Donnie Glass is in the Loire Valley of France, but he’s still working.
Glass, who is majority owner and managing partner of Grisette in Church Hill and Jardin in the Fan, has two upcoming expansions. The first will feature a new raw bar, Beaucoup, in the recently shuttered Commercial Taphouse space at 111 N. Robinson in the Fan. The second will be expanding Jardin into more of the old Baja Bean space at 1520 W. Main St.
The new Beaucoup restaurant happened organically, just the way Glass prefers his expansion. The owner of Commercial Taphouse, Joseph Miller, reached out through mutual cooking friends and asked if Glass would be interested in taking over the space.
Elias (Eli) Adams, who worked with Glass at Citizen and is the bar manager at Grisette, has been adamant that his next steps would include his own bar. Glass figured, ‘why not together’ he says. He had been looking for a commissary kitchen to prep and bake bread and Commercial came along with a great fit for himself and Adams. The building has an entire upstairs space recently used for a large office, a pool table and darts. The plan is to pull down drywall upstairs, add a walk-in and a commercial bread and pastry facility.
Downstairs at Beaucoup will be the new raw bar and cocktail bar co-owned by Adams and Glass. “Eli is my oldest tenured employee and it makes me feel good to partner with him. He’s earned it,” says Glass. “I’m going to be the chef, he is going to run the bar. We will take the leaders of Grisette and put them in this space.”
Glass is drawing from his roots as a former chef at Public Fish and Oyster in Charlottesville with this new raw bar. Adams will use his experience as bar manager to create a program that pairs with oysters and myriad bar bites. “This is a bar. There will be food, specifically, oysters, lots of them -- and inexpensive. They are meant to be the everyman’s bar food,” says Glass, noting that more food items will be added to the menu. “We are still in the process of figuring the rest of that out.”
The draft lines will stay put because “beer is great with oysters and so is wine and good cocktails,” says Glass, adding that the business will stay open until midnight every night. No timeline for the opening has been identified yet, but he is saying sometime this year. “We are about to open an oyster and cocktail bar that I want to go to. That Eli wants to go to,” he adds.
As for his other expansion at Jardin, that will take place next year after the build out of Beaucoup. The expansion will means that Jardin should be able to include breakfast and lunch service with more space inside for seats and have a full coffee bar with espresso service. They will be keeping dinner (just bigger) and also Jardin will serve as a bakery, where you will be able to get bread, croissants, and other baked goods that will be made at Beaucoup.
“Jardin is an all-day spot when you look at it. I love it like it is now, but there is so much potential to expand upon what we do,” Glass explains. “It will be well after we open Beaucoup, though. I want to keep my employees happy.”