Press Club

The 2011 RAMMY award finalists have been announced, but only two Arlington restaurants made the list.

Clarendon’s Liberty Tavern was nominated for Best Upscale Casual Restaurant and Lyon Park’s EatBar was nominated for Best Neighborhood Gathering Space.

In a fractional victory, Tiffany MacIsaac of Neighborhood Restaurant Group — which operates EatBar, Tallula and Rustico in Arlington, along with restaurants in the District and Alexandria — was nominated for Best Pastry Chef.

Five nominees were announced in each of 14 categories. Among the categories in which Arlington did not have a nominee were Best New Restaurant, Best Mixology/Beverage Program and Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene.

Last year Arlington had four RAMMY nominees. Each went home from the award ceremony empty-handed.

Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief

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Despite Arlington’s burgeoning culinary scene, the local restaurants nominated for the 2010 RAMMY awards were shut out at tonight’s ceremony. The annual awards dinner, organized by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, was held at the Marriott Wardman Park in Northwest D.C.

The Arlington nominees who went home empty-handed were:

  • EatBar (Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year)
  • Eventide (New Restaurant of the Year)
  • Liam LaCivita — The Liberty Tavern (Rising Culinary Star of the Year)
  • Josh Short — EatBar/Tallula/Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Pastry Chef of the Year)

Our Northern Virginia neighbors fared better at the ceremony, however.

2941 Restaurant of Falls Church won for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year and its pastry chef, Anthony Chavez, won for Pastry Chef of the Year. Alexandria’s Vermilion Restaurant was named Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year.

The winners in the remaining categories all hailed from the District.

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Fresh off the successful launches of Lyon Hall and Northside Social, the Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group is taking over Lee Highway institution Alpine Restaurant, two sources tell ARLnow.com.

The 44-year-old Italian eatery closed last month after owner Ermanno Tonizzo decided to sell the restaurant and retire. We hear that the new owners are trying to decide whether Alpine will remain a restaurant or will be transformed into something else.

It’s not clear what other form the property may take — a bar or a coffee shop would not be out of the realm of possibility — but so far the new owners have been very tight-lipped about their apparent acquisition.

Liberty’s Stephen Fedorchak had no comment about the group’s plans. Without explicitly confirming that a deal was made, he said it would be “months” before anything regarding Alpine is revealed.

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Note: See our latest news on Lyon Hall here.

Lyon Hall is announcing its presence to the world. The French-style brasserie, located a block from the Clarendon Metro, just erected some retro-themed outside signage. It has also launched a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

The owners, who first made their mark in Clarendon with Liberty Tavern, hope to open Lyon Hall by the end of the month. Their other Clarendon development, Northside Social, is expected to open around the same time.

Perhaps trying to distance itself from similar but pricey DC establishments like Brasserie Beck, Lyon Hall is promoting itself as a “casual and affordable” neighborhood restaurant.

Lyon Hall will feature seating for 231, including an outdoor patio and a private dining room. Food will be of the “French brasserie fare” variety, with a heavy German influence. The menu will include burgers, steaks, schnitzel, a variety of sausages and a raw bar.

The drink menu will feature 20 wines by the glass, 40 wines by the bottle, 20 beers on tap and a “wide variety” of bottled beers from France, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic.

The restaurant is named after Frank Lyon, who developed the 1940s Streamline Moderne building in which Lyon Hall is housed.

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See updated articles on Lyon Hall here and here. See more on Northside Social here.

Liberty Tavern’s owner is expanding his presence in Clarendon with two new storefronts, expected to open in a few weeks. Northside Social, a high-end coffee shop and wine bar, will be located at Wilson Blvd and Fairfax Dr, across from Silver Diner. Lyon Hall, a “European-style brasserie,” will be located at Washington Blvd and N Highland St.

Washingtonian has the details on two of Liberty’s new culinary hires, both of whom hail from well-regarded Manhattan restaurants.

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