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From serving overseas to serving meals out of his Richmond restaurant: 'Life changes so quickly'

Posted at 12:23 PM, Apr 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 10:05:17-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Life is good for Donnie Glass. The husband and father of a baby boy spent the last 13 months successfully guiding his Richmond restaurant Grisette through pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions.

A challenging time, for sure, but not the most challenging time in the restaurateur's life.

The Northern Virginia native was in high school on 9/11. An experience that led him to enroll at Virginia Military Institute and enlist in the Army. Before graduation, Glass was overseas in Iraq. The experience changed his outlook on life.

"Very, very quickly those ideals that make one 15-year-old boy enamored with joining the military are in absolutely no way reality," Glass said about his time overseas. "I was disenchanted by it. I was crushed that the way I thought my life was going to be was no longer an option at all."

Glass returned to Virginia and graduated from VMI. But his previous military experience was enough to convince him to do something else with his life.

That something else was restaurants.

"Life changes so quickly and what you think you want when you're 18 and 19, and 20, and 21, and 22, and 23 can be five different things, and then you can flush that whole plan down the toilet and start over. And it doesn't matter, it really doesn't matter," Glass said.

Glass's culinary journey took him across the country and put him in a position to meet his future wife Megan.

The couple eventually settled in Richmond where they opened Grisette in Church Hill.

"The goal of this whole place is to just have everybody that walks through the door. Have a great time. That's it. And our way of doing that is providing them with good food and good wine and not having it be super expensive."

Learn more about Glass, his food, and his family on Eat It, Virginia! with Scott and Robey.

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