Trio Grille Restaurant is home to a weekly trivia contest that has been going on most Tuesdays for the past four years. Anyone who walks in can play, even if they’ve never played before. Customers can form teams of no more than ten people or can find a team to join.
Teams work together to come up with a list of answers to over 60 questions that are projected on a TV screen while being read aloud by emcee Emily Hoffman. The team that gets the most correct answers might win, however there is a jackpot twist. A team can bet some or all of its points before hearing a final jackpot question. So it’s anybody’s guess which team will win the $25 prize that week.
The evening I visited, there were seven teams in competition, with tables and chairs pushed together in various configurations. There was room for more; Hoffman told me there are often several more teams and the restaurant is full. I was there on a World Series game night.
Manager Don Huntington started the event with the help of his son Carey, who wrote the questions and researched the answers. Carey, an English teacher in Shanghai, became too busy to create the weekly games, so for the past couple of years, Don has purchased a power-point presentation of questions from an Australian company.
The Trivia Night atmosphere is friendly and welcoming to newcomers, but it is clear that many people have been there before and have formed long-standing teams. As each team reads each question and discusses the correct answer, Huntington serves as “arbiter” and “guard,” especially making sure that absolutely no cell phones are in use or even visible during the entire the contest.
Participants kid that they are playing “for the money,” and admit they are there for the fun, for a chance to visit with friends and for a night out with a nice group of people enjoying good food.