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.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Washington D.C..


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Washington D.C. stories

No stories could be found

Washington D.C.postcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Washington D.C..


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more