RAMMY Nominees, They’re Just Like Us: New Restaurant of the Year (Pt 1)

You already know that the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) has revealed the finalists for their 2023 RAMMY AWARDS. And, for the next few weeks, TheListAreYouOnIt.com will feature several nominees from an array of categories in our annual section: RAMMY Nominees They're Just Like Us. This week we tasked the nominees that are up for New Restaurant of the Year with answering this:

People love to give “suggestions” to those in the industry. We are sure over the years you heard a lot. What ultimately was the best career advice you have received?

Greg Algie (Bar Ivy) (Lot’s of great answers from Greg!)Bar Ivy Owner
“You can create a concept, hire a great design team, make the place look nice, but creating a great team is the most important thing. The people are what bring it to life.”
“Be nimble. Don’t be an ocean tanker when making decisions."
“Inside the restaurant business — there are a lot of "incomplete successes.” We’re always putting together big plans and strategizing for the big picture, but inevitably, things happen, market trends move and change quickly, so we always have to pivot. We may not always get to the end vision, but it’s still close and still achieves a level of success.”
“Fish where the fish are.”
“Choose your partners well."

Chad Spangler (Causa/Amazonia)Partner, Causa/Amazonia and Service Bar
“I've received the best advice in a number of forms, and two iterations stand out to me. When I was around 22yo, one of my early mentors was Dan Simons of VSAG. He told me to envision what I'd like to be doing when I was 30 and start laying the path out now. My answer at the time was to own three bars/restaurants. Although the timeline isn't exactly on par, it appears the advice stuck as we opened Causa/Amazonia when I was 32 and Service Bar when I was 27. The other form this advice came in was during a seminar with Ketel One Vodka and the Nolet family. The business has been in their family for 400 years; this allows them to strategize over a 50-year timeline vs a typical 10-year timeline. In either of these cases, I've learned to look at a longer-term perspective and try to lay the groundwork for progress over a more meaningful timeline.”

Alex Levin (Nama Ko)Director, Strategic Business Initiatives & Pastry Programs, Schlow Restaurant Group
“The best career advice I received was from my mentors Michael Schlow, Johnny Iuzzini and Francisco Migoya. All of them encouraged me to give back freely what was given to me - recipes, techniques, formulas. Michael also talks about the four pillars of training - ‘Tell’, ‘Show’, ‘Practice’, ‘Validate’ - which go hand in hand. Only then can we successfully teach the next generation of pastry chefs how to push the envelope forward.”

Colin McClimans (Opal) Opal Chef/Owner
"Opportunities don't happen, you create them. I am a strong believer that you can do anything you put your mind to but it’s whether or not you really want to go through it and push and work to make it happen that dictates whether or not you accomplish your goals."