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RAMMY Awards for Local Restaurants Won’t Announce Finalists Until May

RAMW wants to release the news when it can help members rebound from the coronavirus outbreak

Nominees on stage at the 2019 RAMMYs
A scene from last year’s RAMMYs

An announcement listing the finalists for the RAMMYs, local awards doled out at an annual gala by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, has been delayed by more than a month while eating and drinking establishments try to stay afloat during a novel coronavirus outbreak that has devastated their businesses.

Nominees and curious diners will now find out who made the cut on May 4 instead of this upcoming Monday, March 30. A spokesperson for RAMW says the anonymous judging panel of media members has already made their selections in preparation for the original announcement date, so the finalists are set.

“The RAMMYS signifies so much in terms of celebration and recognition and we want to make sure that message carries through in a way that will feed into the marketing recovery of what will be needed for our operators, finalists, and our allied community,” a RAMW statement says.

The District’s current dine-in ban is active through April 25.

While restaurant workers around the country file a record number of unemployment claims and owners await the passage of a $2 trillion stimulus package, D.C. area operators are either getting by on delivery and takeout or opting to close their doors and wait out the storm.

The 38th annual awards gala is still set for Sunday, July 26, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Started in 1982, the awards gala has grown to a massive celebratory event with a catered party and a red carpet that draws more than 2,300 people. Last year’s winners include Kyle Bailey of the Salt Line for Chef of the Year, Spoken English for New Restaurant of the Year, and Kwame Onwuachi (KIth/Kin) for Rising Culinary Star.

On a national level, the James Beard Foundation announced on March 16 it would delay releasing its own list of finalists.