2021 RAMMY Awards Pay Tribute to Industry Pivots

D.C.-area eateries are praised for pandemic-era adaptations, such as 'Covid-safe redesign.'
Rustico Ballston

Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s online market was honored Sunday night at the 2021 RAMMY Awards. Photo by Stacey Windsor.

A host of D.C.-area eateries—along with a bevy of new, pandemic-inspired award categories—were in the limelight Sunday night at the 39th annual RAMMY Awards.

The ceremony, held for fully vaccinated guests at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C., included honors unique to a year-and-a-half of industry pivots, such as Most Innovative To-Go Packaging Game and Coolest Cocktails And Beverages To-Go.

Several local restaurants snagged honors. Silver Diner—a kid-friendly, Best of Arlington alum with 10 locations in Virginia—won Technology Trailblazer, a category open to public voting that honors an eatery that deftly incorporated tech such as virtual menus and online ordering. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, which has a storefront in Falls Church, won an honorable mention for its baked goods.

The RAMMYs also honored industry professionals and eateries with Good Neighbor Awards. David Guas, chef/owner of Bayou Bakery in Courthouse, was recognized for co-founding Chefs Feeding Families. (Bayou Bakery’s General Manager, Khawla Gasmi, also won a Manager of the Year award.) At the start of the pandemic, Guas partnered with Real Food for Kids to serve meals to local families while schools were closed; Chefs Feeding Families now has several restaurant collaborators and has served more than 180,000 meals.  Chefs Kevin Tien (Hot Lola’s, Wild Tiger) and Tim Ma (Lucky Danger) were honored for co-founding Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate, a project in which proceeds from five-course dinners help support nonprofits combating racism and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Micheline Mendelsohn and Spike Mendelsohn of Sunnyside Restaurant Group (including Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza) won a Good Neighbor Award for donating pizzas to National Guard troops stationed in D.C. ahead of Inauguration Day.

The RAMMYs are presented each year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. Here’s the complete list of the 2021 winners:

Managers of the Year

Otgontuya Davaasuren, All Set Restaurant & Bar

Khawla Gasmi, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar, & Eatery

Autumn Harriger, Destination Unknown Restaurants/Espita

Jordan Lee, Thamee Restaurant

Tylyn Mallon, Right Proper Brewing Company

Brian McGahey, Modena Restaurant

Gilbert Mejia, Nobu DC

Robert Micheli, Dirty Habit

Daurio Passaia, Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

Karina Wilkey, Sunnyside Restaurant Group

Employees of the Year

Gabriela Araujo, Bresca

Ruben Avila, PassionFish Reston

Freddy Bastidas, Blue Duck Tavern

Adrian Godinez, RPM Italian

Rosa Martinez, Alta Strada & Nama

Mileyda Montezuma, Immigrant Food

Fredy Nataren, Tryst Trading Co.

Celina Nava, Estadio

Alicia Ramos, Convivial

Maria Serrano, Sababa

Finer Dining in a Box: Cranes

Most Innovative To-Go Packaging Game: Oyster Oyster

Outstanding Covid-Safe Redesign (Indoors or Outdoors): Clarity

Most Impressive Pivot to Provisions or Market: Neighborhood Restaurant Group/Neighborhood Provisions

Good Neighbor Award, Individuals

Erik Bruner-Yang, Power of 10

Willa Pelini, Paola Velez, and Rob Rubba, Bakers Against Racism

Anna Valero, Hook Hall Helps

Mark Bucher and Medium Rare, Feed The Fridge

Danny Lee, Support of Immigrant and AAPI Community

Kevin Tien and Tim Ma, Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate

Jonathan Krinn, A Taste of DC in VA and To Community and Beyond: Crossing Culinary Bridges Guest DC Chef Series

David, Guas, Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar & Eatery, Chefs Feeding Families

Micheline Mendelsohn and Spike Mendelsohn, National Guard Inauguration Program and More

Edward Lee, The LEE Initiative

Good Neighbor Award, Company/Organization

Coconut Club

Immigrant Food

Keany Produce & Gourmet

KNEAD Hospitality + Design

Little Sesame

Peruvian Brothers

Pizzeria Paradiso


Saval Foodservice

World Central Kitchen

Publicly Voted Categories

Outstanding Ghost Kitchen or Pop-up Concept: DC Ghostburger

Coolest Cocktails and Beverages To-Go: Cactus Cantina

Standout Family Meal Packages To-Go: Ristorante i Ricchi

Prime Pandemic Patio Scene: Le Diplomate

Technology Trailblazers: Silver Diner

Splendid Holidays at Home Offerings: Chef Geoff’s

Festive Foodie Experiences: Eva Kronenburg, YouTube Cooking Series

Hottest Sandwich Shop: Roaming Rooster

Stellar Brunches at Home: Call Your Mother

Honorable Mentions:

Wine To-Go Program

Dio Wine Bar


Flight Wine Bar

Grand Cata

La Jambe

Maxwell Park

Sonny’s Pizza

Squash Club DC

Tail Up Goat/Reveler’s Hour

The Girl and The Vine

Sweet Relief: Baking and Pastry To-Go

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Baker’s Against Racism

Buttercream Bakeshop

Bread and Water Co.

Donut Run


Pluma by Bluebird Bakery

Sunday Morning Bakehouse

The Dapper Fox


Categories: Food & Drink