If the current boom state of 14th Street wasn’t enough to tell you that our fair neighborhood and city is on the cutting edge of the restaurant scene, then maybe some glitz, glamour, and glass obelisk statues will? Borderstan came up big last night at the RAMMYS, the yearly awards gala of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).
With many more area eateries in the neighborhood nominated, congrats are in order for:
- Cork Wine Bar: Wine Program of the Year
- Cafe Saint-Ex: Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year
- Estadio: Beverage/Mixology Program of the Year
- Blackjack: Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene of the Year
- Black Restaurant Group: Restaurateur of the Year (Black Jack and Pearl Dive Oyster Palace are part of the group)
As Mike Benson of Cafe Saint-Ex emphatically stated about DC in his acceptance speech for Best Neighborhood Gathering Place, “our restaurant scene is kicking ass. We’re turning heads.”
Borderstan’s wins last night reflected the growing importance and attention that restaurants and restaurateurs are giving to things besides the food. Cork Wine Bar won for their outstanding wine program, and Estadio followed up its 2011 Best New Restaurant RAMMY with a win for its Beverage/Mixology program, edging out fellow Borderstan nominee Birch and Barley/Churchkey.
“Ultimately DC is a really small town doing really big things,” mused the ecstatic winners from Estadio upon accepting their award. “We’re in a city that is the most beautiful city in the world for beverages right now.”
But the big winners last night at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel were Jeff and Barbara Black and their Black Restaurant Group, taking home the award for Restaurateur of the Year. The owners of Best New Restaurant Nominee Pearl Dive Oyster Palace also claimed the hardware for Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene for Blackjack. In one of the moments of the night, Chef Black pushed through the wrap-it-up music to acknowledge that this award came from the people in the industry, “the ones doing the hard work, not the bloggers.” (The Young & Hungry at the Washington City Paper has more as does The Examiner where Black clarified his statement.)
The gala itself was full of other great moments: restaurants throwing their support behind embattled Hank’s Oyster Bar in their fight against “the gang of six,” which earned notable applause from the audience (Hank’s was a nominee for Best Casual Restaurant of the year); Estadio winning (at least in this writer’s humble opinion) the cocktail of the night with their gin-based Dia de Descanso; and some of the biggest hats and fascinators on a night that never disappoints for wild fashion. Always a great time, and our neighborhood is looking even stronger and stronger for the upcoming year. See you all at the 2013 RAMMYS!