This month’s business highlight features Taj Sohal from Glassey (1625 1st Street, NW). “Glassey” is a term commonly used in Punjab, India to describe a boozy fun-filled time. The restaurant opened in April 2020–at the beginning of the pandemic–and is going strong, serving the neighborhood with its unique take on Indian street food.
Tell us a little about your business. When were you founded and why?
Glassey opened in April 2020 in the middle of the pandemic! Our official grand opening was set to be mid-March 2020, the same week everything shut down because of COVID-19. We waited for about a month, and at the end of April–on a whim–I decided to just open and see what happened. We’ve been thriving ever since!
I decided to open Glassey right after I graduated from college because I grew up eating the most amazing Indian food cooked by my mom. I wanted to bring that same authentic Indian flavor to others. There’s nothing like a nice home-cooked meal to comfort you during unprecedented times!
Tell us a little about yourself and your life.
I was raised by two hard-working Indian immigrant entrepreneurs, so this runs in my blood. I always knew I wanted to get into business. When I graduated from college, it was the first time in my life where I didn’t have either school or a demanding job. I figured, what better time than now?
My mom Anju is the head chef at Glassey. She was my main inspiration. Growing up, like most kids, me and my siblings wanted McDonald’s and Taco Bell for dinner instead of a healthy home-cooked meal. My mom would find creative ways to get us to enjoy Indian food at home. She’d put butter chicken into taco shells and with spaghetti. We loved it!
When I went off to school, I couldn’t find that same flavor at Indian restaurants and I constantly craved my mom’s cooking. That’s when I knew I was on to something. After college, I asked my mom if she’d join me in opening a restaurant. She agreed, but honestly, only because she thought I was kidding and didn’t take my young 21-year-old self seriously. Nonetheless, I persisted. We opened after a year of struggling through the permitting and construction process, and I became DC’s youngest restaurant owner at 22 years old!
What makes Glassey unique?
Glassey was designed to show a new-age version of what it is to be Indian. Indian people are seen in many industries such as tech, film, and medicine, but we’re not really visible in the food scene. Thus, Glassey has cool Indian-American fusion dishes with authentic Indian flavor, bottomless brunch on the weekends, and fun cocktails to give you a unique twist on Indian cuisine. We have a lot of original menu items that you won’t find anywhere else, and everything is made to order in small batches, just like you would get at home.
What do you love about the neighborhood you serve?
I grew up in this neighborhood and my parents still live here, which is what drew me to open Glassey here. We have such a colorful, thriving, tight-knit community and we’ve received such amazing support from everyone. We’re elated to continue dishing out more hot eats for you all!
How can the community support you right now?
Come dine with us, follow us on social media (@glasseydc), and spread the word! The pandemic severely affected business and we would love to be open for a long time. We wouldn’t be able to do it without our wonderful community’s support!