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Winners at D.C.’s Tweaked Rammy Awards Get Their Due for Creative Pandemic Pivots

Ghostburger, Cranes, and Oyster Oyster were big winners in categories that recognized ghost kitchens and to-go fine dining

A thick beef patty on a golden bun is garniched with green lettuce and rust-colored salsa macha,
Espita’s Ghostburger won an award for Outstanding Ghost Kitchen at the 2021 Rammys

Looking back on a pandemic year, the D.C.-area dining awards that Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington doled out last night eschewed traditional categories in favor of honors that played up the gymnastic maneuvers professional kitchens performed to stay in business. So there was no “Chef of the Year” or “New Restaurant of the Year,” but a ghost kitchen for Mexican-influenced cheeseburger, a Michelin-starred bento box, and drive-up parking lot dining tables all got their due.

Categories recognizing outstanding service — both from a professional capacity and a community service standpoint — recognized large groups, an adaptation from the anonymous panel that picks winners. The local restaurant association also opened up nominations to nonmembers, making for a more representative and competitive field. Public voting decided several (marked with asterisks below).

Here’s the full list of the winners feted at a gala for fully vaccinated attendees:

Finer Dining in a Box: Cranes

Most Innovative To-Go Packaging Game: Oyster Oyster

Outstanding Covid-Safe Redesign (Indoors or Outdoors): Clarity

Most Impressive Pivot to Provisions or Market: Neighborhood Restaurant Group/Neighborhood Provisions

*Outstanding Ghost Kitchen or Pop-up Concept*: DC Ghostburger

*Coolest Cocktails and Beverages To-Go*: Cactus Cantina

*Standout Family Meal Packages To-Go*: Ristorante i Ricchi

*Prime Pandemic Patio Scene*: Le Diplomate

*Technology Trailblazers*: Silver Diner

*Splendid Holidays at Home Offerings*: Chef Geoff’s

*Festive Foodie Experiences*: Eva Kronenburg, YouTube Cooking Series

*Hottest Sandwich Shop*: Roaming Rooster

*Stellar Brunches at Home*: Call Your Mother

Wine To Go Program - Honorable Mention

Dio Wine Bar (Closed)


Flight Wine Bar

Grand Cata

La Jambe

Maxwell Park

Sonny’s Pizza

Squash Club DC

Tail Up Goat/Reveler’s Hour

The Girl and The Vine

Sweet Relief: Baking and Pastry To Go - Honorable Mention

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Baker’s Against Racism

Buttercream Bakeshop

Bread and Water Co.

Donut Run


Pluma by Bluebird Bakery

Sunday Morning Bakehouse

The Dapper Fox


Good Neighbor Award, Individual Honors:

Erik Bruner-Yang, Power of 10

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

Jonathan Krinn, A Taste of DC in VA and To Community and Beyond: Crossing Culinary Bridges Guest DC Chef Series

David, Guas, Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar & Eatery, Chefs Feeding Families

Micheline Mendelsohn and Spike Mendelsohn, National Guard Inauguration Program, and More

Edward Lee, The LEE Initiative

Good Neighbor Award, Company/Organization Honors:

Coconut Club

Immigrant Food

Keany Produce & Gourmet

KNEAD Hospitality + Design

Little Sesame

Peruvian Brothers

Pizzeria Paradiso


Saval Foodservice

World Central Kitchen

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

2021 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award:

Glory Days Grill (25 years)

La Chaumière (45 years)

Peacock Cafe (30 years)

Pizzeria Paradiso (30 years)

Ristorante Piccolo (35 years)