An A-list of D.C. hospitality talent packed the Hamilton on 14th Street last week for the reveal of the 2018 slate of RAMMY nominees. The annual awards, hosted by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, recognize some of the top performers in the D.C. food and beverage industry.
A handful of Georgetown restaurants scored nominations across the 19 categories. The Sovereign is up for Beer Program of the Year for its list of Belgian-inspired brews and Bourbon Steak is in the mix for Wine Program of the Year. Casual mainstay Moby Dick House of Kabob is among the choices for Favorite Fast Bite of the Year and — at the high end — Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola Mare is among the finalists for Formal Dining Restaurant of the Year.
Several neighborhood employees made news as well. Erin Reed of the Michelin-starred Blue Duck Tavern got a nod for Pastry Chef of the Year and Matthew McQuilkin of Pizzeria Paradiso is in the running for Manager of the Year. The full list of nominees, including those for Rising Culinary Star of the Year and Restaurant of the Year, can be viewed at ramw.org.
The RAMMYs have become an important part of celebrating the District’s food scene, but eligibility comes with two important conditions. First, a restaurant must purchase a RAMW membership, which leads to some glaring omissions of restaurants that choose not to join the association. Second, past winners must wait five years before they can win or be nominated in that same category again, meaning some obvious and high-quality choices get left out. Still, the awards serve as a yearly reminder of the strength and competitiveness of Washington’s dining culture.
The 2018 winners will be announced at a $325-a-plate, black-tie gala at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Sunday, June 10. The selection is done through a combination of an anonymous judging panel and the voting public. The public picks the winners in four categories: Favorite Gathering Place of the Year, Upscale Brunch of the Year, Casual Brunch of the Year and Favorite Fast Bites of the Year. Votes may be cast online at nbcwashington.com/rammys through Monday, April 30, at 5 p.m.