Photo of the 2018 RAMMY Awards by Laura Hayes

The restaurant industry had its black tie, red carpet awards ceremony last night at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center after somber days following the death of Anthony Bourdain. The sense of loss over of one of the greatest storytellers of this generation was palpable, nevertheless the event carried on with several awardees and presenters paying tribute.

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington puts on the RAMMY Awards each year, recognizing established and up-and-coming talent in the local restaurant scene. Only restaurants and bars who are members of the trade association are eligible to win awards. That’s why you won’t see restaurants like Bad Saint, The Dabney, Rose’s Luxury, Himitsu, and many other hotspots in the mix.

Most awards are voted on by a panel of anonymous judges, while others are publicly voted on or voted on by industry professionals. See the complete list of winners bolded and italicized below. 

Several of the evening’s big winners took the time to acknowledge and thank the women in their lives. Scott Drewno, during his acceptance speech for “Best New Restaurant” for ChiKo, concluded with, “We should all be feminists.”

Then José Andrés appeared on video from Guatemala. He provided a moving tribute to his wife, Patricia Fernandez de la Cruz, and three teenage daughters. Fernandez de la Cruz and Andrés received an award for “Exceptional Leadership and Impact.”

“Congratulations to my wife,” he said. “And every woman out there. All of the good things in the world, there’s usually a woman behind it.”

Many winners and presenters also used their time on stage to advocate against ballot initiative 77, including RAMW CEO Kathy Hollinger, “Employee of the Year” winner Andrea Tateosian, and Mayor Muriel Bowser

“I’m not voting for 77, and you shouldn’t either,” Bowser told the crowd of close to 2,500. “But don’t ask me, ask tipped workers.”

There were tipped workers sporting anti-77 pins and stickers; a short anti-77 video presentation featuring soundbites from tipped workers; anti-77 projections on the walls of the ballroom; and an anti-77 photo backdrop for attendees to pose in front of. Voters go to the polls on June 19, but early voting has already begun. 

Publicly voted categories:

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: This nominee is a restaurant rooted in its neighborhood where guests come to eat, drink, and get together with friends repeatedly. The great atmosphere and good vibes are as important as the food and drink. The nominee must have been open for at least 2 years prior to December 31, 2017.

  • Bar Charley
  • Cheesetique – Shirlington
  • Fare Well
  • Right Proper Brewing Company
  • The Daily Dish

Upscale Brunch of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of dining excellence and service for its brunch in an upscale environment. Brunch may be offered as full-service, buffet, or prix fixe. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of one year by December 31, 2017.

  • Osteria Morini
  • Seasons
  • Sfoglina
  • The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
  • The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Casual Brunch of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a dedication to dining excellence, service, and value in a casual environment for brunch. Brunch may be offered as full-service, buffet, or prix fixe. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2017.

  • Ambar Capitol Hill
  • Ari’s Diner
  • Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern
  • Maketto
  • Vinoteca

Favorite Fast Bites of the Year: This nominee is a delicatessen, quick-serve restaurant, mobile food vendor, or coffee shop (with food menu) that demonstrates a dedication to good food and good service in a fast-casual environment. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2017.

  • G by Mike Isabella
  • Moby Dick House of Kabob
  • Shouk
  • Stomping Ground
  • Taco Bamba Taqueria

Voted on by an anonymous panel of judges:

Cocktail Program of the Year: The establishment is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity and value of its craft cocktail program, evaluated separately from its beer, wine or other beverages. Nominees may be bars, restaurants, or any foodservice establishment with an exemplary cocktail program. The nominee continues to break new ground in education of its staff. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2017.

  • Bar Charley
  • barmini by José Andrés
  • Espita Mezcaleria
  • Petworth Citizen and Reading Room
  • Royal

Beer Program of the Year: The establishment is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity, and value of its beer program. Brewery restaurants and brew pubs are eligible for this category and will be judged based on the diversity and quality of their craft beer. The nominee continues to break new ground in education of its staff. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2017.

  • Brasserie Beck
  • Owen’s Ordinary
  • Republic
  • Roofers Union
  • The Sovereign

Wine Program of the Year: The establishment is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity and value of its wine program. The nominee’s wine program best suits the cuisine and style of the restaurant while enhancing the dining experience. Wine bars are eligible for this category and will be judged based on the diversity and quality of their offerings. The nominee continues to break new ground in education of its staff. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2017.

