Clarity wins RAMMY for Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year

The Vienna restaurant took home an award at the annual RAMMY Awards Gala.

Braised and roasted chicken at Clarity. // Photo by Rey Lopez

Sunday night, the D.C. restaurant industry celebrated their accomplishments and recognized outstanding chefs, employees and restaurateurs at the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s annual black-tie RAMMY Awards Gala.

This year’s tone was a little more solemn at times due to the recent loss of Anthony Bourdain, who was honored in an in memoriam presentation that also included Cowbell Kitchen co-founder Kaeley “KK” Brady, who died last month. Nevertheless, the community respectfully paid tribute to their colleagues and the show went on.

The awards recognize members of the association in a variety of categories, including Cocktail Program, Service Program, Pastry Chef, Rising Culinary Star, Upscale Casual Restaurant, New Restaurant and Best Chef. Restaurants that are not members of RAMW are not eligible to be nominated.

The majority of the winners are selected by an anonymous panel of judges. However, the winners of Favorite Gathering Place, Upscale Brunch, Casual Brunch and Favorite Fast Bites are decided by public vote. Recipients of the Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year Award, the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award, the Exceptional Leadership & Impact Award and the 2018 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award are selected by RAMW’s Executive Committee.

Several Northern Virginia restaurants and restaurant groups, including Cheesetique, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, Stomping Ground, Taco Bamba Taqueria, Trummer’s on Main, Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group and Silver Diner were among the finalists, but only two took home RAMMYs this year. Clarity in Vienna won Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year. Moby Dick House of Kabob, which has a number of locations in NoVA, was voted Favorite Fast Bites of the Year.

This year, restaurateur Mike Isabella was disqualified from the awards due to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him. Isabella and his partners settled the suit and have agreed to institute sexual harassment training, policies and corrective measures at Mike Isabella Concepts. He had two restaurants nominated, Arroz and G, but they were removed from consideration.

Here are all the winners of the 36th annual RAMMY Awards:

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 two years prior to Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: The Daily Dish

Bar Charley
Cheesetique – Shirlington
Fare Well
Right Proper Brewing Company

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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: 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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: 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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: 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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: Espita Mezcaleria

Bar Charley
barmini by José Andrés
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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: Owen’s Ordinary

Brasserie Beck
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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: 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.

Winner: Andrea Tateosian, Urbana

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

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.

Winner: Heidi Minora, Commissary

Julio Amador, Cork Wine Bar & Market
Daniel Coughlan, Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen
Matthew McQuilkin, Pizzeria Paradiso
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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: minibar by José Andrés

BOURBON STEAK
Le Diplomate
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.

Winner: Tiffany MacIsaac, Buttercream Bakeshop

Fabrice Bendano, Le Diplomate
Naomi Gallego, Neighborhood Restaurant Group
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.

Winners: 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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern

Daikaya
Duke’s Grocery
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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: Clarity

Centrolina
Iron Gate
Maketto
Sushi Taro

New Restaurant of the Year: A restaurant that must have opened between Dec. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2017 and already distinguishes itself as a pacesetter in food, beverage and service.

Winner: CHIKO

Bresca
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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: Masseria

Fiola Mare
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.

Winner: Amy Brandwein, Centrolina

Kyle Bailey, The Salt Line
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 Dec. 31, 2017.

Winner: Right Proper Brewing Company

Atlas Brew Works
Bluejacket
Ivy City Smokehouse
Logan Sausage Co.

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 five years in the Metropolitan Washington area.

Winner: Ari Gejdenson, Mindful Restaurants

Stephen and Mark Fedorchak, and Brian Normile, Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group
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.

Winner: USI Insurance Service

Coastal Sunbelt Produce
Congressional Seafood
Streetsense
TriMark Adams-Burch

Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award, given for dedication and leadership that has helped transform Washington’s restaurant scene into today’s vibrant restaurant industry.

Winner: Daniel J. Coleman 

Exceptional Leadership & Impact Award

Winners: José Andrés and Patricia Fernandez de la Cruz

2018 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award

Winner: Tony and Joe’s

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