What’s going on, Nomsters? We hope you’re ready to hear more about delish noms in the DMV area because we got another bomb feature coming your way. We recently had the pleasure of checking out Glassey with our good friend, @DCFOODPORN, and we left feeling oh so satisfied. Continue reading to see what makes them so special and stick with us until the very end to hear our thoughts!
Does the name have special significance to you?
“Glassey” is a term commonly used in Punjab, India to describe a boozy fun-filled time! Growing up as a first-generation Indian American, I heard this term used quite a lot by my parents and was inspired by the never-ending parties of my childhood and India’s infamous street food.
Why did you decide to open during COVID, and how has quarantine affected business?
We were originally set to have our grand opening in March, around the same time the pandemic hit Washington, DC, so that clearly halted all plans of opening. Almost two months went by where we stood at a standstill just waiting to see how this crisis would pan out and we soon realized we would be waiting a lot longer than anticipated for this COVID crisis to truly be over.
I was inspired by the bravery of frontline workers that were diligently working overtime through the crisis and realized if I was brave enough to get this far in opening a restaurant as a 22-year-old recent college grad, then a pandemic wasn’t going to stop me. So I called my amazing chef Anju, who is also my mom, on I think a Saturday afternoon and told her I wasn’t sure how but, no matter what we were going to open on Tuesday, and three days later we did just that!
Now although we were brave enough to open during COVID, the quarantine has significantly impacted our business. With the strict COVID sanctions, we could never hope to have the kind of meteoric success we could’ve had without the pandemic and that’s definitely hurt us financially. While the pandemic continues, I am focused on as much brand awareness as possible and getting everyone familiar with Glassey so once we safely make it out of this pandemic we can (finally) have a huge grand opening!!
As DC’s youngest restaurant owner, what inspired you to open your own place? Was it always a dream of yours?
Both of my parents are business owners so I was raised with an entrepreneurial spirit and started my own freelance bridal hair and makeup business by the time I was 13! I just graduated from Old Dominion University last year so for the first time in my life I didn’t have school or a demanding job to worry about so the free time really got my entrepreneurial juices flowing.
The idea of opening a restaurant had always kind of been in the back of my mind so I bounced the idea off my parents and they told me if I was really serious about it I should go for it! Now I knew if I was going to do this I couldn’t have any other person be my chef besides my mom. Obviously I’m biased but, I truly believe no one makes Indian food better than my mom and our menu is inspired by the unique dishes I grew up eating that didn’t exist anywhere else!
Once I had my chef and menu figured out, the real struggle began with permitting and construction. I didn’t see the fact that I was soo young and I was a woman to be something that would make my experiences more difficult but I soon realized the reality of it.
I struggled for over a year running around trying to get all of my permitting approved and all of my construction completed while constantly not being taken seriously because I was half their age or because they assumed a woman wouldn’t know much about things like construction but what kept me motivated was my mom’s constant encouragement and her reminding me I was stronger than these hurdles and I would persevere and I did.
Have you always been passionate about food? Is there a specific food memory that comes to mind that you’d like to share?
My mom can confirm this, I have been a foodie since birth! I’m obsessed with trying all kinds of foods and different cuisines and can talk about food for hours! I would say my favorite food memory is probably all the stories my parents tell me about how the only thing that would get me to stop fussing as a kid was food haha I was definitely a chubby baby.
What’s it like working with your mom? Have you guys always been close?
I always say I wouldn’t recommend it but I also wouldn’t have it any other way! Haha no but I seriously couldn’t have made it this far if my chef had been anyone else. She is the most amazing and generous person I know and has always been there for me whether it’s a shoulder to cry on, a happy hour buddy, or a business consultant, I know she’ll be there through thick and thin and that kind of love and loyalty is truly one of a kind!
Do you develop recipes together?
Of course! The cool part about our menu is our fusion dishes, like the chicken tikka burger, masala fries, crabby fries, etc, because they are all original recipes so they don’t exist anywhere else!
What makes Glassey special and unique?
Glassey’s motto is The Modern Indian Experience and it was conceived to create a new-age version of what being Indian is. I, along with millions of others, am a child of first-generation immigrants and what it means to be an Indian American is much different than what it means to be Indian.
If I had opened a traditional Indian restaurant I don’t think I could’ve given it the justice it deserved because although my parents were born and raised in India, I had a much different Indian experience while growing up in the US. I created Glassey to cater to the new wave of first-generation children that are taking this country by storm! In its final form, Glassey will consist of five levels of indoor seating, outdoor patio seating, the biggest bar in the neighborhood, hookah, and a rooftop bar!
Tell us about “DC’s Spiciest Curry Challenge.”
India is infamously known for its spicy food and being a foodie myself, I wanted Glassey to have something fun for the foodie daredevils! The Mirchi Curry consists of the world’s hottest Carolina Reaper Pepper and measured to almost 10million on the Scoville Scale.
To put that into perspective, pepper spray is around 5 million on the Scoville Scale! If you manage to finish the curry in 15 minutes you get the honor of having your photo bestowed on our Wall of Fame! Compete if you dare!
A huge thanks to Taj for taking the time to answer our questions! We absolutely loved hearing her story and trying their food. For those of you looking to get their noms, we highly recommend ordering their chicken tikka burger, their masala fries, and their goat karahi.
If you’re vegan, their tikki burger’s a wonderful alternative to the chicken tikka burger. The latter’s made with tandoori chicken that’s topped with a cabbage onion mix and chutney on a soft brioche bun. The Tikki burger’s basically the same, except it’s made with a fried potato patty. Vegan or not, this sandwich is straight fire so give it a go.
Loaded fries are always a good idea, especially since Glassey does ’em so well. These babies are coated in a spicy masala seasoning that’s then topped with chutney and cilantro. It’s wildly addictive so we recommend getting a big box to share! They’re also known for their crabby masala fries, but we personally enjoyed the regular masala more. To each their own though!
And last but not least, their goat karahi. This spicy curry’s cooked with fresh local farm-sourced organic goat then served with a side of rice and chickpeas. Expect bold flavors that will give you all the mouth feelz. The next time we go, we want to try Jiya’s Tiffin – chicken or paneer tikka served with rice, chickpeas, salad and chutney – and their Butter Chicken.
What sounds yummiest to you, friends? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and stay tuned for fresh new content coming your way. For more on DC eats, make sure to browse this tab, and give us a follow on instagram for more!