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Local Restaurants Kick Off D.C. Beer Week Events

As part of the kick-off to 2017 D.C. Beer Week, several restaurants will be participating in the more-than-week-long event from August 20 to August 27. See below for select D.C. Beer Week events as reported around the Washington, D.C. area:

Sunday, August 20, 2017, D.C. Beer Week:

Homestead DC and Devils Backbone

Homestead DC and Devils Backbone will offer customers a day for  drinking and oysters. They’ll learn more about the Bay and get a chance to donate to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation ($1 per oyster will go towards the Chesapeake Bay). Striped Bass Pale Ale and Vienna Lager will be on tap as they up the ante on the celebration with raffles and giveaways, starting at 5 p.m.

Where: Homestead DC, 3911 Georgia Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20011

When: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m

Monday, August 21, 2017, D.C. Beer Week:

Red Apron Burger Bar

Red Apron Burger Bar will turn up the heat up on its taps. As part of D.C. Beer Week, all 18 drafts at Red Apron Burger Bar will be available at happy hour pricing, which runs from $3 to $5.

Where: Red Apron Burger Bar, 1323 Connecticut Avenue Northwest Washington, D.C. 20036

When: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day, Monday, August 21 to Friday, August 25

Proof Restaurant and Port City Brewing Co.

Proof will be holding a special beer event in conjunction with Port City Brewing. Proof has posted the event on its Facebook page:

“Join Port City Brewing Co. and Proof Restaurant for a twist on the classic beer/wine dinner to kick off D.C. Beer Week. Rather than stick to one beverage, guests can enjoy a three-course meal from Chef Austin Fausett of Proof accompanied by both beer and wine. To mix things up, the Proof team has chosen the beer and Port City founder Bill Butcher, a former fine wine specialist, has chosen the wine.

Tickets are $74 per person, plus 10% DC sales tax and 20% gratuity.”

To purchase tickets, navigate to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dc-beer-week-port-city-x-proof-beer-vs-wine-dinner-tickets-36613015515

Alternately, you can email the restaurant at Proof@ProofDC.com or call the restaurant at (202) 737-7663 to purchase tickets directly.

Where: Proof Restaurant, 775 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001

When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tacos & Takeovers at Taqueria & Rosticeria Fresca

House-made tacos and Atlas Brew Works Beer will be paired together at the Tacos & Takeovers event, which starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.:

  • $2 Off all Atlas drafts(Dance of Days, District Common, Ponzi, Rye, Rye My Darling)
  • $6 House Made Guac & Chips
  • $6 House Made Soft Tacos
    (3 per order w/ choice of Pork, Chicken, Steak or Vegetarian)

Where: Taqueria & Rosticeria Fresca, 701 H Street N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002

When: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Partisan Sour Week

The Partisan is returning Sour Week with 10 “incredible rare tart & funky beers.” Guests will be able to pair these with 10 types of Red Apron charcuterie. A-la-carte ordering and pairings with flights of 3 or 5 beers will be available.

Where: The Partisan, 709 D Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004

When: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

DC Beer Week 2017 City Tap

Tuesday, August 22, 2017, D.C. Beer Week:

City Tap: Flights & Dogs at City Tap

City Tap is holding a hot dog and beer sampling event, “Flights & Dogs at City Tap,” as repoted on its Facebook page event:

“City Tap is kicking off DC Beer Week with Flights & Dogs! Join us on Tuesday, August 22nd to sample different hot dogs and beer from 11 different breweries – plus City Tap! Breweries will compete to see who can come up with the best hot dog recipe. Guests can purchase a flight of beer & hot dog pairings for $25. Then it’s time to vote for your favorite!

In the running: Ommegang, 3 Stars Brewing Company, Bell’s Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Right Proper Brewing Company, Samuel Adams, Atlas Brew Works, Victory Beer, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Graft Cider, Lagunitas Brewing Co, and City Tap House Penn Quarter.”

Where: City Tap, 901 9th Street, N.W. , Washington, D.C. 20001

When: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

More events can be found at the 2017 D.C. Beer Week calendar. #dcbw2017 #dcbw

Georgian Restaurant Supra to Open in Shaw Neighborhood

Supra, a Georgian restaurant, founded by lawyer Jonathan Nelms, named Supra, will open in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The name stems from the word in Georgian for a celebratory feast. The menu will feature small plates reflecting Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, according to a statement from the restaurant. An opening date for Supra will be made available in the coming weeks. See below for additional information about this new restaurant landing in the popular Shaw:

Supra, a Georgian restaurant, announcement:

“Founder and co-owner Jonathan Nelms announces plans to open D.C.’s first Georgian restaurant, Supra, coming this fall to Washington’s Shaw neighborhood at 1205 11th Street, NW. The kitchen will be helmed by Chef Malkhaz Maisashvili, who brings over 25 years’ experience preparing Georgian cuisine and is the former Chef of the Embassy of Georgia in Washington. Taking its name from the Georgian word for a traditional celebratory feast, Supra will open later this fall with lunch, brunch, and dinner service.

