When Chef Fabio Trabocchi‘s Fiola first opened its doors in Penn Quarter on April 8, 2011, it had humble aspirations. The James Beard Award-winning chef wanted to run a simple trattoria, with a menu featuring straightforward, regional Italian cooking.
From such a modest beginning, however, Fiola spurred on a culinary juggernaut as the “jewel in the crown” of Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants, which now spans more than a half dozen locations in the US and Italy. Fiola DC has become a fine dining destination for foodies around the world, and its now signature tasting menu format has earned it a variety of accolades, including a coveted Michelin star rating.
Saturday served as the restaurant’s tenth birthday and, as it says, the Best Is Yet to Come. Literally: During April, all guests will be offered a complimentary cocktail of that name featuring mint-infused Belvedere vodka, Brachetto d’Acqui wine, rhubarb and Angostura bitters, and Dom Pérignon Champagne.
Patrons at this weekend’s anniversary dinner were further treated to a special six-course meal, with Trabocchi joining Executive Chef Josh Kaplan and Pastry Chef Claudia Barrovecchio in the kitchen for the occasion.
Meanwhile, newly appointed General Manager Giuseppe Formica and Corporate Wine & Spirits Director Casper Rice kept guests happy in the front of the house across two separate seatings—no small feat when each new table turn begins with a freshly ironed tablecloth and only grows in complexity from there. Rice is no stranger to going the extra mile, though, for guests and oenophiles alike. A fact that probably explains why Fiola is the only restaurant in Washington to boast a Grand Award from Wine Spectator.
Over the years, a parade of VIPs and notables have passed through Fiola’s doors, including Jennifer Aniston and former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary there in 2017.
But this weekend’s festivities wasn’t about the celebrities. It was about the restaurant’s regulars, who Trabocchi enthusiastically greeted between courses as he bounded between the patio, dining room, and kitchen. Trabocchi had even invited two employees who had been with the company for the entire ten years it has been in business to be his guests for dinner.
And it’s those kind of personal touches that will ensure that Fiola will be around for at least another decade.