Who Is Up for a Rammy Award?

The James Beard Award nominations earlier this week brought lots of attention to an elite handful of area chefs. But a wider swath of talent will be honored with our local foodie awards, the Rammys.

Last night at the Ritz-Carlton, nominees for each of the award’s 16 categories were announced by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). The boisterous crowd was filled with PR reps and their wards—chefs, bartenders, and restaurateurs—plus some media types. Many were sipping drinks from nominated cocktail destinations such as ChurchKey, which offered the Alewife, a potent mix of herbal bitters from the Czech Republic and sparkling wine. Nibbles came from best new restaurant nominees—Ris served its much-loved scallop margarita, and Michel put out salmon tartare—though as usual, they didn't silence the party-goers as the emcees pleaded for a quieter audience.

The winners will be announced at a bash called "Carnevale de Cuisine,” held June 26 at the Marriott Wardman Park. RAMW president Lynne Breaux said the festival theme is representative of the "wonderful, colorful, crazy business we call the restaurant industry."  

Most of the award categories are decided by judges, but the public has power in four areas: Neighborhood Gathering Place, Hottest Bar Scene, Power Spot of the Year, and the Voter's Favorite Restaurant. Scroll through the nominees below, and cast your vote starting on April 28 through a a ballot appearing in the the Washington City Paper or at

And the nominees are…

Chef of the Year

Bertrand Chemel, 2941
Todd Gray, Equinox
Haidar Karoum, Proof
Vikram Sunderam, Rasika
Bryan Voltaggio, Volt

Fine Dining Restaurant
Bourbon Steak
The Source
Trummer’s on Main

Pastry Chef

Rebekka Baltzell, Restaurant Eve
Fabrice Bendano, Adour
Chris Kujala, Ris
Tiffany MacIsaac, Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Tom Wellings, Equinox

New Restaurant

Michel by Michel Richard
Pizzeria Orso

Rising Culinary Star

Will Artley, Evening Star Café
Kyle Bailey, Birch & Barley
Justin Bittner, Bar Pilar
Shannon Overmiller, The Majestic
Javier Romero, Taberna del Alabardero

Mixology/ Beverage Program

Bourbon Steak
Founding Farmers
Tabard Inn

Wine Program

Taberna del Alabardero

Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene

Bourbon Steak
Chef Geoff's, Tysons Corner
Masa 14

Upscale Casual Restaurant

Birch & Barley
The Liberty Tavern
Tabard Inn

Neighborhood Gathering Place

Bar Pilar
Ted’s Bulletin

Power Spot

The Bombay Club
The Palm, downtown DC
The Source

Restaurant Employee of the Year

Julie Albert, Brasserie Beck and Marcel's
Freddy Bastidas, Blue Duck Tavern
Estaban Gueverra, Dino
Ryme Lansari, Café Atlantico/Minibar
Adam Sackett, PS7's

Restaurant Manager of the Year

Reagan Corbett, Jackson 20
Dan Festa, Morton’s The Steakhouse, downtown DC
Ryan McCarthy, DC Coast
Atul Narain, Rasika
Hans Olson, Clyde’s of Reston

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.