On a sizzling Sunday, July 9, 2023, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center teemed with gastronomic gurus, budding restaurateurs, and foodies, all drawn together by one unifying force—the love for food. The occasion? The 41st annual RAMMY Awards is an enchanting evening hosted by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).

Founded in 1920, RAMW holds the foodie reins in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, championing the food service industry and restaurants with a zest unmatched.

The night was a tantalizing spectacle as winners in various categories were unveiled, each a toast to the individual flair, innovation, and irresistible food and drink concepts that make Washington a culinary hotspot.

This year’s award menu had a fresh twist—redefining the Pastry Chef of the Year as Pastry Chef or Baker of the Year. This change celebrated the creative genius of the region’s bakers, who contribute to the city’s enchanting palate alongside the adroit pastry chefs. Further stirring up excitement was the inclusion of a new category, Best Bar, reflecting the pulsating nightlife of the region. 

As per tradition, the public cast their votes for any eligible restaurant or food service operation in the area, whether or not they held a RAMW membership. For the first time, the culinary fate of the finalists and winners in five categories was sealed by public choice!

So, drumroll, please! Here are the esteemed winners of the 2023 RAMMY Awards (denotes publicly voted category):

– The Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: Saval Foodservice

– New Restaurant of the Year: Causa/Amazonia

– Cocktail Program of the Year: Service Bar

– Beer Program of the Year: Shelter

– Wine Program of the Year: Reveler’s Hour

– Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Marcelle Afram, Shababi Palestinian Rotisserie Chicken

Favorite Gathering Place: Tiki on 18th/The Game Sports Pub

Best Brunch: Urban Roast

Best Bar: Exiles

Favorite Fast Bites: RASA

Hottest Sandwich Spot: Compliments Only

– Employee of the Year: Nabil Moussa, Le Diplomate

– Manager of the Year: Brittany Dye, Circa Foggy Bottom

– Service Program of the Year: Lutèce

– Casual Restaurant of the Year: Pennyroyal Station

– Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: L’Ardente

– Pastry Chef or Baker of the Year: Teresa Velazquez, Baked and Wired, A Baked Joint

– Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Xiquet by Danny Lledó

– Chef of the Year: Kevin Tien, Moon Rabbit

– Restaurateur of the Year: Rose Previte, No White Plates: Compass Rose, Maydan, Kirby Club

Our gastronomic gala also paid tribute to the stalwarts of our community, the recipients of the 2023 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award. These seasoned establishments have charmed Washington residents and visitors with their culinary delights for many years: Filomena Ristorante (40 years), The Grill From Ipanema (30 years), Old Europe (75 years), Cafe Milano (30 years), Jaleo (30 years), National Democratic Club (70 years), Artie’s (45 years), Four Sisters (30 years), and Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse (75 years). The John G. Laytham Exceptional Leadership and Impact Award was presented to Michael F. Curtin Jr., CEO of DC Central Kitchen, for his significant contribution to the region’s food service industry and community service. The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award went to Ris Lacoste, Chef/Owner of RIS Restaurant, for her excellent leadership within the community.

This year’s RAMMYS was a dazzling display of the collective culinary spirit, made possible by the gracious sponsorship of Events DC, NBC Washington, Amazon, National Landing Business Improvement District, Club Glow, DoorDash, Chase, Stratus Firm, Design Foundry, and other industry supporters.

Ready to indulge in the culinary journey that is Washington’s restaurant scene? Satisfy your curiosity and taste buds by visiting the RAMW website today and embark on your own delicious adventure! Trust us; your palate will thank you!