Jamie Leeds is one of Washington's most highly recognized chefs due to her wildly successful restaurant, Hank's Oyster Bar; her very active role in the community and her 20 plus years of inspiring culinary experience in New York, prior to moving to DC. In May 2005, she opened her first restaurant as executive chef and owner, the 65-seat Hanks Oyster Bar, which serves Urban Beach Food. Hanks is named after Leeds father, who she credits as her inspiration for becoming a chef. Since its opening, Hanks Oyster Bar has been praised by Gourmet, Bon Appetit, The Washington Post, Washingtonian, DC magazine, The Washington Times and Fox Morning News.
Leeds came to Washington, D.C. when she joined the Washington Terrace Hotel as executive chef in May 2002, where she launched the 70-seat 15 ria. Her American cuisine with a comfort food twist was an immediate hit at the handsome, new boutique hotel where she was also responsible for developing catering menus. Wine Spectator, The Washington Post, Washingtonian and Bon Appetit were among the publications that praised Chef Leeds for her exceptional fare.
Favorable reviews and a successful launch also earned Jamie Leeds a nomination for "Rising Culinary Star" from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's Capital Restaurant & Hospitality Awards in June 2003. Chef Leeds was also named a "Rising Star Chef" by Starchefs.com for Washington, D.C.s 2003 awards program, which selected only seven chefs throughout the area for the coveted recognition. In 2006, her new restaurant Hank's Oyster Bar was nominated for Best New Restaurant" by the Restaurant Association of Washington and in 2007, Hanks was nominated for "Best Neighborhood Restaurant".