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D.C.’s Local Restaurant Awards Pivot With New Honors for Fancy Takeout, Pop-Ups, and Patios

The Rammy’s are pausing categories like Chef and Restaurant of the Year to recognize the absurdity of operating in a pandemic

A vegan cheesesteak with mushrooms and sunflower seed-based whiz from Oyster Oyster
A vegan cheesesteak with mushrooms and sunflower seed-based whiz from Oyster Oyster
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Rather than treating 2021 as regular year, the D.C.-area’s local restaurant association is mixing up its annual Rammy awards with a long list of new categories that recognize how drastically the COVID-19 pandemic changed the hospitality industry.

This year’s awards, slated for Sunday, September 19, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, won’t include a Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, or a Rising Star. Instead Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington announced a batch of finalists yesterday in categories that honor creative takeout packaging, sandwich pop-ups, patio scenery, improvised markets, virtual cooking classes, and philanthropic efforts in the community, all of which mark a change from 2020’s mostly virtual awards.

RAMW is also opening up the awards to non-members, meaning restaurants don’t have pay dues to be considered. A large chunk of the categories will be decided by a month of online voting, starting Monday, August 2. General admission tickets to the gala cost $325 a piece, which covers the awards ceremony, dinner, dancing, and a reception. Here’s a look at all the finalists. The public votes on categories flagged with an asterisk , and a Rammy committee picks the others.

Formal Fine Dining in a Box

  • Brasserie Liberté
  • Bresca
  • Chloe
  • Cranes
  • Fiola
  • Mintwood Place
  • Rasika
  • Rooster and Owl
  • Saund and Snyder
  • The Dabney

Most Innovative To-Go Packaging Game

  • Daikaya
  • Jaleo
  • Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab
  • Julii
  • Oyster Oyster
  • Rose’s Luxury/Rose’s At Home
  • Stable DC
  • Sushi Taro
  • Sushiko
  • The Duck & The Peach

Outstanding Covid-Safe Redesign (Indoors or Outdoors)

  • Ben’s Chili Bowl
  • Clarity
  • Clyde’s Restaurant Group
  • Equinox Restaurant
  • Fiola Mare
  • Glover Park Grill
  • HalfSmoke
  • Maydan
  • St. Anselm
  • The Park at 14th

Most Impressive Pivot to Provisions or Market

  • ANXO Cidery
  • Bar Charley, El Chucho, and Little Coco’s
  • Coconut Club
  • Founding Farmers
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar/Current Catch
  • Neighborhood Restaurant Group
  • Officina
  • Seoulspice
  • Thamee
  • Walters Sports Bar

Good Neighbor Award

Individual Honors

  • Erik Bruner-Yang, Power of 10 Initiative
  • Willa Pelini, Paola Velez, and Rob Rubba, Bakers Against Racism
  • Anna Valero, Hook Hall Helps
  • Mark Bucher and Medium Rare, Feed The Fridge
  • Danny Lee, Support of Immigrant and AAPI Community
  • Kevin Tien and Tim Ma, Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate - DC
  • Jon Krinn, Chefs Feeding Northern VA, Taste of DC in VA
  • David Guas, Bayou Bakery Soup Kitchen, BEAN-EFIT
  • Micheline Mendelsohn and Spike Mendelsohn, National Guard Inauguration Program, and More
  • Edward Lee, The LEE Initiative

Company/Organization Honors

  • Coconut Club
  • Immigrant Food
  • Keany Produce & Gourmet
  • KNEAD Hospitality + Design
  • Little Sesame
  • Peruvian Brothers
  • Pizzeria Paradiso
  • RASA
  • Saval Foodservice
  • World Central Kitchen

*Outstanding Ghost Kitchen or Pop-up Concept*

  • Ama Ami “homakase”
  • DC Ghostburger
  • Denizen’s Brewing Co., Sunday Gravy
  • Fat Choi Hot Pot
  • Ghostline/Social Beast
  • Happy Gyro
  • Little Sesame @ Sugar Fox
  • June
  • Shababi
  • The Red Hen - French Hen

