For some, it starts with an idea or passion or parent or hero or discovery of some kind. For Wayne Glass, it started with a pair of skis.
Glass originated, owns and operates Elliott Bay Pizza in Mill Creek’s Village by the Creek off 164th Street, west of QFC. The business is brisk, building and the culmination of 30 years of personal success in the restaurant industry.
But like most successes, Glass’s didn’t just spring into existence.
It began incubating in the Adirondacks, upstate New York. The place was Paul Smith School of Hotel and Restaurant Management.
“I liked making dishes for neighborhood potlucks,” Glass explained when we talked back and forth one morning from two of the stools at the bar in Elliott Bay’s dining room. “But I loved skiing.”
It was the mid-1970s. Glass was fresh out of the Army, free as a bird and had the GI Bill to finance him. Paul Smith offered a path into culinary arts and the restaurant business. “But,” Glass was quick to emphasize, “the draw was the mountains and, most of all, snow.”
Being the modest man that he is, Glass was not so quick to emphasize the summer food program for underprivileged kids he generated while at Smith. Nor did he play up the soup and sandwiches he served out of his own cafe in Lake Placid during the 1980 Winter Olympics after leaving Smith.
The cafe was McCardle’s Station. It was his first taste of restaurant ownership, and he liked it.
Still unattached and with an itch to pick up and go when the Olympics played out, Glass sold McCardle’s and came west to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, at the urging of an Army buddy. Besides skiing, he worked managing and opening locations for Pioneer Pies, the restaurant chain; met and married one of his waitresses, Kelly, in 1982; and they had their first daughter, Jentry, in 1984.
By then a family man with responsibilities, Glass buckled down selling food and food services up and down the I-5 corridor from Seattle to Marysville for the next 10 years but without ever once giving up on his dream of restaurant ownership. Food, in particular, pizza, figured in in a big way.
In 1996, two years after his second daughter, Taylor, was born, Glass opened Elliott Bay Pizza on Queen Anne. The name was his, and the restaurant was a big success. But the Glasses were living out this way, and the commute was a killer.
Glass sold Elliott Bay on Queen Anne, opened his own in Mill Creek in 2003 and all was well.
Or so it seemed until a brain aneurysm disabled his mother a year later.
Always the dutiful son, Glass sold his restaurant in 2004, moved his family to Florida to tend his mother through her disability and bought another restaurant, the Pelican Bay in Boca Raton.
Mom healed, Glass sold Pelican Bay, bought back his Elliott Bay Pizza in Mill Creek, and by July 2006, the Glasses were back with mom in tow and Glass being Glass.
Most of which adds up to a solid family man with a happily married wife who no longer waitresses, a 23-year-old daughter, recently married, and a 13-year-old who keeps him young.
As for the rest of Wayne Glass, well, you can find him at Elliott Bay Pizza. He’s the silvery, friendly, energetic guy in an apron; the one slinging preservative-free pizza, customizing subs and talking up a storm about his Mac &Jack’s on tap and to go.
By the way, the man with a thousand plans still finds time to ski.
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