36th Annual RAMMY Awards Get Prized, Political

Dirty Habit Executive Chef Kyoo Eom serves up Bibimbap

Top foodservice industry professionals and their foodie fans gathered at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center this week for the 36th Annual RAMMY Awards.  Not only was there anticipation as Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) announced winners in 21 award categories, but the night also served as a mouthpiece for the industry surrounding the upcoming June 19th Initiative 77 vote to decide whether to eliminate the tipped minimum wage.

“What do restaurants mean to Washington, DC? And what do restaurant workers mean to our city?” contemplated DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, in attendance to honor awardees.  “The truth is that our economy is largely driven by hospitality.  It is largely driven by people going to restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to have fun; For conventioners to bring big groups to our city and enjoy the experience.  And we know it’s our restaurant workers who are at the heart of that experience. So let me say from the bottom of my heart ‘Thank you.'”

Publicist Lindley Richardson takes a photo of a server’s Initiative 77 VOTE NO pin

“So people ask me, ‘Bowser, What are you going to do on 77?’ and I say, ‘Well, I’m not voting for 77, and you shouldn’t either.’  But more than that, I said, ‘Don’t ask me.  Ask the workers what they think.’ And what I hear from them, because I’m in restaurants almost every single day, is that people are spending money in our restaurants and leaving great tips… and that is how our workers are supporting their families and affording a great quality of life in our region.”

Among those great restaurants providing an amazing DC experience were the 2018 RAMMY Award winners:

Upscale Brunch of the Year: Osteria Morini

Casual Brunch of the Year: Ambar Capitol Hill

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: The Daily Dish

Favorite Fast Bites of the Year: Moby Dick House of Kabob

Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan, Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen, Maydan

Beer Program of the Year: Owen’s Ordinary

Cocktail Program of the Year: Espita Mezcaleria

Wine Program of the Year: BOURBON STEAK

Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: USI Insurance Services

 Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: Right Proper Brewing Company

 Employee of the Year: Andrea Tateosian, Urbana

 Manager of the Year: Heidi Minora, Commissary

 Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Clarity

 Casual Restaurant of the Year: Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern

 Service Program of the Year: minibar by José Andrés

 Restaurateur of the Year: Ari Gejdenson, Mindful Restaurants

 Pastry Chef of the Year: Tiffany MacIsaac, Buttercream Bakeshop

 Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Masseria

 New Restaurant of the Year: CHIKO, and 

Chef of the Year: Amy Brandwein, Centrolina

The selection process for the winners involved two esteemed groups, the voting public and an anonymous panel of volunteer judges, consisting of food and dining journalists, educators and foodservice industry professionals. The voting public decided the winners in four categories (Favorite Gathering Place of the Year, Upscale Brunch, Everyday Casual Brunch and Favorite Fast Bites) and you’ll decide your favorites as you make reservations NOW to try out each of these places for yourself.  And head to the polls to support on June 19th! 

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