Supra’s menu will highlight the diverse, richly flavorful cuisine, which features many vegetable-forward small plates as well as fresh meats, breads, and cheeses. Broadly reminiscent of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, Georgia’s kitchens have been influenced over the centuries by many cultures due to its location at the confluence of many empires (from the Ancient Greeks to the nations along the old Silk Road), while retaining to this day a uniquely Georgian core.

Focusing on Georgia’s distinct regional specialties, Supra will showcase signature Georgian dishes such as the simple — but unforgettable — cheese-stuffed khachapuri breads, a walnut-sauced chicken called satsivi, and pkhali, a vegetable pâté. Fresh herbs will be prominent throughout the menu, and guests can expect to see frequently used Georgian ingredients like pomegranates and walnuts in many dishes, from salads to soups to mains and desserts.

Jonathan tapped Chef Malkhaz to lead the kitchen after two successful tasting dinners including industry experts, Georgian food enthusiasts, and neighbors completely new to the cuisine. In fact, Jonathan and Malkhaz unknowingly connected years before. While celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary back in 2011, Jonathan and his wife and Supra co-owner, Laura, dined at the Tbilisi restaurant In the Shadow of Metekhi, where Malkhaz was running the kitchen.

In addition to featuring Georgia’s best-known and favorite dishes, Chef Malkhaz will also adapt forgotten recipes he collected while visiting every region of Georgia for the TV show “Treasures of Georgian Cuisine.” Wanting guests to feel like every meal is a “supra,” Malkhaz and his team will highlight the diversity of the cuisine and capture both the ancient traditions and modern face of the Republic of Georgia.

Jonathan has long been fascinated with Georgia, beginning with a teenage friendship with a Soviet-Georgian exchange student, who inspired him to embark on his own exchange year in the Soviet Union through the American Field Service. It was during this time that he had his first exposure to Georgian food and wine, a cultural passion that he channeled into a legal career focused on high-risk business transactions in Russia, Georgia, Central Asia, and the rest of the former Soviet Union. A fluent Russian speaker, he frequently travels to the region and lived, together with Laura and their daughters, for three years in Moscow, where they observed the overwhelming popularity of Georgian restaurants among expats and locals alike.

Georgian wines and cocktails inspired by the flavors and liqueurs of the region will round out the menu. With a wine culture believed to be the world’s oldest, dating back some 8,000 years, Georgians are as proud of their wine as they are of their food, with the country’s viticultural exports growing in sophistication, refinement, and frequency on Western shelves.

2Scale Interiors designed the space, with Virginia-based JSV Construction, the team behind the Russian-themed Mari Vanna in Dupont Circle, responsible for the build-out. The interior design focuses on Georgian art and culture, including displays of traditional Georgian hats and “supra” tablecloths, and art from Moscow, D.C., and Tbilisi-based artists, including a metalwork installation featuring the Georgian alphabet.

The restaurant will open serving dinner, rolling out lunch and weekend brunch services shortly thereafter. Final food and beverage menus, along with operating hours, reservations, and other information will be made available closer to opening.”

Supra, 1205 11th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Read more stories about the local restaurant industry in our summer digital magazine issue.

Elevating the Craft Beer Experience

Craft beer’s popularity puts the impetus on restaurant and bar owners to deliver a best-in-class craft beer experience for on-premise drinking, paying attention to the draft quality of beer, beer pouring systems and maintenance. According to the Brewers Association, 10% of big beer is sold on draft, and nearly a third of craft beer is sold this way. At the moment, full-flavored beer is having its moment, but these beers are more perishable. A big part of elevating the craft beer experience might be in the marketing of it, but an attention to details in keeping beer fresh, enjoyable and taking the energy up a notch form part of a strategy to make the program the best it can be.

Energizing a craft beer program

DC Brau collaborates with several restaurants and restaurant breweries for special events. Recently, it supported the three-year anniversary of Brookland’s Finest when the restaurant held a BBQ event to commemorate the event. Beer events and festivals can also draw a lot of attention and energize beer-loving fans. Denizens Brewery, a restaurant brewery and brewery distributor keeps things fresh by releasing a new beer approximately once per month.

