Some of the best and the brightest received recognition lately from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) at the annual RAMMY Awards, held as a black tie gala at the Washington Convention Center.
While the lavish awards program was the focus of the day, many awardees and the association itself spoke in opposition to DC Initiative 77, which would eliminate tipped wages at restaurants in favor of a universal wage by 2026 if enacted in a vote on Tuesday, June 19.
RAMW and its members oppose the initiative, which they argue would lower the standard of living for bartenders and servers, many of whom say they make a good living in DC thanks to tips. In her introduction to the RAMMY Awards on June 10, RAMW President Kathy E. Hollinger said, Initiative 77 is being pushed by people who are not from our city, donít know our city, and donít know what it takes to succeed — in reference to the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a national advocacy organization supporting for the initiative.
Here are the award winners in the primary categories in the 36th Annual RAMMY Awards (in reverse order of presentation to put the top awards at the beginning).
1. Chef of the Year: Amy Brandwein, Centrolina
Centrolina (974 Palmer Alley NW, DC), an Italian restaurant and market, quickly became a hit in the new City Center DC development.
2. Exceptional Leadership & Impact Award: Jose Andres and his wife, Patricia Fernandez de la Cruz
Jose Andres and Patricia Fernandez de la Cruz, of course, run World Central Kitchen, which has been feeding people in disaster areas since its establishment. Jose delivered a word of thanks for the award in a video address from Venezuela, where he was directing food distribution to disaster-stricken people, while Patricia accepted the award on their behalf.
3. New Restaurant of the Year: CHIKO
The founders team behind Chiko (423 8th St. SE, DC) plan to expand their Barracks Row fast casual restaurant and its delectable take on Chinese and Korean food (hence “Chiko).
4. Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Masseria
The wonderfully romantic Masseria (1340 4th St. NE, DC) sits outside Union Market but feels like it’s a world away while serving up delicious Italian food.
5. Pastry Chef of the Year: Tiffany MacIsaac, Buttercream Bakeshop
Visit Buttercream Bakeshop (1250 9th St. NW, DC) for baked goods and treats.
6. 2018 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award: Tony Cibel of Tony and Joe’s
Tony Cibel received a milestone award from RAMW, presented by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, for his waterfront seafood establishment, Tony and Joe’s (3000 K St. NW, DC)
7. Restaurateur of the Year: Ari Gejdenson, Mindful Restaurants
Mindful Restaurants operates Ari’s Diner (2003 Fenwick St. NE, DC) and other popular establishments around town.
8. Service Program of the Year: minibar by Jose Andres
minibar (855 E St. NW, DC), the four-star restaurant founded by Jose Andres, added to its collection of accolades with recognition of its service program.
9. Casual Restaurant of the Year: Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern
Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern (1356 Okie St. NE, DC) heralded revival of the Ivy City neighborhood long before its recognition as Casual Restaurant of the Year.
10. Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Clarity
Find creative New American fare on the menu at Clarity (442 Maple Ave. E, Vienna, Virginia).
11. Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award: Daniel Coleman of The Dubliner
Danny Coleman founded The Dubliner (4 F St. NW, DC) in 1974, and the Irish pub is still going strong, serving traditional fare and beer near Union Station.
12. Manager of the Year: Heidi Minora, Commissary
Neigbhorhood cafe Commissary (1443 P St. NW, DC) has long been a staple of Logan Circle.
13. Employee of the Year: Andrea Tateosian, Urbana
Andrea Tateosian, now a manager at Urbana (2121 P St. NW, DC), accepted Employee of the Year for her work at the wine bar. Declaring herself a proud Millenial, she took a selfie of herself accepting her award with the RAMMY audience in the background.
14. Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: Right Proper Brewing Company
Thor Cheston enthusiastically accepted the RAMMY Award on behalf of Right Proper Brewing Co. (624 T St. NW, DC), its Shaw pub a darn good place to enjoy one of its original beers.
15. Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: USI Insurance Services
USI Insurance Services wisely said thanks, and returned the balance of its time (at least 25 seconds of its 30-second window) back to the restaurants with which it partners.
16. Wine Program of the Year: Bourbon Steak
Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC) was a front-runner for best wine program due to fine wines curated and served by Head Sommelier Winn Roberton and his team.
17. Cocktail Program of the Year: Espita Mezcaleria
The win by the cocktain program for Espita Mezcaleria (1250 9th St. NW, DC) spoke in part to the rising popularity of mezcal in recent years!
18. Beer Program of the Year: Owen’s Ordinary
Owen’s Ordinary (11820 Trade St., North Bethesda, Maryland) struck a win for the suburbs with beer programming by Greg Engert of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group.
19. Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan, Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen, Maydan
Chris Morgan of Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen (1346 T St. NW, DC) and Maydan (1346 Florida Ave. NW, DC) called DC a place where people truly help other people, which might happen everywhere but not as much as here!
20. Favorite Fast Bites of the Year: Moby Dick House of Kabob
Moby Dick Houe of Kabob (many locations), a longtime kabob chain, won the award for Favorite Fast Bites of the Year in one of four categories open to voting by the public.
21. Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: The Daily Dish
Favorite Gathering Place of the Year went to The Daily Dish (8301 Grubb Rd., Silver Spring, Maryland) with its colorful take on locally sourced American fare in a vote that was open to the public.
22. Casual Brunch of the Year: Ambar Capitol Hill
Ambar (523 8th St. SE, DC), the popular Barracks Row eatery, received recognition as Casual Brunch of the Year, thanks to its modern take on Serbian food in a public vote.
23. Upscale Brunch of the Year: Osteria Morini
Osteria Morini (301 Water St. SE, DC) streamed their receipt of RAMMY Award for Upscale Brunch of the Year, selected by participating public voters, live in its restaurant from a smartphone!
For more information on the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and the RAMMY Awards, visit http://www.ramw.org. Parklife DC sides with RAMW and our friends in the hospitality industry who oppose DC Initiative 77. Vote NO on June 19. For more on opposition to DC Initiative 77, visit https://saveourtips.com.