Spotlight: Trio Restaurant

Where Palm Springs Eats

Posted By: Friday, November 30, 2018

By Kevin Perry

 

Our hometown is a wonderland of indulgence, and Tony Marchese is its emcee of excess. He’s a born showman, drawing you in with a gruff guffaw and then ushering you deeper into the Inland Empire of upscale partying.

 

“I think if someone hasn’t been to Palm Springs, it’s gotta be on their to-do list. It’s a place that’s like no other,” Marchese beams. “I had done real estate in Chicago and had a client that bought a condo here for a really low price and I said, ‘Well, I like Palm Springs!’ But I like Palm Springs because it’s a small town with a lot of big-town people in it.”

 

Trio
Source: Trio

The Chi-Town transplant recounts how he was initially wooed him from the Windy City to the warmth of the desert. “It was 2009, the economy wasn’t that great, so rents were a lot less, and my partner at the time and I decided, ‘Let’s do it’ and we did it! Nine years later, we’re still there and we’re Where Palm Springs Eats.”

 

Marchese wields his ubiquitous motto like a magic wand, hypnotizing you into a hunger for gourmet dining and luxurious surroundings. “We joke about Trio Is Where Palm Springs Eats, but it is a good representation of the city: the energy, the vibe, just the building itself, which was built in 1958 as a bank, so it has everything that Palm Springs is offering. The coolness, the be-yourself, do-whatever-you-want kinda thing, personality. I mean, Trio has its own personality.”

 

And that personality is pure Tony Marchese. His character is as intoxicating as his bar menu, and it pervades the atmosphere at his establishment from its foundation to its fabulous crew. “One of my staff says, ‘Working at Trio’s not a job; it’s a lifestyle.’ When you work at Trio, you get friendly with the customers, they all know your name, you see them out.”

 

And it’s easy to spot a Trio devotee on the town, thanks to the restaurant’s signature hue. “When people wear orange, they think of Trio. That’s our color. We have ladies that come into the restaurant and it’s like ‘You wore orange tonight, I’m gonna put you to work!’”

 

Trio
Source: Trio

Fashion plates mingle with dinner plates at Trio, which is located in one of the most iconic neighborhoods in Riverside County. “We weren’t the first ones in the Uptown Design District, but we were definitely the one that made the biggest splash in the neighborhood,” boasts Marchese. “Trio’s fun, it’s casual, it’s affordable, everybody’s welcome, so it always has a great vibe, and we embrace the gay community, obviously.”
 

To paraphrase Spider-Man, with great partying comes great responsibility. Sure, Tony is all about entertaining, but he’s even more committed to a deeper sense of belonging.

 

“We work so closely with so many different agencies in the gay community: DAP [Desert AIDS Project], I’m on the board of AAP, Food Samaritans, and so because we’re gay owners of a restaurant, we became very close with many agencies and we’ve always given back.” Growing even more reflective, Marchese elaborates, “Trio was built on community and it was built on giving back and it was built for coaching and developing staff. You can’t open businesses because it’s for the money; you have to have a passion for it, you have to really want to do it.”

 

And that passion has paid off; not just financially, but iconically. “I think Trio’s a great representation of Palm Springs and what it offers in the diversity, the energy, the excitement of it all, yeah! I’m not just saying that because it’s my restaurant, it’s just because I think it is what it is. We built it to be Where Palm Springs Eats.”

 

Trio
Source: Trio

There’s that motto again. He lives it, he breathes it, and he takes his role as hometown host deliriously seriously. “I think what sets us apart is the sense of, when you walk in the door, you feel welcome, and you just feel like you want to have a good time. There’s not many grumpy people who come to Trio!”

Trio Palm Springs
Source: Trio Palm Springs

Our interview soon devolves into an avalanche of playful chuckles. It’s impossible to keep a straight face when confronted with Tony’s arsenal of infectious laughter. When asked for a teaser of what’s to come for Marchese, he quips, “A teaser? Not much of my life is private, so I don’t know what would be a teaser!”

 

Well, we can predict one thing for sure: the forecast calls for more laughs, more love, and more of the decadence with which Trio is synonymous. Smiles are served…

 

Trio Restaurant

707 N Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, CA. 92262 | 760-864-TRIO (8746)

 

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