Food

Here Are the Finalists for the 2017 RAMMY Awards

The Source does dumplings for brunch. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

It’s award season for Washington restaurants yet again. Last night, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washingtonian announced the finalists for its annual RAMMY Awards, which honor the top players in the local food and drink scene. (Unless, that is, they’re not members of the association.)

Among the most-nominated contenders this year: Daikaya, Minibar, and Iron Gate. It was also another good year for the Source, which racked up four nominations last year and three this year. But the nods for best fine dining restaurant, upscale brunch, and service come just as the restaurant’s longtime chef Scott Drewno prepares to leave. (The Source’s executive sous chef Russell Smith will take his spot.)

For the most part, the finalists are chosen by anonymous panel of food writers, but the public will have a final say in four categories: favorite fast bites, gathering place, casual brunch, and upscale brunch. Vote for your top picks here through May 31.

“Where’s Pineapple and Pearls? How about Bad Saint?,” you may ask. Restaurants must be members of RAMW to be eligible for the awards, which is why you won’t find some usual suspects on the list. Even if they are members, winners are not eligible to be finalists in the same category for five years. That’s why, for example, 2016’s Restaurateur of the Year Mike Isabella isn’t in the running for that award again this year.

Take a look at the full list of nominees below. The winners will be announced at an awards gala on July 30.

Chef of the Year: The nominee is an executive chef or chef de cuisine who demonstrates consistent standards of culinary excellence. The nominee displays a dedication to the artistry of food and may be from any type of establishment. The nominee must have been a chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.
Amy Brandwein, Centrolina
Erik Bruner-Yang, Maketto, Paper Horse
Austin Fausett, Proof
Katsuya Fukushima, Bantam King, Daikaya and Haikan
Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

New Restaurant of the Year: A restaurant that must have opened between December 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage and service.
All Purpose
Hazel
Kōbō
Requin
Whaley’s

Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of excellence in food, service and atmosphere and shows dedication to sophisticated culinary techniques in a fine dining environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2016.
Fiola Mare
minibar by José Andrés
The Source by Wolfgang Puck
Sushi Taro
Trummer’s On Main

Casual Restaurant of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a dedication to dining excellence, service and value in a casual environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2016.
Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen
Daikaya
The Daily Dish
Duke’s Grocery
Mandu, 18th Street

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of dining excellence and service in an upscale casual environment. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2016.
Central Michel Richard
Indique
Iron Gate
Proof
The Red Hen

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: This nominee is a restaurant rooted in its neighborhood where guests come to eat, drink, and get together with friends repeatedly. The great atmosphere and good vibes are as important as the food and drink. The nominee must have been open for at least 2 years prior to December 31, 2016.

Brookland’s Finest Bar & Kitchen
The Front Porch at Evening Star Cafe
Lauriol Plaza
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Petworth Citizen & Reading Room

Upscale Brunch of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of dining excellence and service for its brunch in an upscale environment. Brunch may be offered as full-service, buffet, or prix fixe. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of one year by December 31, 2016.
Convivial
Del Campo
Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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Casual Brunch of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a dedication to dining excellence, service and value in a casual environment for brunch. Brunch may be offered as full-service, buffet, or prix fixe. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2016.
Cava Mezze – Capitol Hill
DGS Delicatessen
Maketto
Republic
Sixth Engine

Favorite Fast Bites of the Year: This nominee is a delicatessen, quick-serve restaurant, mobile food vendor, or coffee shop (with food menu) that demonstrates a dedication to good food and good service in a fast-casual environment. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2016.
Beefsteak
Cava Grill
Chase the Submarine
G by Mike Isabella
Taco Bamba Taqueria

Cocktail Program of the Year: The establishment is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity and value of its craft cocktail program, evaluated separately from its beer, wine or other beverages. Nominees may be bars, restaurants, or any foodservice establishment with an exemplary cocktail program. The nominee continues to break new ground in education of its staff. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2016.
barmini by José Andrés
Indique
Iron Gate
Kapnos by Mike Isabella
Royal

