In the wake of a Sept. 24 incident involving Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), downtown Italian eatery Fiola, located at 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, is temporarily hiring daily security guards. Cruz and his wife Heidi were dining at Fiola, owned by Fabio and Maria Trabocchi, when protesters stormed the restaurant.
The protesters yelled “We believe survivors!” in reference to the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, at which Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused him of sexual assault, was to testify later that week. Activists from groups like Smash Racism DC and Resist This, along with members of the LGBTQ community and anarchists, confronted the Cruzes. Cruz is known to be a Kavanaugh supporter.
The confrontation only lasted about a minute. After being escorted out a side door, the Cruzes later returned to Fiola to finish their meals.
In response, the Trabocchis issued a letter to patrons explaining their decision to hire guards. In the letter, the couple stated they had no idea how the protesters knew to come to Fiola.
Responding to suggestions in the media that they intentionally leaked that Cruz was dining there, the Trabocchis wrote: “As crazy as that idea is, the negative effects of the repetition of this false statement is unprecedented in our careers.”
Fiola’s social media accounts had to be taken down due to hateful comments. The reservation lines were busy with people taunting staff members and threatening the restaurant. Both Trabocchis have received death threats.
“We would have never thought such a thing was possible in the restaurant business,” the letter continued.
The Trabocchis said that Fiola cannot stay open unless everyone is welcomed, without regard to political affiliation. While saying that they understand D.C. is a political town, they made it clear they would “never participate in or would condone a protest of anyone of any political stripe inside one of our restaurants.”
Fiola is now focused on returning to normal.
“We normally have security on the weekends, but now we have hired security guards for every day to avoid incidents like what happened last week,” Maria Trabocchi told The Georgetowner. “We want to continue focusing on hospitality and make sure that our guests will have a memorable experience when dining with us.”