The Glasshouse Grille

By Candace Nelson - 8:05 AM

The Glasshouse Grille, at one point, I considered one of my favorite restaurants in Morgantown. I had been here a handful of times, but it's just a tad on the pricier side, so it was usually reserved for nicer dinners. It's located in the Seneca Center, which is where I used to intern, so I shared many lunches here (also cheaper than dinner, of course). It was always classy and delicious. Then I had my most recent visit.

Located in the Seneca Center, there is a lot of parking, and it has that older factory feel, with a classic touch. It's actually located in the basement, but an awning covers stairs from the outside and leads you right down to the restaurant. A few tables are located outside, but we walked through the front doors. We waited at the front for what seemed like a while, as waiters passed us, before the host greeted us. Instead of saying welcome, she put up her index finger and said "hold on, I gotta check on something." I looked at my friend confused and continued to wait. I looked at my watch, 8:13 on a Saturday night. The host came back after a minute or so and said she had to check with the chef to see if they were still taking people. Embarrassed, I asked what time they closed. 9 p.m. 9 p.m. and you can't seat me at 8:13 p.m.? I thought they would stop seating at 9 p.m. She picked up some flimsy menus, and a few fell near me. I went to pick them up, and the host watched me, and it was awkward.

So she walked us to a table, and we sat there slightly dumbfounded. We obviously weren't welcome there, and we felt uncomfortable. But we decided to try to make the best of it. The host filled our water cups. Another waiter brought us a basket of bread and some butter. I know it was "late," but the bread was beyond stale and burnt on the bottom - to the point where we didn't even eat it. It didn't matter though, as the waiter came by and took it away anyway.

We were brought salads - I opted for the sundried basil dressing, but was less than impressed. It wasn't very flavorful, and I didn't even eat most of it. I don't really have much more to say about this. 

At this point, I wasn't sure what to think. The inside decor was still lovely, with white tableclothes and a feeling of elegance. But the service was subpar, and as I looked over the flimsy menu, I realized the top said "Penny's Glasshouse Grille." Well, that's new. This was certainly different. And the prices were still at the same level, despite the service and cheap menus. The prices started around $40, for a lobster dish and went down to a pasta primavera, which was about $20. One dish that caught my eye was the chicken athena, for $21. It was a chicken breast surrounded with spinach, onions, peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, kalmata olives, feta cheese, mushrooms, squash. I took a bite of the chicken, and it was very, very dry. I had a really hard time cutting it with my fork - I wasn't given a knife. It really wasn't exploding with flavor either. It was dry and bland. I took a bite of the mixture, and that was pleasant.

The carrots, tomatoes, and spinach were a good combination for the kalmata olives and feta cheese, which has a strong taste. It was balanced, with muted flavors and the strong ones. But it wasn't overly creative. We all know kalmata olives go well with feta cheese, and the veggies were tasty. But there really wasn't a sauce to bring it all together to make it one cohesive dish. It was an okay dish. Was it good enough for $20. No.

One last try - we ordered dessert. A waiter brought out a dessert tray, which I do love because it's so visual. One dessert looked interesting to me: the chocolate pate. Now that was one good decision. Our desserts came out, and I wasn't expecting much, but I took a bite and felt immediately relaxed. It was a creamy chocolate with a slight crunch. This is the only dish I finished. It was refreshing and airy, but decadent. It was simply delicious, but didn't leave me weighed down like many desserts. This is probably one of my favorite desserts I've ever ordered. My total bill came to about $30, but the dessert is the only thing I'd order again.

It seems this place has changed drastically - maybe due to new owners. The level of quality isn't the same, and they are cutting corners, and you can tell. The dessert is the only redeemable quality of this meal, so hopefully that doesn't go downhill any time soon.

Grade: C
Glasshouse Grille on Urbanspoon

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  1. Sadly, I hate to say it but you were probably one of the last people to actually make it through the Glasshouse Grille when it was on it's last legs. For that, I feel extremely sorry for you and the service you received there.

    Unfortunately when you visited the Glasshouse Grille the newest/latest owner Penny had about dismantled the place to what it was you say before you. Essentially what happened is she had run the entire culinary team out and all of the original managers, waiters, etc.. so what you had was Penny's Dinner, which I'm really sorry you had to experience.

    Though it's unfortunate that one of the last reviews on the place had to be sub-par but all fingers can be pointed to Penny Fialino. But the Glasshouse Grille is now closed and who knows if it will ever be able to open again and get back to the original glory days when it was the best place in Morgantown to dine.

    ~Former Chef at the Glasshouse Grille.

    1. While many fingers can point to Penny - before her, the place was brought nearly to ruin by Marty Biafore. Original owners Drew & Jamie were wonderful. Had taste and class and treated the loyal staff very well. Sad. Hope new restaurant comes soon - such a great, historic place.

    2. When were these changes made? Do you know approximate years? Just curious!

  2. Like I said in my review, I had considered it one of my very favorite restaurants! Thank you for your comment, as it really does give me some insight as to what happened here. I'm very disappointed to see this place go. It truly was a gem.

    Are you cooking somewhere else? If you've taken the talent with you that I remember the Glasshouse for, then I'd love to follow you wherever you went. I'm sorry that is ended this way. Believe me, I miss the old Glasshouse, too.

  3. The Glasshouse Grille once had the best selections of cuisine in the Morgantown area. I worked there as a lowly dishwasher to make money for school a few years back, and I can honestly say that it was one the greatest experiences that I will hold very close to me for the rest of my life. I know that sounds strange seeing that I was only a dishwasher, but that is just how much this restaurant meant to me. When my parents came to town to visit I loved taking them here. I felt kind of proud that I worked at a place that seemed so unique with it's amazing cuisine in a college town. As I am a few months away from graduating, it is extremely painful to know that as I am leaving Morgantown, a place where I have grown up through education, learning, and work, that the Glasshouse Grille no longer exists. I owe a lot of gratitude to this restaurant. I worked here for about a year and a half, and the things that I learned here are priceless. The Glasshouse Grille is a one of the main reasons for who I have become today. I cannot believe it is gone.

  4. I think it's a testament to this place to have two heartbreaking comments on this single post. It's obvious this was truly a great place to dine at one point, and it's obvious that the community isn't the only one who lost out when this restaurant began to go downhill. It clearly also affected the staff. I agree that the Morgantown is without one of the best restaurants it's had.

  5. Such an interesting story to read and I enjoyed reading it as well. Keep up the good work. tekken


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