RAMW, 2016

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Restaurateur Mike Isabella grabbed the mic last night and told everyone bumping uglies on the dance floor that it was time to bleepin’ party. His audience? Thousands of restaurant and bar professionals and their keepers at the 2017 RAMMY Awards. The annual Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington gala celebrates the best of the best—but with some major caveats.  

Namely, you have to be a member of the association to be considered, and some of the newest and hippest restaurants in town haven’t joined. They include Bad Saint, Rose’s Luxury, Pineapple & Pearls, The Dabney, Columbia Room, Kinship, and more. And the rules governing the awards are also exclusionary in that a restaurant or bar can’t be nominated for a full five years after a win.

Take a look at the nominees and winners below but first, note that those in Northwest D.C. won big. Thirteen of 19 winners (68 percent) are located there or have a location there, such as CAVA. Navy Yard, H Street NE, and beyond were shut out. The Northwest advantage was even more pronounce last year—with 14 of 19 winners (74 percent). Relatedly, check out this research from the D.C. Policy Center that shows the breakdown of restaurants, clubs, and bars by neighborhood.

D.C. Policy Center

Perhpas this could change next year with the addition of The Salt Line, ChiKo, Stable, Joselito Casa de Comidas, and more.

Maryland and Virginia did OK. Tarver King took home the chef of the year honor for his Lovettsville, Virginia, restaurant The Inn at Patowmack Farm. Meanwhile, Republic in Takoma Park, Maryland, received three nominations and won the RAMMY for best casual brunch.

It will be interesting to see whether Michelin finds more worthy dining destinations in the suburbs, as it’s considering widening the guide to include Maryland and Virginia for the 2018 edition that drops Oct. 17. 

The 2017 winners (bold and underlined) are below, followed by the finalists:

New Restaurant of the Year: A restaurant that must have opened between Dec. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2016 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage, and service.

Hazel

All Purpose

Kōbō

Requin

Whaley’s

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.

Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Amy Brandwein, Centrolina

Erik Bruner-Yang, Maketto and Paper Horse

Austin Fausett, Proof

Katsuya Fukushima, Bantam King, Daikaya and Haikan

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.

Ryan Ratino, Ripple

Sasha Felikson, Doi Moi

Miranda Rosenfelt, Sally’s Middle Name

Rob Rubba, Hazel

Piter & Handry Tjan, Kōbō and Sushiko

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 five years in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri Moshovitis, Ted Xenochristos, and Brett Schulman, Cava Group, Inc.

Ari Gejdenson, Mindful Restaurants

The Kuller Family, Fat Baby Inc.

Jamie Leeds, JL Restaurant Group

Daisuke Utagawa, Katsuya Fukushima, and Yama Jewayni, Daikaya Group

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

minibar by José Andrés

Fiola Mare

The Source by Wolfgang Puck 

Sushi Taro

Trummer’s On Main

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen

Daikaya

The Daily Dish

Duke’s Grocery

Mandu, 18th Street

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

Proof

Central Michel Richard

Indique

Iron Gate

The Red Hen

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 two years prior to Dec. 31, 2016.

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen

The Front Porch at Evening Star Cafe

Lauriol Plaza

Petworth Citizen & Reading Room

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

Convivial

Del Campo

Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

Republic

Cava Mezze – Capitol Hill

DGS Delicatessen

Maketto

Sixth Engine

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

Cava Grill

Beefsteak

Chase the Submarine

G by Mike Isabella

Taco Bamba Taqueria

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 food service 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 Dec. 31, 2016.

Kapnos by Mike Isabella

barmini by José Andrés

Indique

Iron Gate

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

B Side

District Commons

Republic

Roofers Union

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

Charlie Palmer Steak

Bourbon Steak

Doi Moi

Fiola

minibar by José Andrés

Service Program of the Year: This nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of excellence in service across the restaurant—from 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 Dec. 31, 2016.

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

The Bombay Club

minibar by José Andrés

Ripple

RIS

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. 

Jemil Gadea, Masseria

Mollie Bird, Kyirisan

Tiffany MacIsaac, Buttercream Bakeshop

Brandon Malzahn, Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants

Erin Reed, Blue Duck Tavern

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 Dec. 31, 2016.

DC Brau Brewing Company

Atlas Brew Works

Logan Sausage

New Columbia Distillers/Green Hat

Right Proper Brewing Company

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.

Joseph Cassis, PassionFish Bethesda

Noe Alfaro, Republic

Heather Berry, Bar Pilar

David Perry, RIS

David Trezevant, Carmine’s Family Style Italian Restaurant

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.

John Grace, The Hamilton

Julio Amador, Cork Wine Bar

Christine Gibson, Iron Gate

Matthew McQuilkin, Pizzeria Paradiso

Margaret Perry, Kyirisan