City Desk

RIP: Dimitri Mallios, ‘Dean’ of D.C. Liquor Lawyers

Dimitri P. Mallios, Washington's "dean of Alcoholic Beverage Control attorneys," died yesterday at 77.

Mallios was first among a relatively small cadre of D.C. attorneys representing restaurants, bars, clubs, and hotels in front of city liquor authorities; his services helped myriad establishments navigate an arcane licensing process and fend off countless neighbors and advisory neighborhood commissions.

He had been battling cancer for more than five years, says his law partner Steve O'Brien. Mallios had been active and practicing before his illness suddenly worsened a week ago.

O'Brien, a longtime competitor of Mallios' before their practices recently merged, says he cut a swath in the legal community that will not soon be filled. "Dmitri was my partner for three years; he was my friend for 30 years. Everything I know about alcoholic beverage law I learned from Dimitri. He is irreplaceable."

Legendary trial lawyer Jacob Stein counted Mallios as a friend for 40 years. "Personally, he had a great sense of humor," he says, and as a lawyer, "he was practical, sensible, empirical, and had no traces of ideology....A client who retained him would get the best service on offer."

"He was splendid with clients," Stein added, "and the clients are often very difficult to deal with."

Laurie Collins, a former ABC board member and a fellow parishioner at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral remembers him as "a sweet, sweet man and a good lawyer."

"He was loved by not only the business community, which he mostly represented," she says, "but I think the community was very fond of him. He was very fair."

Andrew J. Kline, general counsel to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington and another titan of the liquor bar, remembers him as "someone who was respected by his clients, his colleagues....He knew how to represent folks in the hospitality industry and represent them well."

The "dean" label, incidentally, was well earned—Mallios was referred to as such in a footnote to a D.C. Council committee report on a late '90s rewrite of the city alcoholic beverage laws. LL will also add that Mallios' checkbook will be missed by city officeholders—he was a frequent donor to local candidates.

But his friends will miss him more.

Says Kline, "I loved him. He was my friend, and we'll all miss him a lot."

Adds Stein, "I really, really miss him. He is a part of my own existence. There are certain things that he and I knew about that we would talk about, and now have I no one to talk about them with."

UPDATE, 2:49 P.M.: Lynne Breaux, RAMW president, notes that Mallios was recipient of her organization's Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award this year. That honor goes to "an individual whose dedication and leadership have helped transform Washington’s restaurant scene into today’s vibrant and thriving industry."

His write-up in the awards program: "Known as the dean of Washington’s Alcoholic Beverage Control attorneys, Dimitri Mallios is also called THE man to know…and the man to thank when you order your next margarita. Dimitri grew up in the restaurant business in DC – Trio, one of Washington’s classics – and attended GWU, undergraduate and law, giving him a distinct advantage of native regional knowledge. As described by the Washington Business Journal, Dimitri is “soft spoken but effective. Direct but respectful. Tough but good hearted.” A rare individual and an exceptional lawyer, we toast Dimitri Mallios and his significant contribution to the restaurant industry in the Washington Metropolitan area." More here.

UPDATE, 9/21: Restaurateur and impresario Joe Englert offers a less reverent but plenty heartfelt tribute to Mallios at Young & Hungry.

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  • L. Asher Corson

    Dimitri represented the best an ABC lawyer could be. He fiercely protected his clients while maintaining respect for the community. He will be missed.

  • Joel Lawson

    I once had to negotiate with Dimitri over a situation where a client of his was driving the process towards a complete war with neighbors, the ANC and our citizens assoc. Dimitri had to deliver some very tough love to his client, and did so; he kept his word, understanding what was best for the overall community in the situation. He was frank, realistic, and rare in District matters, did not waste time.

  • Lisa Sigler

    I worked with Mr. Mallios for 9 years. He was such a wonderful man to work for. He would always tell me, say my name it opens a lot of doors. It surely did. As the article says he is THE man to know, and yes he definitely was. Such an incredible man.... prayers to his family may God comfort them during this difficult time. I will miss him but will cherish all the great memories at Margolius, Mallios, Davis, Rider & Tomar.

  • Fabio and Patricia Beggiato

    They don't make them like Dimitri anymore; he was one of a kind, a legend in his field, a friend and someone you could always count on to tell like it is- and stories he could tell!!!
    He was honest and got things done; he could navigate through the politics and regulations in this city like no one else!
    We are so grateful for his years of advice and friendship.

  • LC

    Viewing at Gawler's tomorrow from 6-9p--will probably be in the Post tomorrow with more details. Church services at St. Sophia's. If you've never been there, it is an incredibly beautiful church.

