Finalists Announced for 2020 RAMMY Awards

Industry professionals and their fans tuned in online this afternoon as Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) announced finalists for the 2020 RAMMY Awards, the winners of which will be announced later this year. The new format was created to provide a welcome moment of celebration and positivity for its irrepressibly strong and community-minded industry.

Any RAMW member who met all category requirements was eligible for nomination. The selection process for the finalists, and ultimately the winners, involves 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 will decide the winners in four categories: Favorite Gathering Place of the Year, Upscale Brunch of the Year, Casual Brunch of the Year and Favorite Fast Bites of the Year. Votes for these categories will be cast online this summer (dates to be announced).

RAMW honors additional members with awards determined by RAMW’s Executive Committee including the Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year, presented to an Allied member who best exemplifies commitment to and support of RAMW, and the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award, which this year goes to Randy Norton of Great American Restaurants, for his dedication and leadership that has helped transform the region’s restaurant scene into today’s vibrant industry. The 2020 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award will be given to Mrs. K’s Toll House (90 years), Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company (30 years), and Vace Italian Delicatessen (44 years), dining staples celebrating a significant number of years serving locals and visitors in Metropolitan Washington.

The finalists for the 2020 RAMMY Awards are:

Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: The award is presented to an associate member who best exemplifies commitment to and support of RAMW. This award recipient is determined by RAMW’s Executive Committee.

  • Coastal Sunbelt Produce
  • Congressional Seafood Co.
  • Ecolab
  • Saval Foodservice
  • TriMark Adams-Burch

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, 2019.

  • Arcadia Farm
  • Atlas Brew Works
  • Ayrshire Farm
  • Bluejacket
  • Logan Sausage Co.

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.

  • Yesenia Neri Diaz, Espita Mezcaleria
  • Isael Granados, Roofers Union
  • Yasmin Orozco, Taco Bamba Taqueria – Springfield
  • Kyare Turner, Right Proper Brewing Co.
  • Jose Ventura, Rasika

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.

  • Jamal Flowers, Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co. – Alexandria
  • Charlie Idol, Mission Navy Yard
  • Rizza Leguro, Founding Farmers Tysons
  • Jeremy Mancuso, Old Ebbitt Grill
  • Bethany Wagener, Alta Strada – Mosaic

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 one year by December 31, 2019.

  • Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
  • Ristorante Piccolo
  • Rose’s Luxury
  • St. Anselm
  • The Red Hen

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 one year by December 31, 2019.

  • Bantam King
  • CHIKO – Capitol Hill
  • Duke’s Counter
  • Little Pearl
  • Stable

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 one year by December 31, 2019.

  • Centrolina
  • Chloe
  • Maydan
  • Poca Madre
  • Unconventional Diner

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.

  • Marcelle Afram, Maydan
  • Faiz Ally, Poca Madre
  • Angel Barreto, Anju
  • Jocelyn Law-Yone, Thamee
  • Yuan Tang, Rooster & Owl

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.

Caitlin Dysart, Centrolina

  • Olivia Green, Rooster & Owl
  • Katherine Thompson, Thompson Italian
  • Meagan Tighe, Trummer’s
  • Paola Velez, Kith/Kin

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, 2019.

  • Clarity
  • Field & Main
  • Primrose
  • St. Anselm
  • The Wine Kitchen – Frederick

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, 2019.

  • B Side
  • Caboose Brewing Co. – Vienna
  • Franklin Hall
  • Roofers Union
  • Sweetwater Tavern – Centreville

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, 2019.

  • China Chilcano
  • Colada Shop – DC
  • Officina
  • Royal
  • Service Bar

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 over and over again. The great atmosphere and good vibes are as important as the food and drink. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of one year by December 31, 2019.

  • Brookland’s Finest
  • Lapis
  • Quarry House Tavern
  • Stomping Ground
  • The Salt Line

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 casual 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, 2019.

  • Bindaas – Cleveland Park
  • Estadio
  • Seasons at the Four Seasons DC
  • St. Anselm
  • Trummer’s

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, 2019.

  • All-Purpose Shaw
  • Casolare Ristorante + Bar
  • Liberty Barbecue
  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
  • The Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse

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, 2019.

  • Call Your Mother Deli – Park View
  • Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly
  • RASA
  • Shouk
  • Sloppy Mama’s BBQ

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 one year by December 31, 2019.

  • Gravitas
  • Pineapple and Pearls
  • Rasika West End
  • The Conservatory at Goodstone Inn
  • Three Blacksmiths

New Restaurant of the Year: A restaurant that must have opened between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage and service.

  • Anju
  • Cane
  • Emilie’s
  • Punjab Grill
  • Rooster & Owl

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.

  • Matt Baker, Gravitas
  • David Deshaies, Unconventional Diner
  • Haidar Karoum, Chloe
  • Ryan Ratino, Bresca
  • Kevin Tien, Emilie’s

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.

  • Victor Albisu, Poca Madre, Taco Bamba Taqueria
  • Bo Blair, Georgetown Events (The Bullpen, Due South, Jetties, Millie’s, Surfside)
  • Mark Fedorchak, Stephen Fedorchak, and Brian Normile, The Liberty Tavern Group
  • Yama Jewayni, Katsuya Fukushima, and Daisuke Utagawa, Daikaya Group
  • Aaron Silverman, Rose’s Luxury, Pineapple and Pearls, Little Pearl

During these unprecedented times, RAMW commends its members for their resilience, innovation, and community support. The winners will be announced at The 38th Annual RAMMY Awards Gala, currently scheduled for Sunday, July 26, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. RAMW is considering an unspecified date later in the year with its partners at Events DC.

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News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.