Food

Here Are the Finalists For the 2018 RAMMY Awards

Winners will be announced at an awards gala on June 10.
Maketto is a finalist in three categories for the RAMMY Awards. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

It’s red carpet season for restaurants. Last night, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washingtonian announced the finalists for its annual RAMMY Awards, recognizing some of the top players in the local food and drink scene.

A lot of the usual suspects were among the most-nominated this year. Restaurateur Fabio and Maria Trabocchi racked up three nominations between Sfoglina, Del Mar, and Fiola Mare, as did Erik Bruner-Yang‘s Maketto, which is up for top pastry chef, best upscale casual restaurant, and casual brunch. Ivy City Smokehouse was also a top contender with nods for best casual restaurant, regional food and beverage producer, and casual brunch.

An anonymous panel of food writers and other industry professionals chooses the winners, but the public votes in four categories: favorite fast bites, gathering place, casual brunch, and upscale brunch. Vote for your top picks here through April 30. All the winners will be announced at an awards gala on June 10.

Before we tell you the finalists, here are some caveats: Restaurants must be members of RAMW to be eligible for the awards, which is why you won’t find Pineapple and Pearls or the Dabney 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, say, Minibar isn’t in the running for fine dining restaurant of the year.

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, 2017.
Bar Charley
Cheesetique – Shirlington
Fare Well
Right Proper Brewing Company
The Daily Dish

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, 2017.
Osteria Morini
Seasons
Sfoglina
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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, 2017.
Ambar Capitol Hill
Ari’s Diner
Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern
Maketto
Vinoteca

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, 2017.
G by Mike Isabella
Moby Dick House of Kabob
Shouk
Stomping Ground
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, 2017.
Bar Charley
barmini by José Andrés
Espita Mezcaleria
Petworth Citizen and Reading Room
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, 2017.
Brasserie Beck
Owen’s Ordinary
Republic
Roofers Union
The Sovereign

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, 2017.
BOURBON STEAK
Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen
Le Diplomate
RANGE
Trummer’s on Main

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.
Gerarda Lazo, Pizzeria Paradiso
Sharon Rissal, Jaleo, Bethesda
Pete Rymshaw, The Salt Line
Edgar Salvador, Centrolina
Andrea Tateosian, Urbana

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 & Market
Daniel Coughlan, Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen
Matthew McQuilkin, Pizzeria Paradiso
Heidi Minora, Commissary
Adam Rigaa, Brasserie Beck

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, 2017.
BOURBON STEAK
Le Diplomate
minibar by José Andrés
The Red Hen
Tosca

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.
Fabrice Bendano, Le Diplomate
Naomi Gallego, Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Tiffany MacIsaac, Buttercream Bakeshop
Pichet Ong, Maketto
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.
Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan, Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen & Maydan
Carlos Delgado, China Chilcano
Daniela Moreira, Timber Pizza Company
Michael Rafidi, Arroz & Requin
Russell Smith, The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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, 2017.
Daikaya
Duke’s Grocery
Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern
Royal
Timber Pizza Company

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, 2017.
Centrolina
Clarity
Iron Gate
Maketto
Sushi Taro

New Restaurant of the Year: A restaurant that must have opened between December 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage and service.
Arroz
Bresca
CHIKO
Del Mar
Maydan

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, 2017.
Fiola Mare
Masseria
Rasika
The Source by Wolfgang Puck
Trummer’s on Main

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.
Kyle Bailey, The Salt Line
Amy Brandwein, Centrolina
David Deshaies, Unconventional Diner
Katsuya Fukushima, Daikaya Group
Rob Rubba, Hazel

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, 2017.
Atlas Brew Works
Bluejacket
Ivy City Smokehouse
Logan Sausage Co.
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.
Stephen and Mark Fedorchak, and Brian Normiles, Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group
Ari Gejdenson, Mindful Restaurants
Jamie Leeds, JL Restaurant Group
Daisuke Utagawa, Katsuya Fukushima and Yama Jewayni, Daikaya Group
Ype von Hengst and Bob Giaimo, Silver Diner & Silver

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.
Coastal Sunbelt Produce
Congressional Seafood
Streetsense
TriMark Adams-Burch
USI Insurance Services

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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.