  • BOURBON STEAK
  • Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen
  • Le Diplomate
  • RANGE
  • Trummer’s on Main

Service Program of the Year: This nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of excellence in service across the restaurantfrom the reservation process, to the host station, to every element of the dining experience. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2017.

  • BOURBON STEAK
  • Le Diplomate
  • minibar by José Andrés
  • The Red Hen
  • Tosca

Pastry Chef of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant pastry chef who prepares desserts and baked goods and demonstrates a high standard of excellence and culinary artistry. The nominee serves as an inspiration to other food professionals. The nominee must have been a pastry chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.

  • Fabrice Bendano, Le Diplomate
  • Naomi Gallego, Neighborhood Restaurant Group
  • Tiffany MacIsaac, Buttercream Bakeshop
  • Pichet Ong, Maketto
  • Erin Reed, Blue Duck Tavern

Rising Culinary Star of the Year: The nominee is an “up and coming” chef who demonstrates exemplary talent, shows leadership and promise for the future. The nominee must have been based in the Metropolitan Washington area for a minimum of two years.

  • Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan, Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen & Maydan
  • Carlos Delgado, China Chilcano
  • Daniela Moreira, Timber Pizza Company
  • Michael Rafidi, Arroz & Requin
  • Russell Smith, The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Casual Restaurant of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a dedication to dining excellence, service and value in a casual environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2017.

  • Daikaya
  • Duke’s Grocery
  • Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern
  • Royal
  • Timber Pizza Company

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of dining excellence and service in an upscale casual environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2017.

  • Centrolina
  • Clarity
  • Iron Gate
  • Maketto
  • Sushi Taro

New Restaurant of the Year: A restaurant that must have opened between December 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage, and service.

  • Arroz
  • Bresca
  • ChiKo
  • Del Mar
  • Maydan

Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of excellence in food, service, and atmosphere, and shows dedication to sophisticated culinary techniques in a fine dining environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2017.

  • Fiola Mare
  • Masseria
  • Rasika
  • The Source by Wolfgang Puck
  • Trummer’s on Main

Chef of the Year: The nominee is an executive chef or chef de cuisine who demonstrates consistent standards of culinary excellence. The nominee displays a dedication to the artistry of food and may be from any type of establishment. The nominee must have been a chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.

  • Kyle Bailey, The Salt Line
  • Amy Brandwein, Centrolina
  • David Deshaies, Unconventional Diner
  • Katsuya Fukushima, Daikaya Group
  • Rob Rubba, Hazel

Restaurateur of the Year: The nominee must be a working restaurateur or restaurant group who sets high standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for a minimum of 5 years in the Metropolitan Washington area.

  • Stephen and Mark Fedorchak, and Brian Normile, Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group
  • Ari Gejdenson, Mindful Restaurants
  • Jamie Leeds, JL Restaurant Group
  • Daisuke Utagawa, Katsuya Fukushima and Yama Jewayni, Daikaya Group
  • Ype von Hengst and Bob Giaimo, Silver Diner & Silver

Otherwise voted on:

Employee of the Year: The nominee is a non-managerial front or back of the house employee who serves as a model employee by displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic, and a positive image.

  • Gerarda Lazo, Pizzeria Paradiso
  • Sharon Rissal, Jaleo, Bethesda
  • Pete Rymshaw, The Salt Line
  • Edgar Salvador, Centrolina
  • Andrea Tateosian, Urbana

Manager of the Year: The nominee is a non-owner manager or general manager in the food service industry who displays the highest level of professionalism and leadership. This person must be an inspiration and mentor to all his/her co-workers displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.

  • Julio Amador, Cork Wine Bar & Market
  • Daniel Coughlan, Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen
  • Matthew McQuilkin, Pizzeria Paradiso
  • Heidi Minora, Commissary
  • Adam Rigaa, Brasserie Beck

Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: This nominee is a food or beverage artisan who creates a product that is then utilized by chefs and restaurants. Nominees in this category may be cheese makers, coffee roasters, vintners, brewers, distillers, bread bakers, chocolatiers, honey producers, farmers, an ice cream/gelato company, and many more. When the artisan is a restaurant or restaurant group, the products created must be utilized by chefs and/or restaurants outside of the maker’s restaurant group. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of one year by December 31, 2017.

  • Atlas Brew Works
  • Bluejacket
  • Ivy City Smokehouse
  • Logan Sausage Co.
  • Right Proper Brewing Company