Julie Verratti, Denizens Brewery co-founder and director of business development says the restaurant also focuses on large events, including an event held during the winter, called the Winter Cask Classic. The festival featured a hockey shoot-out in the Denizens beer garden and included sampling of Denizens and guest-cask selections. Every year, Denizens Brewery invites 30 breweries and offers up 100 different styles of wild and sour beers for sampling in an event known as Make it Funky.

“This summer in conjunction with our 3rd anniversary we are holding an adult carnival that we are calling Cirque du Denizens,” adds Verratti. “It should be a bunch of fun with acrobats, games, a charitable dunk tank, and certainly not an event that I have ever seen at a brewery before.”

Cleaning and storage

Cleaning beer lines is critical. Typically, there is not enough attention to paid to this, but they should be cleaned every two weeks, at most, says Julia Herz, craft beer director, Brewers Association. Cold storage is also an important part of delivering a better beer experience. Craft beer can have a shorter shelf life than bread or milk. The types of craft beer that are found in the craft milieu contain oxygen and that will advance the fermentation process, change the flavor and lead to spoilage. Beer kegs should be properly handled and cold-stored.

With the exception of barrel-aged beer, which is stored warm, it will definitely perish more quickly and lead to a very bad experience when poured for customers.

Herz also recommends proper rotation as another key best practice. The “first-in, first-out” method is the rule. “Definitely sell the oldest beer first,” she suggests. To emphasize the issue of spoilage, a beer like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, she notes, will only have 150 days of shelf life once it is tapped and stored under proper conditions. Imagine what improper warm storage will do to the beer. A process for proper rotation will also ensure a better drinking experience for seasonals, which are available for a limited time, but make up the number two beer category in craft beer.

Training and knowledge

Training of all of these best practices mentioned are critical to the process. Servers and bartenders need to be well-educated and informed in this regard because they can guide customers to the best options personalized to their tastes by making the appropriate recommendations. Communication is a part of training. A few common questions that need to be addressed: What new brews are going to be featured? How will the selection of beers pair with the food on the menu? What is the current offering of beers? And when will limited-beer selections be rotated out?

Moreover, it is also essential to understand the proper cleaning procedures for both tap lines and the glassware. Dirty glasses can be a turnoff to customers and they can signal to customers just how dirty they are. Dirty glasses actually will show bubbles on the side of glasses with dirt due to the oxidation in beer, so it’s important to clean the glasses thoroughly and properly, otherwise, the spotted defects would likely cost the business an unpleasant customer experience and, more importantly, loss of revenue.

The Brewers Association offers resources on training and maintenance of beer systems at craftbeer.com/food/beer-and-food-course.

Check out the Eatery Pulse TV episode on elevating the guest and craft beer experience here.

This article was originally published June 27 in our summer digital magazine issue.

Eatery Pulse TV Releases Episode Three: Restaurant Guest Experience, Craft Beer

Guest experience, craft beer news show set in the beautiful Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington, Va.

  • Episode Number: Three (3)
  • Location: Barley Mac, Arlington, Va.
  • Episode Anchors: Larissa Aguirre and Devyn Jones
  • Episode Content: Restaurant guest experience, craft beer news show
  • Episode Production: Studio Solutions EP

Eatery Pulse TV Episode Three Summary

Eatery Pulse TV released its episode on “Elevating the Guest and Craft Beer Experience.” In Episode Three, we dive into the guest experience, how restaurants can stay competitive, and also how they can provide the best craft beer program possible. Restaurateurs are looking to elevate their game as diners become more selective about their dining options and they are exposed to a myriad of gourmet food choices. While many restaurants are overlaying convenience on their operations to stay competitive, top leaders in the industry are doubling down on hospitality and service, making their restaurants a “home away from home.”

To learn how restaurants are navigating the competitive dining scene in Arlington, Va., we conduct an interview with Max Cabrera, bar manager of Barley Mac to learn about his perspectives on the Arlington, Va. clientele and the steps Barley Mac is taking to develop a reputation as a great dining and drinking hangout. As craft beer becomes more popular, restaurants that serve beer are taking their beverage programs up a notch, focusing on local brews, the guest experience and the proper storage and handling of craft beer. Additionally, the show taps into several expert sources including Catapult Marketing, some reporting from Arlington Magazine and the insights and best practices from the Brewers Association.

Read more about craft beer in the summer 2017 issue of our digital magazine.

Eatery Pulse News Announces Restaurant Documentary, Readies Fall Magazine Issue for D.C.

Eatery Pulse is announcing restaurant documentary film, expands content library for D.C. restaurateurs

August 1, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) —Eatery Pulse News Media, a fast-growing trade news outlet for restaurateurs in the Metro-Washington, D.C. market, is readying the August/September Technology and Seafood issue of its local digital magazine. Eatery Pulse offers a portfolio of information services, news, and free resources at eaterypulse.com and a YouTube-based news show at eaterypulse.tv.  Additionally, Eatery Pulse is announcing a restaurant documentary film that will start filming sometime by November of this year, produced by Ciné by Eatery Pulse.

