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Here Are the 2017 Rammy Awards Winners

The D.C. restaurant world had some fun

2016 Rammy winner Scott Drewno presenting the award for chef of the year on Sunday, July 30.
Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater

Last night the local restaurant community paid tribute to its top performers, handing out awards touching on every aspect of the hospitality industry from food and beverage to office supplies. And while there were multiple references to wrapping things up in time to watch Game of Thrones — D.C. Council member Jack Evans joked that there’s just as much drama coming out of the White House these days — attendees seemed content to linger well into the evening.

The winners at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s 35th annual gala included:

  • Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award: Knightsbridge Restaurant Group founder Ashok Bajaj

“Washington has become a world-class dining destination … You all deserve all the credit,” Bajaj told told everyone piled into a ballroom at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. He shared the award with his staff, and dedicated the win to his parents.

  • Employee of the Year: Joseph Cassis, Passionfish/Bethesda
  • Restaurant Manager of the Year: John Grace, The Hamilton
  • Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Ryan Ratino, Ripple

The new American restaurant closed last month due to a decline in business, but Ratino is poised to open his first restaurant, Bresca, along the bustling 14th Street corridor this fall.

  • Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: DC Brau Brewing Co.

“This is your party. Thank you for inviting us to it,” a member of the DC Brau crew told fellow revelers.

  • Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
  • Upscale Brunch: Convivial
  • Casual Brunch: Republic
  • Favorite Fast Bites: Cava Grill
  • Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Proof

“It takes a village. Cheers and congratulations to everyone,” Proof general manager Morgan Fausett told attendees. Fat Baby, Inc., president Max Kuller thanked his father, the late Mark Kuller, for starting the restaurant, which just celebrated its 10-year-anniversary.

  • Casual Restaurant of the Year: Compass Rose Bar and Kitchen

“Thank you for giving us a chance and believing in us,” founder Rose Previte said during her acceptance speech. She is branching out this fall with globally inspired Maydan, the new restaurant her culinary team prepared for this summer by traveling to Turkey, Lebanon, and Tunisia (among other places)

  • Beer Program of the Year: Jack Rose Dining Saloon

The winners posed on stage for a selfie.

  • Cocktail Program of the Year: Kapnos
  • Wine Program of the Year: Charlie Palmer Steak
  • Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: Acme Paper and Supply Co.
  • Pastry Chef of the Year: Jemil Gadea, Masseria

“It’s … been ... such ... an ... amazing …” Gadea got all choked up, grasping for just the right words.

  • Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Minibar by José Andrés
  • Service Program of the Year: The Source by Wolfgang Puck

The Source also just celebrated its 10-year-anniversary; the iconic restaurant recently said goodbye to opening chef Scott Drewno — whose new Asian fusion restaurant, Chiko, deals in dumplings, brisket, and chilled noodle dishes — and installed new executive chef Russell Smith.

  • New Restaurant of the Year: Hazel

Chef Rob Rubba thanked everyone “working their butts off so I can stand here and look cool.”

Earlier this year, he showed Eater how to make his smoked onion ciabatta.

  • Restaurateur of the Year: Cava Group
  • Chef of the Year: Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
2017 chef of the year Tarver King.
Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater

“I’ve been wanting this for a long time,” King said upon receiving the award. He mentioned that his father had told him that the arrival of his daughter, which should happen in the coming weeks, would be one of the biggest moments in his life. “Till then, this will do,” King said.

Once the official business was completed, everyone let loose and just partied.

A branded ice sculpture at of the bars serving Rammy attendees.
Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater

Attendees were decked out in everything from shimmering ball gowns to backwards baseball caps. Other fashion statements included: a proper Scottish kilt; a member of the DC Brau contingent in lederhosen; one fellow in a cowboy hat with companion duster; a stark white Miami Vice-style suit; and a gentleman in a Hawaiian shirt and bamboo sandals. There were plenty of visible tattoos; the Barmini crew was sporting temporary ink displaying the name of the restaurant across their necks.

Spotted: Top Chef alum Carla Hall making the rounds; 701 Restaurant executive chef Bryan Moscatello waiting in line at the MYO roast beef sandwich station; Chiko co-founders Scott Drewno ad Danny Lee hanging at one of the many bars with Salt Line co-founder Jeremy Carman; Maketto founder Erik Bruner-Yang mingling with the crowd; Hank’s Oyster Bar founder Jamie Leeds chatting with fellow partygoers.

And while food was plentiful — there was everything from spice-crusted rotisserie chicken to zesty bulgogi to baked mussels — one first-timer was clearly unimpressed.

"They should have a REAL dinner here somewhere," the elderly guest said after surveying the taste-around format.

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

42461 Lovettsville Road, , VA 20180 (540) 822-9017 Visit Website

The Hamilton

600 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20005 (202) 787-1000 Visit Website


3417 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 202 244 7995 Visit Website

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

575 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, , DC 20565 (202) 637-6100 Visit Website

Compass Rose

1346 T Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 506-4765 Visit Website


1340 4th Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 608-1330 Visit Website

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown

1 Peabody Street, , MI 48009 (248) 671-1714 Visit Website

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

1612 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 319-1612 Visit Website


2201 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 234-5000 Visit Website


801 O Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 525-2870 Visit Website

Minibar by José Andrés

855 E Street NW , Washington, DC 20004 202 393 0812 Visit Website

Charlie Palmer Steak

101 Constitution Avenue Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 547-8100 Visit Website


300 12th Avenue South, , TN 37203

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 588-7388 Visit Website


6939 Laurel Avenue, , MD 20912 (301) 270-3000 Visit Website