The Rammy Awards celebrated the past year's highlights in restaurant openings, menu standouts, and more. Find the winners here. It all went down at a gala event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Sunday evening. Read on for Hangover Observations from the gathering.
1. *No longer a Susan Lucci: After nine years of working in D.C., this was Mike Isabella's first Rammy Award. He thanked his patient wife for letting him "work every fucking day, seven days a week."
2. Fashion notes: The industry definitely brought its fashion game this year, with plenty of sequins, a handful of kilts, both suits and tuxedos, fur stoles, peacock fascinators, and lots of cobalt blue and pink dresses. The Red Hen's Sebastian Zutant sported green hair when he accepted the restaurant's award for wine program of the year.
3. Always on the clock: Bub and Pop's took home the award for "favorite fast bites," a nice win for the owners, who had to rush over to the restaurant in their formal wear to tend to a refrigeration problem before the ceremony.
4. He's still here: Bob Kinkead accepted the Duke Ziebert Capital Achievement Award with a touching speech, speaking of the "incredible highs and soul-crushing lows" of the restaurant industry (and throwing in a reference to the iconic musical theatre number, "I'm Still Here," in the process).
5. Speech trends: Thanking your mother, thanking your publicist, thanking another restaurant's publicist, thanking your competitors.
6. A restaurant with history: Curious why there was a Martin Luther King, Jr. photo displayed to close out the video history of The Occidental? The Civil Rights leader dined there in 1963 while staying at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel.
7. A somber note: Scott Drewno, accepting his chef of the year award, addressed the tragic mass-shooting in Orlando during his speech. He said of the industry, "We've always been outcasts... but the one thing beautiful about us is our acceptance. If you have passion, heart, desire, we want you on our team. if we come together there's nothing we can't accomplish. All we read about is hate, but our industry is all about love and acceptance."
8. A Blue Duck shoutout: When giving Blue Duck Tavern the award for Upscale Casual Brunch (not to be confused with the hard-to-differentiate-between-the-two Everyday Casual Brunch), newscaster Leon Harris called the restaurant, "the best place to be drunk and full by 1 p.m." Touche.
9. BLIND ITEM! Guess which restaurant group continues to bring its own wine to the festivities — and can be quite generous about sharing?
10. Time to party: The party at the Convention Center after the ceremony included lots of dancing, quirky photo booths, headphones for listening to quips from chefs interviewed before the awards, empanadas, dulce de leche cookies, bibimbap, and a particularly tasty cocktail from Barmini. After the official celebration, attendees headed to such locations as Graffiato and Iron Gate for festive after-parties.