, Mariola founded The Rail in 2011. A gourmet burger bar known for championing creative American fare and Ohio craft brews, the concept now has several locations across Ohio.

MMR became Caribou Coffee’s first domestic multi-unit franchisee. The development marked Caribou Coffee’s return to Ohio for the first time in nine years. The first MMR-franchised Ohio location opened in 2022, in Mike Mariola Restaurants' hometown of Wooster. MMR will continue to develop Caribou Coffee locations across the state.

For years, Mariola family and friends have been encouraging Mike and Emily to share their passion for Italian-American cuisine with the world, and now they've finally taken the leap.


Drawing inspiration from Mike's family recipes and their expertise in restaurant management, they've crafted a menu that's bursting with Italian-American flavors. From signature pasta dishes to savory pizza pie, every dish on the menu is made with care and attention to detail.

But it's not just about the food - Mike and Emily are committed to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that feels like coming home to a big Italian family dinner. They want every guest to feel like they're part of the Mariola family, sharing in the joy of good food and good company.

So come on in, and join Mike and Emily for a delicious journey through the flavors of Italy. With their love of family, tradition, and hard work woven into every dish, you're sure to feel right at home.

bottom of page