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Trio Restaurant Misses One of its Giant Nutcrackers

By Jonah Ghile

Images accompanying this news story can be viewed in the current issue PDF

In its 60th year on the corner of 17th and Q Streets, NW, The Trio restaurant, famous for its at-home-like atmosphere, was subject to a theft on New Year’s Eve of one of its pair of oversized nutcrackers that shared visual entertainment alongside its identical twin. George Mallios, the owner of Trio and who had planned on extending 13 years of tradition with both nutcrackers, was saddened to see its disappearance on the following morning.

“We’re very upset and my customers feel the same way,” said Mallios. “They hope that someone will bring it back. I tell all if they know anyone who knows anything to tell them to return it and there will be no questions asked. We haven’t called the police”.

In early December 13 years ago, Mallios’ wife went to Costco to buy festive decorations for their restaurant. It was there she was first introduced to the nutcrackers and instantly became attached. Suggesting to husband George that two of these together would be fun to have on display through the holidays was as easy as making the purchase.

While the disappearance of the nutcracker was an unhappy occurrence, the restaurant’s first-ever Christmas Day opening was just the opposite. In years past they were always closed on Christmas; George’s father, Pete Mallios, had felt strongly that his employees should not have to work on that day; that Christmas was a special day when family should be together.

But this year following Thanksgiving Day, when the restaurant has traditionally been open featuring a special menu at a special reduced price as a way to “give back” to the neighborhood — another tradition started by George’s father — George’s manager had an idea.

As George recounted, “We had a big turnout on Thanksgiving and my manager, Mourad, said he saw some friendly new faces and families. . . . “He thought it would be nice to open for Christmas and if he could find volunteers to work then I would allow it but I wouldn’t order people to arrive because it’s always been a tradition here to be off on Christmas.”

Although just an experiment, the outcome was far greater than had been anticipated. Being one of the very few restaurants in the city that were open, the experiment was very successful; customers were both excited and enthusiastically grateful.

As for the nutcracker, Mallios, although discouraged he’ll ever see it again, hopes whomever was daring enough to trot off with the enormous decorative wooden object has a change of heart and returns it. For now, The Trio will share its next Christmas holiday season with one half of the nutcracker duo that customers were so accustomed to enjoying.