Sep 21, 2021 - Food and Drink
D.C.'s RAMMY Awards drive home COVID's existential restaurant disruption
Fiola Mare's dining igloos, as seen in December. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Restaurant awards — usually a celebration of excess — are suddenly a salute to survival.

  • This year's RAMMY Awards, from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, were grounded in adversity and disruption, rather than luxury or decadence.

The new COVID-inspired categories highlight how the pandemic's existential threat forever changed the industry.

  • "Chef of the year" was ditched for more inclusive categories.

Some of the winners from our brave new world:

  • Finer Dining in a Box: Cranes in Penn Quarter.
  • Prime Pandemic Patio Scene: Le Diplomate (more on them below).
  • Outstanding COVID-safe Redesign: Clarity in Vienna.
  • Most Innovative To-Go Packaging Game: Oyster Oyster on 8th Street NW.
  • Most Impressive Pivot to Provisions or Market: Neighborhood Restaurant Group/Neighborhood Provisions, based in Alexandria.
  • And there were a slew of "to-go" awards ... Coolest Cocktails and Beverages (Cactus Cantina) ... Standout Family Meal Packages (Ristorante i Ricchi) ... and, of course, wine (which highlighted 10 area institutions in its special "honorable mention" category).

The bigger picture: After a year where social justice advocacy upended society, other new categories honored restaurants that supported marginalized communities. 

  • Employees of Immigrant Food, a restaurant that also supports immigration-related advocacy and education work, took home the Good Neighbor and Employee of the Year awards.

Check out the full list of winners.

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