Dining With Denise Neil

Popular Italian chef, restaurant owner celebrating his citizenship

Luciano Mottola, a native of Tuscany, just became an American citizen.
Luciano Mottola, a native of Tuscany, just became an American citizen.

He’s lived in the United States for 12 years, owned a business in the United States for 10 years and has an American wife.

He’s even been called for jury duty. Twice.

Now, Luciano Mottola, who owns the popular Luciano’s Italian Restaurant at 216 W. Main in Mulvane, is also an American citizen. His big news was posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Thursday.

“So happy to announce that Luciano has studied & studied & passed his citizenship test!” the post read. “Ask him any of those questions – he knows them all.”

The restaurant is planning a party for the day Mottola takes his naturalization oath, he said. He doesn’t know when that will be – anywhere from two weeks to a few months – but he’ll post the date on Luciano’s Facebook page when he finds out. He’s inviting his customers to come watch the ceremony and attend the party.

Mottola, a native of Tuscany, met his wife, Nancy, when she was teaching English in Italy. The couple lived in Italy for three years, Motolla said, then he told Nancy it was her turn to live near her hometown of Mulvane. They arrived in 2003, and in 2005, they opened the restaurant.

Mottola’s 10-year green card was due to expire at the end of this year, and rather than renew it, he decided to apply to become a U.S. citizen. The process took about three months, he said. He had to pass a citizenship test much like the one the Eagle published earlier this week. (Try the quiz below to see if you could pass it.)

Mottola said he’s most excited that he’ll now be able to vote. He’s already been called for jury duty twice but was excused both times because he wasn’t a citizen.

Though it’s nice to have the official paper – and the perks that come with it – Mottola said he’s felt like a citizen for a long time now.

“I was feeling already welcome from the beginning,” he said. “The emotional part isn’t changing for me too much. It’s just now I have a paper certificate.”