Several Local Restaurateurs, Bethesda Bartender Win Restaurant Association Awards

Annual RAMMYs recognize regional dining


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A chain that started in Montgomery County, a Bethesda restaurant employee and several local restaurateurs were among the winners of the Restaurant Association’s regional dining awards this year.

The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington gives out its RAMMY awards annually to restaurants in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., for a number of categories. This year’s award gala was held Sunday in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Cava, a Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant that has expanded to more than 30 locations across the country, won for Favorite Fast Bites of the Year and its owners won Restaurateur of the Year. The chain started with a location in Rockville and now has restaurants in Bethesda and Silver Spring.

Chef Dimitri Moshovitis posted on Instagram to celebrate the win.

Another local winner was Joseph Cassis, head bartender at PassionFish Bethesda, who won Employee of the Year. Cassis started at the Bethesda seafood restaurant when it opened in 2015, and worked at PassionFish in Reston before that.

“It’s a true honor to be recognized for doing something I love,” he wrote in a press release statement. “I’ve never been able to match the sensation of a busy restaurant where the staff is working in unison to make things run smoothly. There is nothing is quite as fun as the bedlam of a busy happy hour.”

Other local restaurateurs won for their restaurants in Washington. Mike Isabella, a celebrity chef who operates Kapnos Kouzina in Bethesda, won for Cocktail Program of the Year for his D.C. restaurant Kapnos, and Bethesda resident Jose Andres, another celebrity chef and owner of Jaleo, won Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year for minibar, his unconventional restaurant in Northwest.

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