The August/September digital issue will focus on point-of-sale optimization, technological platforms in food delivery, as well as data analysis to increase profits. There will also be a special seafood section, discussing major trends in sustainability and traceability.

Expanding access to trade news and best practices content for restaurant owners in D.C.

“We’re being embraced in the D.C. market because of our data-driven content, news analysis, and our reporting of hyper-local trends,” says Executive Editor Rick Zambrano. “Restaurateurs realize there are very few resources dedicated to them and provided to them on a complimentary basis—they enjoy the benefits of gaining access to our digital content online and on YouTube.”

Eatery Pulse TV recently released its Episode Three, “Elevating the Restaurant and Craft Beer Experience,” featuring Eatery Pulse TB Anchors Devyn Jones and Larissa Aguirre. The show covers topics in restaurant competition, consumer behaviors, purchasing and craft beer trends. The show can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoCrMEczxzA

The YouTube channel has garnered more than 11,000 impressions and the digital magazine has exceeded 2,000 impressions. Zambrano said Eatery Pulse is ahead of schedule as it relates to its end-of-year milestone goal for its niche publication Eatery Pulse News. Cut-above purveyors wishing to access advertising and marketing options, will navigate to advertise.eaterypulse.tv.

The Ciné team will manage the first documentary in its movie library as it uses the document to answer the questions of how and why the restaurant industry is changing, and what consumer behaviors and technological disruption is at play, while overlaying aspects of local and regional restaurant ownership.

Atypical perspectives, insights from top thought leaders to be involved

Zambrano says he will invite top executives and leaders in the restaurant industry, to participate. Additionally, independent restaurateurs, who are locally- and regionally-based in top restaurant cities will be invited to participate. As a writer and researcher, Zambrano has already interviewed dozens of top restaurant executives and consultants in the past. His own experiences in writing, research, trend analysis, financial analysis and operations support in food-related businesses will add immense value to the project.

The project will be reaching out to those individuals as fall 2017 begins. Initial filming will take place in the Metro-D.C. area, the city Bon Appetit named “Restaurant City of the Year.” and then expand to two or three other cities.

The project is being detailed currently and will be documented for participants, donors and sponsors, and the project summary (prospectus) be available online in September. Ciné is expected to create a separate project website and the project is expected to be supported by a handful of top-tier foodservice companies, including distributors, suppliers and technology providers, and a robust viewership model currently being erected.

“The project is a great way to document what is happening—to segue into the new era of foodservice, being disrupted by technology and being changed by food entrepreneurs in a way that may not be recognizable five years from now,” notes Zambrano. “We do want to celebrate our accomplishments in culinary arenas, but we it’s imperative that we take the time to see the challenges ahead and understand how the industry should respond. Rather than amplify the customary sound bite, we’re doing a deep dive to expand on the best, and most unique perspectives.”

About Eatery Pulse News Media

Eatery Pulse News Media signals the arrival of a restaurant industry trade news network in online video format, accompanied by an informative, stylish, digital magazine for the D.C. area, and a live-events and direct- services platform managed by consultancy Studio Solutions EP. The all-digital news network responded to a need in Metro-D.C. for increased access for restaurateurs to cutting-edge news topics, best practices and hyper-local D.C.-area trends. Topics comprise technology, including mobile and IoRT, culinary trends and insights, marketing & social media, operations, and new concept design. Ciné is its newly-formed film unit for films and documentaries.

Contact:
Rick Zambrano
media@eaterypulse.net
301-944-0889 x6

RAMW Announces 2017 RAMMY Award Winners at Dynamic D.C. Restaurant Industry Gala

2017 RAMMY Award selections announced at convention center gala

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan of Washington (RAMW) held the 35th Annual RAMMY Award ceremony in style and in star-studded fashion in partnership with DC Events and the Citi Open Tennis Tournament at the Walter E. Convention Center. The July 30 gala pulled out all the stops with a red carpet, DJ-driven music, tasting tables from near and far, including succulent indulgences and beverage bars from its finalists, as well as samples from international tourism, diplomatic and trade associations, including Taste of Peru, The Argentine Embassy and Wines of Argentina, and much more. This year, the RAMMYS co-hosted the Citi Open Tennis Tournament Players Party within the event, adding to the forum’s celebrity status.

