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Photos By Armando Gallardo, Words By Logan Hollers

D.C. has been killing the restaurant scene the last few years. I moved here in January 2013, and definitely did not expect such a robust and immersive food world. You can imagine my trepidation in attending this year’s RAMMYs nomination show. Now that I’m outside the service industry, I don’t really…belong anymore.

Surprisingly, and yet again, I was incredibly impressed with the humility and genuine kindness of the chefs, managers, owners, and bartenders of D.C.’s best bars and restaurants. An incredible night, filled with amazing food, amazing cocktails, and amazing conversations, the 2016 RAMMYs nominations vastly exceeded my expectations.


Best bites of the night? Clarity’s charred yellowfin tuna with licorice, fermented black garlic, and a Fresno chili mirin glaze; Convivial’s latke with celery root and dry-cured lamb; and Masseria’s burrata with oyster geleé and caviar.


Best drinks of the night? Barmini’s “Floral Cloud”, with dry ice and hibiscus tea (that smoke though); Kapnos’s “Prince of Persia”, a mix of blended scotch, papaya shrub, cardamaro and pimento bitters; and Tico’s Hibiscus Margarita. (Though that cocktail with Root liqueur was on point.)


Best conversation of the night? Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Brent Kroll, who talked for a solid ten minutes about how amazing the D.C. community is in terms of loving good wines and being open to legit food and booze, as well as how the people in D.C. make him love his job more and more every day. Bodes well for the future of wine in D.C.

But let’s get real – you just came here to see the nominees. Without further ado, presenting the 2016 RAMMY nominees:

Favorite Gathering Place: 1905, Churchkey, Martin’s Tavern, Northside Social Coffee & Wine, Room 11.

Upscale Casual Brunch: Blue Duck Tavern, Fiola Mare, Kapnos, Osteria Morini, The Source.

Everyday Casual Brunch: DGS Delicatessen, Duke’s Grocery, Republic, Tico, Vinoteca.

Favorite Fast Bites: Bub & Pop’s, Cava Grill, G by Mike Isabella, Red Apron, Taco Bamba Taqueria.

Cocktail Program: 2 Birds 1 Stone, Barmini, Del Campo, Kapnos, Tico.

Beer Program: The Arsenal at Bluejacket, Granville Moore’s, Jack Rose Dining Saloon, Republic, Right Proper.

Wine Program: 2941 Restaurant, Bourbon Steak, Charlie Palmer Steak, Le Diplomate, Red Hen.

Employee of the Year: Jemil Gadea, Masseria; Eva Kronenburg, Convivial; Alex Levin, Osteria Morini; Bridie McCulla, Northside Social; Tressa Wiles, Bayou Bakery.

Rising Culinary Star: Erin Clarke, Casa Luca; Brad Deboy, Blue Duck Tavern; Jonah Kim, Yona; Piter and Handry Tjan, Sushiko; James Wozniuk, Maketto.

Everyday Casual Dining: Bar Pilar, Daikaya, The Fainting Goat, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Pizzeria Orso.

Upscale Casual: Le Diplomate, Osteria Morini, Sushiko, Red Hen, Zaytinya.

New Restaurant: Centrolina, Clarity, Convivial, Maketto, Masseria.

Formal Fine Dining: Iron Gate, Marcel’s, Rasika, Restaurant Eve, Trummer’s on Main.

Chef of the Year: Amy Brandwein, Centrolina; Erik Bruner-Yang, Toki Underground and Maketto; Scott Drewno, The Source; Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm; Cedric Maupillier, Mintwood Place and Convivial.

Regional Food & Beverage Producer: DC Brau, Port City, Don Ciccio & Figli, New Columbia, One Eight Distilling.

Restaurateur: Cava Group; Gruppo FT Restaurants, JL Restaurant Group, Mike Isabella Concepts, Paul Ruppert.

More scenes from an event honoring a few restaurants that happen to be Italian below: