Two restaurants almost got Rammy nominations they weren’t eligible for

Go ahead and call us the Grinch that stole the Rammys -- specifically, Rammy Award nominations for two restaurants that didn't satisfy the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington's own criteria for nomination in their particular fields.

When The Post was provided with an embargoed list of this year's finalists ahead of Tuesday's announcement soiree, Columbia Heights cocktail bar Room 11 and 14th Street's G Sandwich were finalists in the "Favorite Gathering Place of the Year" and "Favorite Fast Bites" category, respectively. But after this reporter inquired about discrepancies between the restaurants' opening dates and the restaurant association's criteria for eligibility, they were removed from the list and replaced, hours before the ceremony was to begin.

Room 11 hasn't been open long enough to qualify for the "Favorite Gathering Place of the Year" award at the 2014 Rammys. (Lavanya Ramanathan/The Washington Post)

The requirements for the new "Fast Bites" category are as follows: "This nominee is a delicatessen, quick-serve restaurant, mobile food vendor, or coffee shop (with food menu) that demonstrates a dedication to good food and good service in a fast-casual environment. The nominee must have been in operation for a minimum of one year as of December 1, 2013." G Sandwich, a restaurant that opened July 26, 2013, was originally on this list, but was replaced by Amsterdam Falafelshop. Likewise, the requirements for the "Favorite Gathering Place of the Year" category are for a restaurant to have been open "for at least 5 years prior to December 1, 2013." Room 11, which opened in August 2009, was replaced by Bistrot Du Coin.

"We go through this fact-checking for an extensive period of time," RAMW president said Kathy Hollinger said. "Many times there are changes along the way."

The Rammy Awards serve as a way for the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington to honor its members' excellence, and the judging system evolves each year. This year, the judges were anonymous, rather than meeting as a group to discuss the nominees. Once the list of nominees was whittled down by the judges, Hollinger said RAMW staff checked to make sure each finalist was eligible and a RAMW member in good standing. However, Hollinger said that no one else had noticed the discrepancy in the opening dates for G Sandwich and Room 11, which resulted in the late change.

"I think we have a fantastic panel of judges who are able to speak to what they are witnessing in the industry across all categories," Hollinger said. "The finalists that will be announced showcase all that’s great about the restaurant industry scene today."

Sorry, Mike Isabella. Sorry, Room 11. There's always next year, at which point, both restaurants will certainly meet the requirements for eligibility.

 

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Here are the 2014 Rammy Award finalists