"Great people, service and food; an unbeatable combination!"


Villa Milano

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Meet Tina Milano-Cates


With nothing else but a dream to succeed in America, the Milano family arrived from Italy in 1958 to start a new life in Columbus, Ohio. The young Giuseppe and Dina Milano were living the American dream just a few short years after their arrival to the United States.  Eventually, they would have a daughter who would be inspired by their dreams, spirit, and determination to succeed.


Their daughter, Tina Milano, is now the general manager and event coordinator at Villa Milano on Schrock Road. She is a graduate of Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio with degrees in both Accounting and Business Management.


Previously, Tina had experience working at her family’s restaurant, the former Milano Steakhouse on Westerville and Oakland Park Road. When customers expressed the desire for a space to have weddings and larger parties, the Milano family opened Villa Milano in 1982.


Overall, the family mentality of the Milano businesses has been their main focus since day one. “It needs to stay different than the hotels and country clubs, our personal attention and family unit makes a huge difference. When I was growing up I remember people loving our restaurant because it was a family based business, and I plan on keeping Villa that way,” Tina said.


Giuseppe Milano came to America with no money and only a suitcase full of clothes in his hand.  However, the young man possessed a heart filled with a dream to prosper.  He describes his feelings about his family’s opportunity in America.


“When you live in a poor country and you want to move to a better country, you put your heart into all of the work you do. I thank America because it really gave me opportunities. The work was hard but the country was good because it gave the people that don’t know the language a chance to grow.  My promise was to always prove that I came to America with my heart and a dream. I’m now very proud to be in America.”


Tina and her father want to see Villa Milano to continue to flourish. “My wish for Villa Milano is that it will last forever. I built it with my heart and it’s like my second wife. I want to see it continue to grow and give opportunity to my family and others,” Giuseppe said.


Not only is Tina determined make Villa Milano successful, she also has high hopes for future updates and brand growth.

“I would love to find a way to bottle our Italian dressing and build our brand to a whole new level. I want to get this place back to what it was like in earlier years, booming day and night,” Tina said.


After all this time, Tina still feels inspired by that young Italian couple who made all of this possible. “Thinking back, my parents really did accomplish the American dream. They inspire me so much and I constantly think if they can do what they did, I should be able to so much more,” Tina said.


Tina’s passion for Villa Milano comes from working with her family, employees and clients. “With this kind of business you get to meet so many great people and usually when they are at their happiest. You really have to love people and love what you do.”


Tina Milano has been inspired by the dreams and spirit of her parents. She and her family continue to have high hopes for Villa Milano and are determined to keep the Milano dream alive for years to come.  


By: Jonathan Hill

General Manager & Event Coordinator

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