Scola’s has been around for 31 years and has earned a reputation as a fine-dining experience in Dracut.
This month, new owners – the third group – take over the ovens.
Andrew Corbin and Parag Corbin Patel have bought Scola’s Restaurant, at 101 Broadway Road in the Dracut Village Plaza, ending a seven-year run for Tony Furtado and his family.
Parag owns Bill’s Pizza in Newton, and Andrew has been in the food-service business, either as a restaurant owner or in businesses that relate to restaurants, his entire adult life.
They were looking to buy a restaurant and heard Scola’s might be available.
“I knew Tony from soccer, and a mutual friend connected us,” Andrew says.
He says he’ll keep the name Scola’s and that most of the staff, including longtime head chef Sean Lindberg, will remain.
“There’ll be no major changes, maybe some new menu items throughout the next month or so and a new wine list,” Andrew says.
He and Parag are planning a grand opening in early July, and Dracut Economic Development will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome the new owners to town.
Scola’s opened back in 1991, when Joe DiCarlo decided that selling Drake’s Cakes wasn’t going to put his five kids through college.
“There wasn’t really a good Italian restaurant in East Dracut, so I decided to take what I knew about Italian cooking from my grandmothers and my parents and see if I couldn’t put it to commercial use,” Joe says.
Joe grew up in Somerville and knows a little about Italian food. He and his wife moved to Dracut in 1980 because they were starting a family and couldn’t afford a house in Somerville. He has since become a fixture in town, volunteering on the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Economic Development Committee.
When he opened his own restaurant, it was originally part of a Scola’s sandwich franchise some friends owned in Boston. But he soon realized that folks in rural Dracut weren’t interested in sandwiches. They were coming home from work and wanted to go out for a proper dinner.
“Six months into the operation, I had to change it,” he says. “I had to change the whole concept to a restaurant. I was taking a big chance doing it. The town had no liquor licenses available at the time, and I had to wait three years to get one.
“Someone important in town told me at the time, ‘You’re not gonna sell mussels in Dracut,’” he adds with a laugh. “But people like good food no matter who they are.”
In addition to authentic Italian dishes, Scola’s served bread baked in Joe’s own bakery in the North End called Draco Bakery. People still remember that bread longingly.
Joe decided to get out of the restaurant business in 2005. Scola’s had put all five kids through college, and it was time for a change. He sold it to the Furtado family and turned to the burgeoning self-storage business.
He already owned a storage facility up the road from Scola’s. He bought the Merrimack Woolen Mills at Pleasant and School Streets in the Navy Yard and moved A Lowell Self Storage there. The mills are also home to Rise Cannabis Dispensary, Vintage Millwork, CrossFit and the nonprofit Catie’s Closet.
Joe is pulling for the new owners of his old restaurant.
“I think they’ll do well,” he says of Corbin and Patel. “Dracut continues to grow, especially on the economic development side. I’m sure if they put out good food, they’ll be successful.”
Toward that end, Andrew says he’s planning to increase outdoor dining and add wine and bourbon tastings, live entertainment, visits from celebrity chefs, comedy shows, sports watch parties and more.
“We want to be part of the community,” he says.
Check out www.scolasrestaurant.com or call 978-970-3838.