(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) Ten restaurants and restaurateurs with Arlington ties were named finalists for one of the region’s most prestigious dining awards.
Ruthie’s All Day, Bar Ivy, Circa, and SALT were among the finalists named for a RAMMY award this year, which was announced earlier this week. Plus, the restaurant group that owns Ballston’s Salt Line, Shirlington’s Stellina Pizzeria, a manager at Ambar Clarendon, and the pastry chef at Liberty Restaurant Group, as well as fast casual spots Rasa and Moby Dick House of Kabob, were included in the list.
The RAMMY Awards are handed out by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, the region’s restaurant industry trade association. The intention is to honor restaurants for their work in the previous year, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022. A gala is set for July where the winners will be announced. This year marks the 41st edition of the RAMMYs.
For the first time, this year the dining public could choose the finalists for five categories including best bar, best brunch, favorite gathering spot, best sandwich, and favorite fast bites. Diners can now vote for the winners online, with voting continuing through May 31.
In total, ten finalists this year have some Arlington ties, including several up for some of the biggest awards. That exceeds last year’s seven finalists, which were essentially on par with previous years.
Clarendon’s Bar Ivy is a finalist for best new restaurant of the year. The “West Coast-inspired” outdoor garden-centric spot opened on Wilson Blvd this past June.
“The RAMMY nomination has been amazing — there have been so many noteworthy restaurants opening in the last year and to be recognized as one of the top 5 is humbling. We’re over the moon to be recognized for all the hard work from our team and it’s really a tribute to them,” owner Greg Algie wrote in a statement to ARLnow. “We’re always looking at ourselves, thinking of what we can do to be better every day, and an honor like this just pushes us to continue to bring a memorable experience day in and day out.”
The acclaimed Ruthie’s All Day in Arlington Heights was nominated for “Favorite Gathering Place,” given to the restaurant “rooted in its neighborhood where guests come to eat, drink, and get together with friends over and over again.” Last year, diner-esque eatery won for “Casual Restaurant of the Year.” It was also named one of Washingtonian’s Very Best 100 Restaurants earlier this year.
“We feel so fortunate to have such tremendous support from our Arlington community and to be nominated with other outstanding local neighborhood businesses,” said chef and owner Matt Hill.
Salt in Rosslyn made the list for having the best cocktail program. The bar on S. Lynn Street opened in 2019.
“We are over the moon and so honored by your support,” the restaurant wrote on social media about the nomination.
Five additional restaurants with Arlington outposts were nominated for RAMMYs.
Moby Dick House of Kabob was chosen by the public as a “Favorite Gathering Place.” The local kabob chain has a number of locations across the region, including in Clarendon and Shirlington.
Long Shot Hospitality, which owns both Salt Line locations, including the one that opened in Ballston in late 2021, is up for Restaurateur of the Year. Circa, with a Clarendon location, was also nominated by the public for best brunch.
RASA, which has a location in Crystal City, and Stellina Pizzeria, with a spot in Shirlington, will compete against one another in the favorite fast bites category.
Individuals with Arlington connections are finalists too. Ambar Clarendon’s Snjezana Jaksic was nominated for the manager of the year and Bridie McCulla of Liberty Restaurant Group is on the list as pastry chef or baker of the year.
McCulla — who has been nominated before — bakes for Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, and Northside Social, all in Arlington.
Other restaurateurs with local ties are up for RAMMYs, though not for their Arlington locations. Hot Lola’s owner Kevin Tien is on the list for chef of the year for his work at D.C.’s Moon Rabbit while Rose Previte is nominated for restaurateur of the year. She’s planning to open up a new restaurant in Clarendon later this year that was previously dubbed Tawle but is now being called Kirby Club.
In addition, restaurant software startup MarginEdge, based in Ballston, is up for an award that “best exemplifies commitment to and support of RAMW.”
The full list of all the Arlington RAMMY finalists is below.
- Bar Ivy — New Restaurant of the Year
- Salt — Cocktail Program of the Year
- Moby Dick House of Kabob — Favorite Gathering Place
- Ruthie’s All Day — Favorite Gathering Place
- Circa — Best Brunch
- RASA — Favorite Fast Bites
- Stellina Pizzeria — Favorite Fast Bites
- Snjezana Jaksic, Ambar Clarendon — Manager of the Year
- Bridie McCulla, Liberty Restaurant Group — Pastry Chef or Baker of the Year
- Long Shot Hospitality — Restaurateur of the Year
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