Danny Lee and Scott Drewno, co-owners and chefs of The Fried Rice Collective, received the top award as Restaurateur of the Year during the 2022 RAMMYS held recently at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. (Courtesy of RAMW)
Danny Lee and Scott Drewno, co-owners and chefs of The Fried Rice Collective, received the top award as Restaurateur of the Year during the 2022 RAMMYS held recently at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. (Courtesy of RAMW)

Members of the restaurant industry appeared poised and ready to celebrate at the 40th RAMMY Awards held recently in Northwest during which winners and special recognitions were unveiled by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW). 

The event, known as the “food prom,” attracted more than 2,300 attendees who occupied two levels in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

But as many of the participants agreed, it’s been a long haul as restaurants have struggled to recover and rebuild during the ongoing pandemic. 

Kathy E. Hollinger, RAMW president and CEO, noted ongoing challenges as the industry continues to recover from a huge variety of losses.

“While it may not feel like it, we are indeed in a moment of hope and promise,” Hollinger said. “We stuck together, we worked together, we fought together to help each other survive and in many cases to thrive.”

As the audience entered the room for awards announcements, a special video was shown promoting Black-owned restaurants. Created by PepsiCo, the Instagram video leads viewers to recognize their favorite Black-owned restaurants.

Winners were announced in 22 categories with Scott Drewno and Danny Lee of “The Fried Rice Collective” receiving the top award as Restaurateur of the Year. Operating under the brand CHIKO for Chinese/Korean, “The Fried Rice Collective” includes several locations throughout the District, Maryland and Virginia. The restaurant group was started in 2017 by James Beard Award-nominated chefs Drewno and Lee. Their locations “Anju” and “I Egg You” include a robust catering arm that keeps the team growing.

During his acceptance remarks, Drewno embraced the industry’s unity in advocating fairness and acceptance of important causes. He noted how the District’s restaurants came together to support “Black Lives Matter, the LGBTQ+ community and spoke out against violence towards Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.

“I feel everybody has a place, everybody can be in the same room and work together for a common goal,” Drewno said. “I think the ecosystem of restaurants is a beautiful thing.”

Marking decades of successful business, 2022 Honorary Milestone RAMMY Award recipients celebrated the joy of keeping the doors open during troubling times while embracing loyal patrons. 

Those restaurants and their years in business included: 1789 and The Tombs (60 years); Anthony’s Restaurant (50 years); Bombay Bistro (30 years); Duangrat’s (35 years); El Tamarindo (40 years); Franklins (30 years); La Côte d’Or Café (30 years); Mike’s American (35 years); and Tabard Inn (100 years).

The RAMMYS took time to remember several people in the metropolitan area, some who represent members within the restaurant industry and others who have provided their support. 

Honorees included Richard Shannon, founder of the D.C.-based carryout seafood institution “Horace and Dickie’s;” RAMW advocates Kyle and Charlie Savage, a Prince George’s County couple who were tragically killed in an auto accident; and news anchors/reporters Wendy Rieger of NBC Washington and Bruce Johnson of WUSA-TV.

For a complete list of winners and honorees, visit RAMW at www.RAMW.org

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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