*Coolest Cocktails and Beverages To-Go*

  • Astoria
  • Barmini
  • Cactus Cantina
  • Capo Delicatessen
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon
  • Napoli Pasta Bar
  • Serenata
  • Service Bar
  • Seven Reasons
  • Tiger Fork

*Standout Family Meal Packages To-Go*

  • Albi
  • Cork Wine Bar & Market
  • Liberty Tavern
  • Muchas Gracias
  • Oohh’s & Aahh’s
  • Pennyroyal Station
  • Ristorante i Ricchi
  • Taco Bamba
  • Thompson Italian
  • Unconventional Diner

*Prime Pandemic Patio Scene*

  • Caboose Brewing Co.
  • Hi-Lawn
  • Hook Hall
  • La Famosa
  • Lauriol Plaza
  • Le Diplomate
  • Lulu’s Winegarden
  • Mercy Me
  • The Salt Line

*Technology Trailblazers*

  • DC To Go-Go
  • Ensemble
  • GoTab
  • Great American Restaurants
  • Rumi’s Kitchen
  • Silver Diner
  • Stellina Pizzeria
  • The Roost
  • Think Food Group
  • TTT

*Splendid Holidays at Home Offerings*

  • Centrolina
  • Chef Geoff’s
  • Ellē
  • Et Voila!
  • Kinship
  • Lebanese Taverna
  • Punjab Grill
  • Ridgewells Catering
  • Royal

*Festive Foodie Experiences*

  • Baker’s Daughter, CSA Box Cooking Classes
  • Carlie Steiner, Various Virtual Classes
  • Catoctin Creek, The Art of the Cocktail
  • Eric Adjepong, Cooking with Eric
  • Eva Kronenburg, YouTube Cooking Series
  • Louise Salas and Gina Chersevani, Designated Drinker Show
  • Kwame Onwuachi, Eat Clean While Quarantined
  • Mess Hall DC, Some Disassembly Required
  • Sticky Fingers, Virtual Baking Classes
  • Xiquet, Cooking with Chef Danny Lledó

*Hottest New Sandwich Shop*

  • AmperSandwich
  • Bun Papa
  • Compliments Only
  • Fedwich
  • Fight Club
  • Itty Bitty Sandwich City
  • Queen Mother’s
  • Roaming Rooster
  • Sandi Buns
  • Your Only Friend

*Stellar Brunches at Home*

  • All Purpose - Navy Yard
  • Call Your Mother
  • Convivial
  • Duke’s Grocery
  • Farmers Fishers Bakers
  • Feast
  • I Egg You
  • KitchenCray
  • Seasons
  • The Fainting Goat

Managers of the Year:

  • Otgontuya Davaasuren, All Set Restaurant & Bar
  • Khawla Gasmi, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar, & Eatery
  • Autumn Harriger, Destination Unknown Restaurants/Espita
  • Jordan Lee, Thamee Restaurant
  • Tylyn Mallon, Right Proper Brewing Company
  • Brian McGahey, Modena Restaurant
  • Gilbert Mejia, Nobu DC
  • Robert Micheli, Dirty Habit
  • Daurio Passaia, Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
  • Karina Wilkey, Sunnyside Restaurant Group

Employees of the Year

  • Gabriela Araujo, Bresca
  • Ruben Avila, PassionFish Reston
  • Freddy Bastidas, Blue Duck Tavern
  • Adrian Godinez, RPM Italian
  • Rosa Martinez, Alta Strada & Nama
  • Mileyda Montezuma, Immigrant Food
  • Fredy Nataren, Tryst Trading Co.
  • Celina Nava, Estadio
  • Alicia Ramos, Convivial
  • Maria Serrano, Sababa

The 2021 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award

  • Glory Days Grill (25 years)
  • La Chaumiere (45 years)
  • Peacock Cafe (30 years)
  • Pizzeria Paradiso (30 years)
  • Ristorante Piccolo (35 years)

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