A cast of notable personalities among D.C.’s elite were on tap to present the awards. A few of these included Joe Yonan, food/dining editor of the Washington Post, Council Member Jack Evans (Ward 2); Eun Yang, NBC Washington reporter, Holly Morris from Fox 5, RAMW Chariman John Snedden, RAMMYS Gala Chair David Moran, and 2016 RAMMYS winner Scott Drewno (Chiko). Kathy E. Hollinger, president & CEO of RAMW, kicked off the Awards ceremony.

Eatery Pulse TV Anchor Mina Lezcano 2017 RAMMYS

Eatery Pulse TV was represented at the event by Mina Lezcano, an anchor for the news show that was created and designed for restaurateurs in Metro D.C. and available on YouTube, as well as a photographer from Studio Solutions, to capture the memories of the night. Stay tuned for our 2017 RAMMYS memories album section in our upcoming August/September digital magazine issue.

2017 RAMMYS winners

Here are the 2017 RAMMYS winners selected for each category:

Employee of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is Joseph Cassis, PassionFish Bethesda

Manager of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to John Grace of The Hamilton

Rising Culinary Star of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is Ryan Ratino of (now closed) Ripple

Regional Food and Beverage Producer of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to DC Brau Brewing Company

 

Upscale Casual Restaurant of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is Proof

 

Casual Restaurant of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to Compass Rose Bar + Kitchen

 

Beer Program of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is Jack Rose Dining Saloon

 

Cocktail Program of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to Kapnos by Mike Isabella

 

Service Program of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is The Source by Wolfgang Puck

 

Wine Program of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is Charlie Palmer Steak


Joan Hisaoka Allied Member of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to Acme Paper & Supply Co., Inc.

 

Pastry Chef of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is Jemil Gadea of Masseria

 

Formal Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to minibar by José Andrés

New Restaurant of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to Hazel

 

Restaurateur of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winners are Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri Moshovitis, Ted Xenohristos, and Brett Schulman, Cava Group

Chef of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to Tarver King of The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

Voting Public Winners

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is Pearl Dive Oyster Palace


Upscale Brunch of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to Convivial

 

Casual Brunch of the Year

2017 RAMMYS winner is Republic

 

Favorite Fast Bites of the Year

2017 RAMMY Award went to Cava Grill

 

Joan Hisoaka Allied Member of the Year (selected by executive committee)

2017 RAMMYS winner is Acme Paper & Supply

 

Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award (selected by executive committee)

2017 RAMMY Award went to Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group

Eatery Pulse News at 2017 RAMMYS

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Chef Sasha Felikson in Contention for 2017 RAMMYS Rising Culinary Star Award

Executive chef at Doi Moi is passionate about Asian culinary technique, food sourcing, attention to detail

Chefs in the Washington, D.C. area are seeing the fruit of their labor as the city gets recognized as one of the top food destinations in the country. It wasn’t easy—the town was known for political power lunches and an abundance of steakhouses not too long ago. Chefs and restaurateurs knew this moment would come, however, as they attracted new chefs and culinary talent to this city, and the growing private sector spurred an interest in the global flavors that had already been imported by immigrants and foreign embassy teams. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and the RAMMY Awards are part of this transformation for long-recognizing time-honored, as well as up-and-coming talent in D.C., through its awards and the July 30, 2017 gala, providing a stage and encouraging the culinary talent that the city and surrounding suburbs have to offer.

One such young chef is Sasha Felikson, a contender for the 2017 Rising Culinary Star of the Year Award at the RAMMYS. As the executive chef of Doi Moi, his energy and passion for serving great food and tapping into global inspiration is well known and unrelenting. Taking the culinary helm at Doi Moi, where the food is highly influenced by the late restaurateur Mark Kuller, and the founder’s’ journey to Southeast Asia, his days are still long and exciting, he notes. At Doi Moi, you see deep Thai and Vietnamese influences, and it is perhaps the perfect place for Felikson, who has immersed himself in fine-dining, with early-career training in Asian fusion, to come into his own.

The journey of Felikson, rising culinary star finalist

Originally born in the Ukraine Republic, before the fall of the U.S.S.R, Felikson’s journey to Doi Moi was rather scenic and uncertain. He and his family emigrated to the U.S. through Italy and found themselves landing when he was three in Boston, which has a large Russian and Ukrainian population. They took up roots in the D.C. area, moving to Rockville, Md, but he, himself, detoured to Colorado for a while.

Felikson wanted to study the culinary arts but, early on, was persuaded instead to learn it through practical application and working with top chefs. After attending Salisbury College and studying Psychology, he spent about two years in Colorado, for a time, working at Bim Bam Boo, an Asian fusion & Thai cuisine restaurant in Boulder. A typical day there could exceed 18 hours, not too much longer than Felikson’s current shifts at Doi Moi.

