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Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Announces 2019 RAMMY Award Winners

June 30, 2019

Winners in 20 Regional Award Categories Announced

Washington, DC (June 30, 2019) — Top foodservice industry professionals and their fans gathered tonight at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for the 37th Annual RAMMY Awards as Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) announced winners in 20 award categories and many special honors.

The selection process for the winners involved two esteemed groups, the voting public and an anonymous panel of volunteer judges, consisting of food and dining journalists, educators and foodservice industry professionals. The voting public decided the winners in four categories: Favorite Gathering Place, Upscale Brunch, Casual Brunch and Favorite Fast Bites.

RAMW honored additional members with the Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year award, given to The Veritas Law Firm for exemplifying commitment to and support of RAMW, and the Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award, presented to restaurateur Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl/Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation for her hard work and outstanding initiative that has increased the profile and success of the metropolitan Washington foodservice community. These awards were determined by RAMW’s Executive Committee. The 2019 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award was given to The Bombay Club (30 years), Ristorante i Ricchi (30 years), Moby Dick House of Kabob (30 years), Silver Diner (30 years), Taberna del Alabardero (30 years), and Lebanese Taverna (40 years), dining staples celebrating 30 and 40 years serving locals and visitors in Metropolitan Washington.

Mayor Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia joined the presentation to remember and honor John G. Laytham, Co-Owner of the Clyde's Restaurant Group, who passed away earlier this year. Mayor Bowser announced that November 12th will be named John Laytham Day in the District. The first John Laytahm Day will be held on what would have been the industry leader's 75th Birthday. In addition, RAMW honored Laytham's legacy by renaming a RAMMY Award in his name - the John G. Laytham Exceptional Leadership and Impact Award. This award was first given to José Andrés in 2018 for his humanitarian leadership efforts on a global scale. It was awarded at The RAMMYS last night to Claude Andersen of the Clyde's Restaurant Group for his incredible dedication carrying out John Laytham's vision for more than 45 years, and as a leader in areas of culinary and hospitality education and workforce development over many decades. 

The winners of the 37th Annual RAMMY Awards are:

Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year: The Veritas Law Firm

Upscale Brunch of the Year: Unconventional Diner

Casual Brunch of the Year: Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: Open Road

Favorite Fast Bites of the Year: Taco Bamba Taqueria

Service Program of the Year: Ambar - Clarendon

Beer Program of the Year: Republic

Cocktail Program of the Year: barmini by José Andrés

Wine Program of the Year: Maxwell Park

Casual Restaurant of the Year: Royal

Employee of the Year: Valentine King, Hummingbird Bar and Kitchen

Manager of the Year: Donna Seal, Oceanaire

Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year: Ivy City Smokehouse

Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: The Source by Wolfgang Puck

New Restaurant of the Year: Spoken English

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year: Iron Gate

Pastry Chef of the Year: Ana Deshaies, Unconventional Diner

Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Kwame Onwuachi, Kith/Kin

Restaurateur of the Year: Michael Friedman, Mike O’Malley, Colin McDonough & Gareth Croke, Redstone Restaurant Group (All Purpose, Boundary Stone, The Red Hen)

Chef of the Year: Kyle Bailey, The Salt Line

For more information regarding the winners of these awards, visit or email

The RAMMYS  //  Presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), The RAMMY Awards Gala honors the exceptional ability and accomplishments of the hard-working individuals and organizations of the region’s restaurants and foodservice community. Named the #1 Food & Restaurant event by BIZBASH Magazine since 2009, The RAMMYS celebrate one of Metropolitan Washington’s greatest assets: Its restaurants.

Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW)  //  The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is the regional trade association representing restaurants and the foodservice industry in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area. Established in 1920, RAMW is an advocate, resource and community for its members. The Association works to promote and sustain the growth and development of the industry while providing its members legislative and regulatory representation, marketing and small business support, programming and events. RAMW strives to serve its members with professionalism and integrity, and provide them the training, education and support they need to grow a successful business.


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