RAMMYS Awards: New prize categories honor restaurants that pivoted during pandemic

Many restaurants pivoted to takeout and to-go options during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/bondarillia)

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s annual RAMMYS restaurant awards ceremony will be held Sept. 19 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The event will be in person this year after last year’s awards ceremony was largely virtual because of the pandemic.

There will also be several new award categories to honor restaurants for their creativity in navigating pandemic lockdowns and capacity restrictions. These categories include, “most innovative to-go packaging game,” “outstanding COVID-safe redesign,” “most impressive pivot to provisions or market,” “outstanding ghost kitchen or pop-up,” and “formal dining in a box.”

“Recognizing that it would not be fair to assess the industry on performance in 2020, a year largely full of challenges and unforeseen hurdles, RAMW, the esteemed panel of RAMMY’s judges and the 2021 RAMMYS chair committee have created timely categories that speak to all the ways the region’s industry uniquely met those challenges,” the restaurant association said in a statement.

Unlike past years, RAMW membership is not required for nomination, and nearly half of the honors awarded will be voted on by the public.

The restaurant association will begin accepting online nominations on May 24 and will post a full list of categories online. Nominations will be taken through June 13.

While this year’s event will be fully in person again, the restaurant association says due to the success of last year’s hybrid format, some portions of the awards program will be streamed live.

This is the 39th year for the RAMMYS Awards.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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