Fine-dining restaurants can be the jewel of a collection, a hobby, a pursuit of ambition or recognition in the culinary scene for their owners. There can be hints of an aggressive crash and burn style, putting the pursuit of culinary excellence over business imperatives. There has been some of that in Felikson’s culinary career, but also the fortune of working with top restaurateurs who have survived the scene or who are more financially-disciplined. His career includes stints at Graffiato and Kapnos, by Mike Isabella, for example.

Doi Moi restaurant, Eatery Pulse News

Since 2011, Felikson has dived deeply into the fine-dining scene and upscale-casual restaurants—his interests mostly in the former. He read “The Fat Duck Cookbook” by Heston Blumenthal (2008).  Before he could do the deep dive into fine dining, he was keen on learning the basic fundamentals of cooking and that happened during his time at a steakhouse in Boulder, before moving back to the East Coast. After those basics, it was time to elevate his craft and develop his own style. Citizen at the Mandarin Hotel, Rogue 24, the former Table in the Shaw all served to sharpen the acumen.

In speaking with Felikson, one gains an appreciation for how driven he is to improve his game and that the hard knocks and a few humiliations in kitchens of the past were for a larger purpose. “All about bringing to the best that you can, with good ingredients,” he says. “Focus on today, and today is what matters. What matters is what you do on that day, and what you put your heart and your soul in.” He looks outside the U.S. to appreciate progressive policies regarding food and agriculture. “The country (U.S.) needs to invest in good food and agriculture.” He’s very interested in the sourcing of local foods and in supporting smaller restaurant and restaurant groups that adopt this thinking.

“There are many countries that are super-progressive. And they focus on culinary and independent eateries, they focus on the small businesses.” You won’t see the young chef patronizing or supporting chains that are sourcing from large, distant suppliers, even the well-known chains started here in the D.C. area.

Felikson helped open Menu MBK in Penn Quarter and then went on to Mini Bar, where fine-dining was like a religion. His time there was made more enjoyable by his friendship with Johnny Spero who was a chef there. Spero appears to be close to opening Reverie in Georgetown, one of the anticipated openings of 2017, by all lifestyle-magazine accounts. Reverie will open at the Grace Street Collective.

‘Turning point’ at Doi Moi

Additional techniques were picked up at Yona in Arlington, Va. with Jonah Kim, who left that partnership with Mike Isabella for opportunities in Miami. When it was time for a turning point and better financial focus at Doi Moi, Jason and Max Kuller, the current owners turned to Felikson. Through better portion control and an attentiveness to quality and not quantity, the financial performance of the kitchen has improved. This work is synergistic to the new-found zeal for quality.

Doi Moi Photo courtesy- Julep Public RelationsThe menu sees a few tweaks here and there, but the core of it, which has won accolades, is stable and true to the original concept. Doi Moi won’t take away the menu favorites patrons have fallen in love with. With a philosophy in local sourcing, the meats and produce at the restaurant have changed to being sourced from local and regional farms.There’s a deep interest in supporting local agriculture and moving away from “commodity food.”

For Felikson, these changes are also improving the taste of food. Felikson is known to challenge the kitchen staff to put out the best food they can. Rather than go into tirades like the one from a past mentor, he’ll tell staff when he’s disappointed and not get upset. “When you see the dish come to your table,” says Felikson. “It shows a level of care. The cooks at Doi Moi have a level of care that transcends (their job).” After all, he’s appreciative of Japanese techniques, and how Japanase chefs put so much attention into putting together ingredients—such discipline there. “That is the most responsible thing you can do,” he says.

In the rising star’s mind, he is a approaching the culinary style at Doi Moi with a bit of danger, but in a fun and positive way. You may see hints of Eastern European, of Korean cuisine. For him, they are interconnected and are similarly-rooted. And it can be cross-Asian, too. He aims to combine traditional culinary techniques with adaptations of Southeast Asian cuisine. He fortifies curries with miso and beurre blanc, for example.

With the changes Felikson has made at Doi Moi, the restaurant is on a positive trajectory. Food costs have improved and sales targets have been met—all exceeding last year’s metrics. In October, Doi Moi was added to Bib Gourmand list in the prestigious Michelin Guide, an award that was very satisfying to Felikson and the entire staff of the restaurant.

Felikson sees comparisons between playing tennis and delivering on the culinary promise of a restaurant. Tennis is an individual sport and there has to be that commitment to performing at one’s best and winning. In his spare time, he enjoys music, the arts and museums. He has a passion for improving his tennis game and for “running around D.C.” and enjoying food at restaurants and critiquing them. He’s not shy of his ambitions. Felikson is looking for the local restaurant industry to be profitable and for local owners to draw economically from their accomplishments. At his current pace, he’ll also take be able to take part in that reward in short order.

