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HERstory: Meet the woman putting her Master's in cultural studies to use in a rather atypical fashion

Jennifer Meltzer fell in love with the hospitality industry working her way through school. 15 years and one Master's degree later, she opened her own restaurant.

WASHINGTON — As a 26-year-old waiting tables, Jennifer Meltzer was constantly asked what she wanted to do when she grew up.

“I'm going to bring you something delicious, that's what I'm going to do when I grow up," she would respond. 

Yes, Meltzer had a Master’s degree from Georgetown in Arab studies, with a focus on culture and society. But admittedly the question confused her, because she was already pursuing the career she loved, the one she had chosen. She hadn’t wound up taking someone’s food order out of necessity, but out of dedication to the food industry.

“There's nothing wrong with this, this is a real job, and it's a hard job.”

Meltzer went on to work in the industry where she met Edward Reavis, the broiler chef at the Capitol Grill. It was rib-eye at first sight. After their paths crossed numerous times through the years they decided to take the plunge…

Together they opened All Set Restaurant and Bar in 2015, bringing New England-inspired cuisine to the heart of Silver Spring, Maryland. 

“Growing up, my father's side of the family was from New England," Meltzer said. "So we grew up going and visiting his side of the family.  I wanted to sort of bring back those food memories from up north.”

Dreams came true and she was able to use her degree in cultural studies in an atypical way. She took what she learned and with Edward built a restaurant inspired by the food culture of the “fishy” part of the United States. Their journey didn’t stop there.

“After two years we thought well if we can open a restaurant together, we should probably get married, because we've already done the hardest thing in the world," she joked. 

Wedding bells rang and the two joined together to work at and watch their “baby” grow into something wonderful. All-Set poignantly took around nine months from concept to grand opening and soon after the wedding the two had another baby -- a healthy boy. 

“We decided we were going to open this restaurant," Meltzer said. "That meant that we were going to take all the good and all the bad, and we were just going to have to negotiate what comes with it. Either you're wildly successful or the money runs out, and until you are one of those places, you are on that road, and there are no exits -- you're just going forward." 

What's your story? Email Eric Jansen at ejansen@wusa9.com as he shares the unique lives of Washington's most incredible women all month long. 

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