Republic won the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s 2019 RAMMY Award for “Beer Program of the Year.” Credit: Via Republic

Republic wins RAMMY award

The Takoma Park restaurant defeated four other finalists to win the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s 2019 RAMMY Award for “Beer Program of the Year.”

Winners were announced at the 37th annual RAMMY Awards gala on Sunday. Winners were selected by an anonymous panel of volunteer judges, with some help from the public.

Republic beat out Virginia restaurants B Side and Caboose Tavern, along with Pizzeria Paradiso and Roofers Union of the District. Republic is part of the Bethesda-based Black Restaurant Group.

No other county entities took home annual awards, though Silver Diner in Rockville and Moby Dick House of Kabob in Bethesda were recognized with Honorary Milestone RAMMY Awards for their longevity.

Chef Javier Fernandez of Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly in Rockville fell to Kwame Onwuachi of Kith/Kin for Rising Culinary Star of the Year.


Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring and its owners Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks lost out to Open Road and Redstone Restaurant Group for Favorite Gathering Place of the Year and Restaurateur of the Year, respectively.

Sabrine Marques of PassionFish Bethesda was beaten by Donna Seal of Oceanaire for Manager of the Year.

Denizens Brewing Co. celebrates five years


The Silver Spring brewery will commemorate a half-decade in business with a New Orleans-themed party on July 13.

Denizens was founded in 2014 by Emily Bruno, Jeff Ramirez and Julie Verratti, as the first brewery in Silver Spring. The company now self-distributes products to more than 100 bars, restaurants and retailers in the Washington region.

“To make it to five years in operation is a big deal for any small business,” Verratti said in an email. “Since we opened our doors in 2014, the craft beer scene in Montgomery County has exploded, and we are proud to be a part of it.”


The anniversary celebration is free to the public and will be held at the brewery’s beer garden and taproom at 1115 East West Highway.

Tony Kornheiser’s Chatter closes in D.C.

The commentator and former sportswriter’s stint as restaurateur was short lived. Kornheiser took over the Friendship Heights restaurant in early 2017, along with former University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams, talk show host Maury Povich and businessman Alan Bube.


Chatter needs repairs and renovations, but could reopen, Kornheiser told Eater DC.

The American restaurant was formerly known as Chads, and Chadwicks before that. Kornheiser added a podcast studio to the restaurant, and customers could watch his show record live.

Free coffee for first responders at Clove & Cedar


The specialty coffee shop in Bethesda will host its first community support event on Friday, with complimentary drinks for police officers, firefighters and emergency personnel.

From 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 5, first responders can grab coffee, kombucha, pressed juice or iced tea, among other beverages, free of charge.

“We just want to give back in a small way to these local heroes that give so much to the community,” Owner Janet Forlini said.


Forlini had outlined plans to hold community events when the coffee shop’s arrival was announced in December, and Friday’s event is expected to be the first of many similar promotions.

Clove & Cedar is on the ground level of the Bainbridge Bethesda apartment building at 4918 St. Elmo Ave. The shop had a free tasting for local businesses and apartment residents prior to its early July opening.

Ethiopian packaging company adds delivery service


Tsiona Foods, the Rockville-based packaging company supplying Ethiopian cuisine to grocers in the county, will now delivery items directly to consumers.

Founder Tsiona Bellete started Mama Desta earlier this month, a plant-based meal delivery service designed to bring unprocessed vegan food to county residents.

Bellete began packaging lentil dip and Injera Crisps from her Sheba Ethiopian restaurant in 2014. The operation soon outgrew the restaurant kitchen, and she opened a food processing facility in Rockville, supplying grocers such as Whole Foods, Dawson’s Market and MOM’s Organic Market.


Bellete is now tackling delivery service, and Mama Desta’s mission is to provide “healthy and convenient meal solutions for busy families, professionals, seniors and new moms,” she said in an email.

Mama Desta has a new menu every week, and every delivery includes an appetizer, soup, two salads, two vegetables and two stews. Extra sides can be added, for an additional cost. Meals don’t require any cooking, they just need to be heated.

Meal plans are divided by portions, with a two-person delivery costing $69, four-person $109, and six-person $139. Extra sides are $5 apiece.


Charlie Wright can be reached at