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The RAMMY Awards Gala Announces New Activations, Partners in 2017

35th annual event returns to Walter E. Washington Convention Center July 30

Washington, D.C. (July 26, 2017)—On Sunday, July 30 the 35th Annual RAMMY Awards return to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, bringing together tastemakers from across the region’s foodservice industry for a black-tie gala like no other. A centerpiece of the summer season, the awards are an enduring celebration of the region’s world renowned culinary scene, hosted by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) in partnership with its sponsor Events DC.

“In 2016, Washington, D.C. was named Bon Appétit’s ‘Restaurant City of the Year’ and ZAGAT called us the ‘Hottest Food City’ in America. Our outstanding chef community earned the attention of Michelin, which published its first guide to Washington, and the well-deserved attention keeps coming,” said RAMW President & CEO Kathy E. Hollinger. “This year the RAMMYS will celebrate these shared accolades, while we honor the business owners and talented stars who are making D.C. and the region’s scene so hot.”

This summer, Events DC, the District’s official convention and sports authority, unveiled a new promotional campaign called “We Make D.C. Happen” and the individuals from the local hospitality and business industry honored at RAMMYS exemplify this message. Events DC has been a pioneer in developing and driving unforgettable and innovative events and projects with organizations across the city that include the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Embassy Chef Challenge, and the future Entertainment and Sports Arena and 190-acre RFK Campus future project. Holding the region’s top restaurant honors at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center connects the message of excellence to an industry that is both an impactful economic driver in the city, and is making waves globally, by putting D.C. at the forefront of the culinary arts.

“For a fourth year, we have the honor of hosting the RAMMYS, and it promises to be the best yet,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, President & Chief Executive Officer of Events DC.

“Our restaurants are among the best in the world, and this year we worked with RAMW to elevate the RAMMYS experience to highlight excellence across communities. This year we are giving guests the chance to mingle with both the best chefs and some of the best athletes in the world too. The timing of the gala worked perfectly to welcome longtime partner, the Citi Open tennis tournament, and its annual Player Party, to the RAMMYS, so the event will be filled with talent from the kitchen to the court.”

The Player Party will be a two-level activation inside the ballroom where world class chefs and restaurateurs will mingle with renowned athletes from around the world. RAMW will also bring international flavors to the menu for the evening. In coordination with Events DC’s culinary team, towering pavilions sponsored by Argentina, Chile, Peru, and the Republic of Korea will delight guests with food, wine, and spirits from around the globe.

Additional displays from Heineken, ProFish, Congressional Seafood, Pepsi 1893, Distillery 209, and Republic National Distributing Company round out the menu for the expected sold out crowd of 2,000.

Limited tickets are available through July 26, and can be purchased by visiting www.therammys.org. For more information about the RAMMYS or to join sponsors like the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME), or Open Table, email therammys@ramw.org or call 202-331-5990.

The RAMMYS
Presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), The RAMMY Awards Gala honors the exceptional ability and accomplishments of the hard-working individuals and organizations of the region’s restaurants and foodservice community. Named the #1 Food & Restaurant event by BIZBASH Magazine since 2009, The RAMMYS celebrate one of Metropolitan Washington’s greatest assets: Its restaurants.

Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW)
The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is the regional trade association representing restaurants and the foodservice industry in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Established in 1920, RAMW is an advocate, resource and community for its members. The Association works to promote and sustain the growth and development of the industry while providing its members legislative and regulatory representation, marketing and small business support, programming and events. RAMW strives to serve its members with professionalism and integrity, and provide them the training, education and support they need to grow a successful business.

Events DC
Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the nation’s capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy that generates over $400 million annually in total economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the Stadium-Armory campus, which includes Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and surrounding Festival Grounds, the non-military functions of the D.C. Armory and Maloof Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Events DC also built and now serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. The most recent addition is Gateway DC, an innovative and versatile space featuring a covered and open-air pavilion in the center of a 1-acre park, conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.eventsdc.com and find us on social media – Facebook (Events DC), Twitter (@TheEventsDC) and Instagram (@EventsDC).

RAMW-Citi Open Tennis Tournament Collaboration Adds Excitement to 2017 RAMMY Awards

RAMW-2017 Citi Open Tennis collaboration energizes this year’s RAMMYs

The 2017 RAMMY Awards Gala, the annual celebration of the best in the D.C. restaurant scene by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), will be held July 30 at the Walter E Washington D.C. Convention Center. This year’s event will see further collaboration between the U.S. Citi Open and the RAMMY Awards 35th annual celebration. The Citi Open Tennis Tournament will be hosting a player’s party at the RAMMYs.

