Diving into beer program at Pizzeria Paradiso – Dupont Circle, a 2019 RAMMYS finalist

Pizzeria Paradiso makes short list of top D.C. beer programs considered for RAMMY Award

With the 2019 RAMMYS season well underway, restaurants are celebrating being recognized for excellence in a variety of categories. Presented by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), a restaurant advocacy group in Washington, D.C., the RAMMY Awards are the industry’s version of the GRAMMY Awards, paying tribute to the best of the best within the D.C. region’s restaurants. The finalists for RAMMYS Beer Program of the Year have been announced. These are B Side, Caboose Tavern, Pizzeria Paradiso – Dupont, Republic, and Roofer’s Union.

It’s easy to see why these restaurants were selected. And for Pizzeria Paradiso, one of the highlights of the restaurant is its beer program, which fittingly secured the Dupont location a place as a finalist. Operational excellence and training are key.

“By investing in staff and customer education, and creating an environment where no matter your familiarity with beer we can find you some delicious independent craft beer!” says Drew McCormick, beverage director for Pizzeria Paradiso. “The unofficial motto of the beer program is ‘meet people where they are’ from the seasoned drinker to the person learning, exploring, and developing their palate.”

Standing out in the Dupont neighborhood

For Pizzeria Paradiso’s Dupont location, it’s already been a busy year with several events and a fundraiser in March, for She Should Run, to honor International Women’s Day. Ruth Gresser opened the first Pizzeria in Dupont Circle in a small townhouse in 1991, and she opened the fifth one in Spring Valley in the District in January. Gresser is an accomplished restaurateur and a champion for women in business. In 2019, she was named a semifinalist in the James Beard Awards for Outstanding Restaurateur.

[Related story: Pizzeria Paradiso opens 5th restaurant in Spring Valley]

Ruth Gresser at Pizzeria Paradiso - Dupont Circle. Photo by Moshe Zusman for Pizzeria Paradiso.
Ruth Gresser at Pizzeria Paradiso – Dupont Circle. Photo by Moshe Zusman for Pizzeria Paradiso.

Dupont Circle is a historic neighborhood in D.C., but it’s also evolving. Pizzeria Paradiso has remained a favorite there, having been relocated from its original home in the same district, with added outdoor space. The pizzeria continues to evolve its own beverage program. Beer selections and menus are posted online and on Untappd, a beer discovery app. There are also tap takeovers and special events that create excitement for guests. To bolster the beer experience, management created Birreria Paradiso, which is the brand behind the craft beer program at its locations and a commitment to serve independent craft beer as defined by the Brewers Association.

[Related story: Savor returns to Washington, D.C. in 2019]

Pizzeria Paradiso builds a standout beer program

McCormick focuses on providing a comfortable drinking place, where one can find just the right beer for the occasion. By developing high standards for the beverage program, she’s also able to raise the bar. Pizzeria Paradiso follows these pillars in the presentation and marketing of its beer program: top-quality beer selection, a commitment to cleaning and maintenance, providing staff education, creating unique events, and maintaining an active online presence. No matter of the familiarity of beer, each customer has the opportunity to find a great beer to enhance their dining and drinking experience at Pizzeria Paradiso.

The Pizzeria Paradiso beer program gets dedicated attention at all five locations. Photo by Juliana Molina for Pizzeria Paradiso.
The Pizzeria Paradiso beer program gets dedicated attention at all five locations. Photo by Juliana Molina for Pizzeria Paradiso.

“Business travelers have made a point to stop in year after year, beer loving tourists are directed to our dynamic and approachable draft list,” says McCormick. “And the neighborhood is full of our regulars who know that while the beer menus and staff may constantly evolve, the presentation, care, and attention given to each guest and each beer remains the same, and the ethos of the beer program will be upheld.”

Pizzeria Paradiso is offering guests even more reasons to return this spring and summer. There’s a RAMMYS Showcase week of beer events in May in which RAMMYS finalists will be showing off special food and drink selections to guests. This summer, look for ice cream beer floats and Berliner Weisse flights served with housemade syrups. Pizzeria Paradiso will also offer a special IPA tap takeover, says McCormick. She adds, “July will be a celebration of all things hoppy with a two week IPA tap takeover at all locations July 1-14.”

Related video: Swizzle Chill TV RAMMYS HD trailer:

Support the restaurant industry’s best and brightest by attending the RAMMY Awards Ceremony and Gala, being held June 30 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. For tickets and additional information, navigate to the RAMMYS website. To keep track of our ongoing RAMMYS coverage, click over to https://swizzlechill.net/category/restaurant-industry-awards/rammys-2019/

Photo credit: Pizzeria Paradiso (featured), Moshe Zusman (inline 1), Juliana Molina (inline 2)

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