RAMMYS to honor DC area’s best restaurants and chefs at Washington Convention Center

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the RAMMYS (Part 1)

Fire up those taste buds and get ready to honor the best D.C.-area chefs and restaurants.

The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington hosts the 40th annual RAMMYS.

“We are very excited,” President and C.E.O. Kathy Hollinger told WTOP. “The RAMMYS were created by the Restaurant Association in 1982 as a way to formally honor the region’s restaurants. With this event in its 40th year, the program of course has grown and changed really in step with the local industry, so this year’s program continues that legacy.”

The awards ceremony will be held Sunday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

“It is a 2,500-person event, black tie,” Hollinger said. “This is the first time we are coming back together in a way that reflects the way we celebrated in 2019. We did have a RAMMYS in 2021, and 2020 that was virtual, but 2022 is the reunion of our industry. … It is majority food-service industry, but for … foodies or supporters, it is absolutely open to the public.”

Who will compete for the top prize of Restaurateur of the Year?

“Michael Babin is being honored from Neighborhood Restaurant Group,” Hollinger said. “Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group; … Mark Bucher of Medium Rare; Andrew Dana and Daniela Moreira from Call Your Mother, Timber Pizza, Turu’s Pizza and Mercy Me; and you have Scott Drewno and Danny Lee from The Fried Rice Collective.”

The penultimate category is Chef of the Year.

“Chef of the Year really shows this new crop of leadership here in our region,” Hollinger said. “We have Matt Adler at Caruso’s Grocery; … Cedric Maupillier of Convivial, an anchor for many years; Shamim Popal from Lapis; Michael Rafidi at Albi in the Navy Yard area, which is vibrant and wonderful; … and again Rob Rubba of Oyster Oyster.”

Upstart restaurants will compete for New Restaurant of the Year.

“We have Caruso’s Grocery located in Capitol Hill, wonderful old-school Italian cuisine,” Hollinger said. “We’ve got Daru on H Street; Dauphine’s, a brand-new jewel that opened during the pandemic right smack in the middle of downtown; we have L’Ardente; and Oyster Oyster.”

You’ll also see the Best Formal Fine Dining category.

“Formal fine dining has evolved so much over the years in this market,” Hollinger said. “We have Cranes, which is right downtown bordering Penn Quarter; we’ve got Jônt; we’ve got Rasika West End, wonderful modern Indian cuisine; we have 1789 Restaurant, which for much of the pandemic had to rethink how they were serving; … then you have Xiquet by Danny Lledó.”

See all the finalists in all of the categories here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the RAMMYS (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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