    RIP my sweet friend.

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  • Pam & Lynn (Dimitri’s Daughters)

    To a truly one of a kind father,

    Words cannot express how much you will be missed, but you will remain in our hearts forever.

    We love you,

    Pam & Lynn

  • Mike Silverstein

    Dmitri's word was his bond. He was a gentle, good man of remarkable courage. A great friend and an even better storyteller, he could make a business meeting both productive and joyful. I will miss him terribly and his name and memory will be for a blessing.

    Farewell, friend.

  • Bill Petros

    Dimitri was a loving husband and father, a brilliant attorney, and a faithful Christian. May his memory be everlasting.

  • LC

    The family will be receiving visitors at Gawlers Funeral Home 5130 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC on Friday evening September 18th between 6-9 pm.

    Services will be held at Saint Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral 2815 36th Street NW (36th Street & Massachusetts Avenue), Washington, DC on Saturday September 19th at 10:30am, with internment immediately following at Parklawn Cemetery 12800 Veirs Mill Rd, Rockville, MD. The family will be hosting a Makaria (luncheon) for family and friends at Mykonos Restaurant 121 Congressional Lane, Rockville, MD following internment services.

  • Diane E. Eisman

    What can I say. I started with Jim Rider a year or two before Mr. Mallios' before the firms merged. I didn't work "for" Mr. Mallios unless he was in a pinch - or Julie took 10 minutes off". Mr. Mallios was a gentleman, who was quicker with a compliment or a joke than with a complaint. He was direct, honest, and open. If he touched your life, you knew you were all the better for it. I wish I could be there, but Texas is a long way. I just wanted the family to know that although I have been gone 5 years, he always remained in my thoughts and heart. Bless all of you.

  • Peter & Tami Mallios

    Uncle Dimitri, there will always be an empty place in our hearts. We will miss your wit, your charm, your business acumen, your love – we will miss everything about you!

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  • Rick Rosendall

    As a community activist who encounterred Dimitri a number of times in connection with ABC matters, I admired his professionalism, toughness, and good humor. He always knew his stuff, and as a resident and customer of the city's hospitality industry I raise my glass to his memory.

  • Walter Adams

    Unfortunately, I was always on the opposite side of Dmitri's clients. There is no doubt that he was agreat advocate. He is a legand and he will be missed.

  • Olivette

    “The Great Mallios”

    Mr. Mallios was indeed such a wonderful person/boss with a great heart and a great sense of humor. I still find it hard to believe that he is no longer here. I had the pleasure of being his secretary/assistant for the past two years. My family and friends have all told me that they felt like they knew Mr. Mallios because I spoke so highly and often of him. Mr. Mallios touched a lot of lives in such a positive way, including mine. His Spirit will live on forever. I will miss him dearly and HE will never be forgotten. Peace, Prayer, and Blessings!!


  • Karyn-Siobhan Robinson

    "Stand up guy" is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Dimitri. My first VA negotiation as a new ANC Commissioner was with him and he was terrific. Tough, but fair. He knew his stuff and did not take advantage of the fact that I did not know mine. He was actually quite kind about it.

    I think the neighborhood breathed a little easier when Dimitri was involved in a negotiation. He did not live by the 'win at any cost' credo. He wanted the neighborhood and his client to co-exist – if possible – without bad blood. He understood that long after his part in the deal was done, neighbors would have to live side by side.

    Good men must die, but death can not kill their names ---Proverbs

  • Prav Saraff

    Mr Mallios,

    You were, and still are, an institution and inspiration in this town. I still remember the first day I met you. You have left an impression on my family that will be with us forever. Words fail to describe the bond my father shared with you and the way he spoke of and thought about you.

    I guess God was getting lonely up there and wanted one of his best creations...I know you are in a better place now. I hope you and all your loved ones know that you have touched so many more people than imaginable.

    Thank you many times over for the memories and the place you have built in our hearts!

    You will be terribly missed but not forgotten!

  • Joshua Putterman

    Dear Dimitri:

    You are going to be so terribly missed. Kristina and I are going to miss hearing your laughter and share in your bonhomie. We are honored to have known you.

    Love, Joshua and Kristina

  • Lynn & Pam

    We are finding such comfort reading all these blogs. They are all so sweet & we recognize all of you. Thank you for writing such wonderful words. We miss my father so much, he was one of a kind , but we really feel so lucky to have had him.He was the best father anyone could have asked for.


    Lynn & Pam

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