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Here Are the 2023 Rammy Awards Finalists

The winners will be revealed at a gala on Sunday, July 9

The sit-down awards segment at last year’s Rammys.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

D.C.’s resident dining association announced the finalists for its 41st annual Rammy Awards, providing a snapshot of top performers and favorites across the local restaurant industry. The nominee ceremony returned to its longtime downtown venue, the Hamilton Live, on Monday, April 10. Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) will announce the winners during a black tie soiree on Sunday, July 9, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Nominees must be members of RAMW, and several categories have requirements regarding the length of time a restaurant has been operational; previous winners aren’t eligible to claim the same category for five years after a win. An anonymous panel of judges in food and media ultimately chooses nominees and honorees across most food and beverage categories.

For the first time, both the finalists and winners for five categories* are picked by the public —and don’t need to be paying RAMW members in order to qualify. That includes: Favorite Gathering Place of the Year, Best Brunch of the Year, Hottest Sandwich Spot, Best Bar (a new category for 2023), and Favorite Fast Bites of the Year. Voting for winners starts today, Tuesday, April 11, and runs through Wednesday, May 31.

More information on the awards process can be found here. And now, this year’s nominees:

New Restaurant of the Year:

  • Bar Ivy
  • Causa/Amazonia
  • Nama Ko
  • Opal
  • Rania

Chef of the Year:

  • Matt Adler, Caruso’s Grocery
  • Matt Conroy, Lutèce
  • Ryan Ratino, Bresca, Jônt
  • Jon Sybert, Tail Up Goat, Reveler’s Hour
  • Kevin Tien, Moon Rabbit

Cocktail Program of the Year:

  • Jane Jane
  • Salt
  • Service Bar
  • Silver Lyan
  • The Green Zone

Beer Program of the Year:

  • Boundary Stone
  • Lost and Found
  • The Midlands Beer Garden
  • Shelter
  • Solace

Wine Program of the Year:

  • Era Wine Bar
  • Lulu’s Wine Garden
  • Primrose
  • Reveler’s Hour
  • St. Anselm

Rising Culinary Star of the Year:

  • Marcelle Afram, Shababi Palestinian Rotisserie Chicken
  • Masako Morishita, Perry’s
  • Kat Petonito, The Duck & The Peach, La Collina, The Wells
  • Jessica and Alfredo Solis, Anafre, Mariscos 1133, Mezcalero
  • Elias Taddesse, Mélange, Doro Soul Food

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year*:

  • Chef Geoff’s
  • Crazy Aunt Helen’s
  • Moby Dick House of Kabob
  • Ruthie’s All Day
  • Tiki on 18th/The Game Sports Pub

Best Brunch of the Year*:

  • Circa
  • Founding Farmers
  • Maiz64
  • Seasons at Four Seasons
  • Urban Roast

Best Bar*

  • Exiles
  • Ivy and Coney
  • McClellan’s Retreat
  • Metrobar
  • Tap99

Favorite Fast Bites*:

  • Chef Skip 202
  • RASA
  • Roaming Rooster
  • Spice Kitchen West African Grill
  • Stellina Pizzeria

Hottest Sandwich Spot*:

  • Compliments Only
  • Fight Club
  • FishScale
  • Grazie Grazie
  • Soko Butcher

Employee of the Year:

  • Kodjo “Olivier” Etenda, The Popal Group
  • Crescencio Martinez, All Purpose Shaw
  • Nabil Moussa, Le Diplomate
  • Guillermo Mendoza, The Red Hen
  • Veronica Rodriguez, Truluck’s Ocean’s Finest Seafood

Manager of the Year:

  • Brittany Dye, Circa Foggy Bottom
  • Christine Kim, Service Bar
  • Snjezana Jaksic, Ambar Clarendon
  • Javier Perez, Jaleo
  • Cesare Sanchez, Maiz64

Service Program of the Year:

  • Chef Geoff’s
  • Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
  • Lutèce
  • Reveler’s Hour
  • Unconventional Diner

Casual Restaurant of the Year:

  • Bammy’s
  • Destino
  • Maketto
  • Pennyroyal Station
  • Tonari

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year:

  • Anju
  • Dauphine’s
  • L’Ardente
  • Moon Rabbit
  • Rooster and Owl

Pastry Chef or Baker of the Year:

  • Rochelle Cooper, The Duck & The Peach, La Collina, The Wells
  • Sam Cooper, Bread Alley, Le Diplomate, St. Anselm
  • Bridie McCulla, Liberty Restaurant Group
  • Mary Mendoza, Bantam King, Hole in the Wall, Tonari
  • Teresa Velazquez, Baked and Wired, A Baked Joint

Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year:

  • Blue Rock
  • Jônt
  • Oyster Oyster
  • The Dabney
  • Xiquet by Danny Lledó

Restaurateur of the Year:

  • Kyle Bailey, Jon Ball, Jeremy Carman, Gavin Coleman, and Paul Holder, Long Shot Hospitality
  • Greg Casten and Tony Cibel, Fish and Fire Food Group
  • Andrew Dana and Daniela Moreira, Timber Pizza, Call Your Mother, Turu’s, Mercy Me
  • Zubair, Omar, Fatima, and Shamim Popal, The Popal Group

Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year:

  • Ecolab
  • Harmony Group
  • Keany Produce and Gourmet
  • MarginEdge
  • Saval Foodservice