Donna's in Columbia Closed Suddenly After 10 Years

"It was a big shock," says manager.

 of Columbia closed over the weekend, ending a 10-year run at its location off Snowden River Parkway.

The owners decided to close the restaurant after a dispute over the lease, according to Katie Houston, manager of the Columbia location. She said the owners told her on Friday that the restaurant would close on Sunday.

"It was a big shock," said Houston. "That's an understatement."

She said Donna's would not be reopening elsewhere in Columbia or Howard County. The restaurant opened 10 years ago this month, said Houston.

The company, which also has two locations in Baltimore, announced the closing on its website with the following statement:

We are sorry to tell you that Donna’s, Columbia will be closing this weekend and classes canceled.  Thank you for your support over the last 10 years. We will keep you updated on our next step.

No one answered when Patch called the business office on Monday morning.

Local blog HowChow broke the news on Saturday: "It was a popular place with a nice menu, so it's a bummer to see them close."

"It was a really, really special place," said Houston. "The people here generally loved each other."

The restaurant was known for its gourmet sandwiches and ever-changing dinner menu. It was located at 5850 Waterloo Road.

In recent years, Donna's saw increased competition in the area from , which opened in the same business center off of Snowden River Parkway in 2007.

Houston said that wasn't the reason for closing.

"They had their customers and we had ours and we shared some," said Houston.

She said the location may have contributed.

"It was a hard spot to find," said Houston.

On Sunday evening, employees, ex-employees and customers gathered for the "last supper" and had a small party, according to Houston.

"It was fun," said Houston. "We had to have a proper send-off."

Some of the 25 employees that worked at the Columbia location will stay with Donna's and work at one of the company's Baltimore locations, according to Houston.

Did you enjoy eating at Donna's? Share your memories of the restaurant in the comments.


roni berkowitz May 21, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I think there is a contrinued market for another Donna's in Columbia. I would hope that she will find a different location. It was a great place for well-prepared, healthy offerings at a reasonable price. The location near Rte 100 and I-95 made it a good meeting place for folks coming from different locations in Howard County and beyond..
Dana Hanna May 21, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I just heard, quite shocked. It was our go to place for a nice time for us or our group of the evening. Very convenient and great cooking classes. Good music on Saturdays. Donna, your Columbia location will be sorely missed. Thanks for ten great years!
Lynda McGuire May 21, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I'm so saddened to learn that Donna's has closed their doors! Donna's was a very special place to me and my husband. He proposed to me on a beautiful September (15th) evening at an outdoor table beside Donna's herb garden. We loved their special Saturday evening menus with the paired wines for each course. Where will we go now for special celebrations?? Love you Donna!!
Kira Lis May 21, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I am saddened, too! We always went there for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. I am so sorry that Donna will not open another restaurant in Columbia or Howard County.
Michaelwritescode May 21, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Though the interior of the restaurant was refreshingly colorful and the menu pretty diverse I'll be frank that I found the quality of their food to be rather lacking in recent months compared to that of Victoria, Standford Grill and numerous other local eateries. I always recommended against going here to my friends. I do hope another independently owned restaurant takes its place.
Tom May 22, 2012 at 08:43 PM
The problem with most business in Columbia is the location. Some places will close and you never know they existed because of Columbia's insane zoning to make everything looked tucked away. I remember when I used to frequent Nottingham's, and would have people from out of town, or even those who just never went before call me to say they just could not find the place. Similar things happened with GOOD restaurants that, people just never knew about. What a pity, I wish them better luck at their new location.
Anne W. May 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM
How sad to lose this wonderful gem of a restaurant. The food was always fresh with a rotating menu that never got boring. We loved the people who worked there, and enjoyed the atmosphere, smart casual. Donna, Bill and I will miss you very much. Please come back!!
Shannon May 23, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Wow! This sucks! I just discovered Donna's and totally love their vibe!! The food was so great!! Very sad to see it go!!
Remmy May 24, 2012 at 01:26 AM
I am shocked. I loved their Chicken Salad on Sourdough Bread, and especially their roasted sweet potatoes. WOW. Sorry you had to leave. Please try to find another location in Columbia, you will be missed.


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