5 Things We Learned at the RAMMYS
Kilts are in and some winners chose to attend the NBA finals instead of the restaurant industry’s biggest night, but these little factoids don’t paint the full picture of restaurant prom. Here are five things we learned at the 2015 RAMMY Awards put on by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).
1. DC Dining is an Economic Powerhouse
Mayor Muriel Bowser dropped some economic knowledge on the crowd. According to Bowser, the hospitality industry is the second biggest employer in the District after the federal government. And, she expects restaurants to bring in $2.8B in revenue in 2015.
2. Mark Kuller's Legacy Will Last
Jason Kuller reminded everyone with a moving tribute that restaurants are about people first. One of the finest of which was his brother Mark Kuller, who the DC dining community lost in October 2014. Mark’s son Max Kuller joined Jason on stage as they recounted Mark’s big personality and love for food, ending with a note that his presence is still felt in the details at his restaurants, Proof, Estadio and Doi Moi. Pictured: Jason Kuller makes remarks with Max Kuller standing by for support.
3. Newer Isn't Necessarily Better
It came as a slight surprise when Pizzeria Paradiso (Georgetown) landed the best beer program prize over Bluejacket—a bright, shiny and new brewery from Neighborhood Restaurant Group. The Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown location has been open since 2002. One important distinction is that Bluejacket is a brewpub serving its own creative beers, while Pizzeria Paradiso curates a thoughtful list of craft beers. With the growing number of brewpubs, perhaps a new category is in order. Pictured: The Pizzeria Paradiso team headed up by chef/owner Ruth Gresser.
4. Fine Dining Can Happen on a Farm
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm took the fine dining restaurant of the year award, beating out Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier and Rasika—two downtown, white tablecloth mainstays. “It took me a few punches to the leg by my sous chef to register that they called our name,” Tarver King, the chef at Patowmack, told us. Fine dining no longer fits into one well-defined box. Pictured: Tarver makes his acceptance speech with Patowmack Farm owner Beverly Morton by his side.
5. The Trabocchis Are Unstoppable
Don’t open a new restaurant the same year as Maria and Fabio Trabocchi. The power couple has brought in RAMMYS for four years running (2012-2015). Fiola won best new restaurant in 2012; Fabio was recognized as best chef in 2013; Fiola got another nod this time as best formal fine dining restaurant in 2014; and Fiola Mare won best new restaurant on Sunday night. Pictured: RAMMYS gala chair Dave Moran, Maria Trabocchi, Fabio Trabocchi, and RAMW president & CEO Kathy Hollinger.