Beer Program of the Year: The establishment is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity and value of its beer program. Brewery restaurants and brew pubs are eligible for this category and will be judged based on the diversity and quality of their craft beer. The nominee continues to break new ground in education of its staff. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2016.
B Side
District Commons
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Republic
Roofers Union

Wine Program of the Year: The establishment is distinguished by the quality, diversity, clarity and value of its wine program. The nominee’s wine program best suits the cuisine and style of the restaurant while enhancing the dining experience. Wine bars are eligible for this category and will be judged based on the diversity and quality of their offerings. The nominee continues to break new ground in education of its staff. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 31, 2016.
BOURBON STEAK
Charlie Palmer Steak
Doi Moi
Fiola
minibar by José Andrés

Employee of the Year: The nominee is a non-managerial front or back of the house employee who serves as a model employee by displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.
Noe Alfaro, Republic
Heather Berry, Bar Pilar
Joseph Cassis, PassionFish Bethesda
David Perry, RIS
David Trezevant, Carmine’s Family Style Italian Restaurant

Manager of the Year: The nominee is a non-owner manager or general manager in the food service industry who displays the highest level of professionalism and leadership. This person must be an inspiration and mentor to all his/her co-workers displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.
Julio Amador, Cork Wine Bar
Christine Gibson, Iron Gate
John Grace, The Hamilton
Matthew McQuilkin, Pizzeria Paradiso
Margaret Perry, Kyirisan

Service Program of the Year: This nominee is a restaurant that demonstrates a high standard of excellence in service across the restaurant – from the reservation process, to the host station, to every element of the dining experience. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of two years by December 31, 2016.
The Bombay Club
minibar by José Andrés
Ripple
RIS
The Source by Wolfgang Puck

Pastry Chef of the Year: The nominee is a restaurant pastry chef who prepares desserts and baked goods and demonstrates a high standard of excellence and culinary artistry. The nominee serves as an inspiration to other food professionals. The nominee must have been a pastry chef for the past five years with a minimum of two years based in the Metropolitan Washington area.
Mollie Bird, Kyirisan
Jemil Gadea, Masseria
Tiffany MacIsaac, Buttercream Bakeshop
Brandon Malzahn, Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants
Erin Reed, Blue Duck Tavern

Rising Culinary Star of the Year: The nominee is an “up and coming” chef who demonstrates exemplary talent, shows leadership and promise for the future. The nominee must have been based in the Metropolitan Washington area for a minimum of two years.
Sasha Felikson, Doi Moi
Ryan Ratino, Ripple
Miranda Rosenfelt, Sally’s Middle Name
Rob Rubba, Hazel
Piter & Handry Tjan, Kōbō and Sushiko

Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: This nominee is a food or beverage artisan who creates a product that is then utilized by chefs and restaurants. Nominees in this category may be cheese makers, coffee roasters, vintners, brewers, distillers, bread bakers, chocolatiers, honey producers, farmers, an ice cream/gelato company and many more. When the artisan is a restaurant or restaurant group, the products created must be utilized by chefs and/or restaurants outside of the maker’s restaurant group. The nominee must have been in business a minimum of one year by December 31, 2016.
Atlas Brew Works
DC Brau Brewing Company
Logan Sausage
New Columbia Distillers/Green Hat
Right Proper Brewing Company

Restaurateur of the Year: The nominee must be a working restaurateur or restaurant group who sets high standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for a minimum of 5 years in the Metropolitan Washington area.
Ari Gejdenson, Mindful Restaurants
Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri Moshovitis, Ted Xenochristos, and Brett Schulman, Cava Group, Inc.
The Kuller Family, Fat Baby Inc.
Jamie Leeds, JL Restaurant Group
Daisuke Utagawa, Katsuya Fukushima, and Yama Jewayni, Daikaya Group

Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: The award is presented to an associate member who best exemplifies commitment to and support of RAMW. This award recipient is determined by RAMW’s Executive Committee.
Acme Paper & Supply Co.
Coastal Sunbelt Produce
DC Brau Brewing Company
USI Insurance Services
The Veritas Law Firm

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.