Born in Jamaica and raised in Chicago, Donna gravitated towards her Mom’s kitchen at an early age. What left the biggest impression wasn’t just the food, but her mother Marjorie’s gracious hospitality – always hosting dinner parties for a diverse collection of guests, always finding room for one more at the table, with the standard of perfection being the comfort and pleasure of those around her.
Donna moved to Seattle in 1993 and opened her first restaurant, Marco’s Supperclub, in partnership with her former husband. By 1997, the pair had a second smash hit on their hands with Lush Life, which featured regional Italian cuisine in a sleek, romantic setting. Both restaurants’ globetrotting menus and mix of sophistication and funky charm anticipated Seattle dining trends, and their popular success helped revitalize the city’s then derelict and deserted Belltown neighborhood.
In 2003, Donna branched out on her own, transforming Lush Life into Marjorie, paying loving tribute to her mother’s lifelong inspiration. After enjoying five successful years in Belltown, Marjorie relocated to Seattle’s vibrant and eclectic Capitol Hill neighborhood, opening its doors in the spring of 2010.
Spurred by the wild popularity of Marjorie’s signature appetizer, in 2016 Donna launched a Kickstarter to package Miss Marjorie’s Steel Drum Plantains for the retail market. The award-winning Miss Marjorie’s brand is now available online and in stores coast to coast.
Having established herself as a trailblazing restaurateur, in recent years Donna has grown increasingly active in Seattle civic life, advocating for small business and serving as a Mayor-appointed commissioner for the Seattle Center and on the boards of CD Forum and Capitol Hill Housing. In 2020 Donna accepted the position of EVP of Community Development with Community Roots Housing (formerly Capitol Hill Housing). She also serves as Executive Director of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.