The Citi Open Player Party at the RAMMYs July 30 is held for tournament players and event VIPs. The players will be able to benefit from one of the most exciting events in D.C.’s food scene, and build additional goodwill between the tournament and the D.C. restaurant community. Furthermore, RAMW will again be offering Citi Open Dining Passports to players for participating restaurants that accept the passport. The passports are intended for players, and restaurants may benefit through additional player dining party revenue and alcohol sales, which are not included in the passport program, said RAMW in a June email to its members.

Citi Open Kick-Off Party

Adding to the RAMMYs lead-up buzz, RAMW has also selected top chefs and restaurateurs to participate in a Citi Open Official Kick-Off Party. Some of the top tennis players from this year’s draw, which include well-known names like Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils, Dominic Thiem, Genie Bouchard, Lauren Davis and Samantha Stosur, will be sampling some of the best cuisine D.C., the “Restaurant City of the Year (Bon Appetit),” has to offer. Top restaurateurs featured in the event:

  • Chef Carlos Delgado: China Chilcano by José Andrés
  • Chef Victor Albisu: Del Campo & Taco Bamba
  • Chef Matt Heimbauer: La Puerta Verde, Dock FC, & Ari’s Diner
  • Chef Joe Goetze: Farmers and Distillers
  • Chef Jamie Rutherford: Petworth Citizen & Reading Room
  • Chef Xavier Deshayes: Trade Center Management Associates

This ticketed event is being held at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building in D.C. July 27 and includes live music and hosts the Official Draw Ceremony for the Citi Open. Performing trio Magic Giant is scheduled to headline the party’s entertainment.

“The RAMMYs honor the exceptional ability and accomplishments of the hard-working individuals and organizations of the capital region’s restaurants and foodservice community,” said Kathy E. Hollinger, CEO and president, in an interview with Eatery Pulse News. More information about the RAMMY Awards can be found at therammys.org.

Local Foods Continue to Grow in Market Size, Popularity

Local foods market on the rise

The local foods market has been thriving in the recent past. Interest in local foods is on the rise: Nearly 20 percent of consumers eat at restaurants because they advertise their foods and beverages as “locally-sourced,” notes research from the International Food Industry Council, which publishes an annual report on food trends and consumer attitudes and behaviors around them. The American consumer is enamored with local foods, but even researchers have a hard time defining them.

According to a report from Packaged Facts, “Local Foods in the U.S.,” local foods could be defined as food and beverages produced between 275 miles from a market to 400 miles away, based on standards developed in 2008 and 2011. However, more than half of consumers are willing to define local food as being produced 50 miles or less from where it is eaten and nearly one in four consumers can extend that radius to 100 miles.  Packaged Facts, based on its own research, has concluded that the local foods market could approach $20.2B in sales by 2019.

Why local?

Researchers found that the notion of “local” is closely associated with freshness. Freshness is a quality that consumers are looking for; in fact, it is a trendy attribute that has become an expectation of restaurants and foodservice providers. A report from consultancy A.T. Kearney, Firmly Rooted, the Local Foods Market Expands, reveals that 93 percent of consumers cite “fresh” as the most important factor in the food they purchase. Packaged Facts notes that 60 percent of consumers purchase local foods because they are perceived as “fresher.” Furthermore, findings from A.T. Kearney indicate that 63 percent of consumers are motivated by promotions that highlight the availability of fresh, in-season produce, the second-most motivating promotion to them next to promotions/discounts.

Consumers (52 percent of them) also purchase local products because they believe they are supporting local businesses and 44 percent of them say local foods taste better.

The allure of local

Restaurants have significantly promoted the use of the terms “local” and “locally-sourced” on menus in the recent past.  It is a very common marketing strategy that appears to be paying off. Independent chefs have been supporting the local community of food producers, farmers and vendors in sourcing ingredients that are backed by a story and have a “hometown” regional feel. There is this renewed anti-big producer feel to how they talk about food. 

In a recent interview with Sasha Felikson, executive chef at Doi Moi, he said “The country (United States) needs to invest in the food and agriculture. They (Americans) need more education. Educate people about good food, and tell the story about their food and let people learn about it.” He is in contention for the Rising Culinary Star award, which will be given out at the RAMMYs Gala July 30.

Like Felikson, restaurateurs and chefs in the Washington, D.C. area are passionate about embracing and tapping local food producers and are more keen on the value of the strategy. Customers who are looking for local foods will increasingly make dining decisions based, at least in part, on their availability at restaurants in the Metro D.C.

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Read more restaurant industry content in our 2017 summer issue: http://www.eaterypulse.com/july-magazine/

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