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Philadelphia’s culinary scene is hardly a boy’s club. The city’s thriving restaurant culture is due in large part to the incredible talent, skills and dedication of the women who work daily to deliver fresh, flavorful and innovative dishes.
These entrepreneurs, chefs and pastry masters are the brains and brawn behind some of the most sought-after foods in the Greater Philadelphia region, and their efforts toward sustainability, community impact and top-quality dining experiences extend beyond the kitchen.
Ange Braca transitioned her Sate Kampar concept into Kampar Kitchen, a platform for diverse and under-represented chefs. Jezabel Careaga’s West Philadelphia cafe has become a hub where other chefs can share their recipes alongside her famous empanadas. And 2020 James Beard Award nominee Cristina Martínez is a champion for immigrants’ rights.
Be the trendsetter among your friends and explore new restaurants and concepts, like Jennifer Zavala’s East Passyunk brick-and-mortar Juana Tamale and Amanda Shulman’s Her Place Supper Club, bringing dinner party vibes to Sansom Street.
Keep reading for our guide to some of the standout women chefs and restaurateurs in Philadelphia and how they’re moving the city forward.
Firecracker salmon is one of the inventive eggrolls The Better Box crew dishes out as part of their “Asian fusion with a Philly twist” menu. The signature black takeout boxes also hold items like a general Tso chicken cheesesteak and sweet potato cheesecake.
Where: The Better Box, LLC Twisted EggRolls, 8601 Frankford Avenue
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The Better Box, ShopRite,, 2471 W. Cheltenham Avenue
Although Sate Kampar, owner Ange Branca’s Malaysian BYOB, closed in 2020, its chef is still a force in the kitchen. Branca opened the communal Kampar Kitchen at South Philly’s Bok building in 2021. The goal is to provide kitchen space and support for diverse and under-represented chefs. Patrons can order carryout online from the rotating roster of chefs, including Branca.
Where: Kampar Kitchen, 1901 S. 9th Street (pickup only)
On the menu at this raw food/vegan cafe run by a mother/daughter duo: nut burgers, quinoa salads, chickpea chili and more. 6108 Germantown Avenue, (215) 821-7298; 8419 Germantown Avenue,
Where: All The Way Live Cafe Chestnut Hill, 8419 Germantown Avenue
Multitalented chef-owner Jezabel Careaga makes stellar empanadas, alfajores and other Argentine specialties at her West Philly cafe and bakery, but she’s more than just a wonder in the the kitchen. Hear more about her culinary expertise — and furniture studio! — on Season 1, Episode 21 of Visit Philly’s Love + Grit podcast.
Where: Jezabel's Argentine Cafe & Bakery, 206 S. 45th Street
Philly native and Top Chef star Jennifer Carroll focuses her talents on Mediterranean fare (lamb ribs, anyone?) as partner and co-executive chef at Spice Finch in the Warwick Hotel — her latest venture in an impressive career that’s taken her to some of the top kitchens in Philadelphia and New York.
Where: Spice Finch, 220 S. 17th Street
Co-owner and pastry chef Angela Cicala created this elegant Italian restaurant with her chef-husband Joe. In a space located off the lobby of the renovated Divine Lorraine building on North Broad Street, Cicala bakes a heavenly assortment of traditional cookies and pastries from recipes inherited from her mother and grandmother. Cicala previously worked in lauded East Passyunk restaurants Le Virtu and Brigantessa and continues to lead culinary tours of Italy when she’s not busy making the breads and pastries Cicala customers so love.
Where: Cicala at the Divine Lorraine, 699 N. Broad Street
Founder and owner of the Manayunk restaurant which bears her name, Winnie Clowry hails from a restaurant family and has worked in the industry since she was a teen. For nearly two decades, Winnie’s has served up a mean brunch and a seemingly endless supply of French toast.
Where: Winnie's Manayunk, 4266 Main Street
Expect Central American street food with a modern twist at Sofia Deleon’s fast-casual El Merkury. What began as pop-up events and catering grew into a brick-and-mortar shop in Rittenhouse Square, plus a stall in Reading Terminal Market. Owner-chef Deleon is famous for her made-to-order churro sundaes with creamy soft serve and delectable toppings.
Where: El Merkury, 2104 Chestnut Street
El Merkury at the Market, 51 N. 12th Street
Long known for casual, takeout soul food, chef and owner Barbara Dewan has leveled up with a stylish setting for down-home wings, candied yams and 7Up cake and custom cocktails.
Where: Tasties, 1214 N. 52nd Street
Tasties, 5241 Germantown Avenue
South Africa-raised baker Tova du Plessis opened Essen in South Philadelphia after stints at Zahav and Lacroix, among other top spots. The four-time James Beard Award semifinalist frequently sells out of her Jewish bakery favorites, like chocolate halva babka and black and white cookies. But lucky for you: You can order next-day pickup or delivery.
Where: Essen Bakery, 1437 East Passyunk Avenue
Serving Philadelphia since 1978, this South Street favorite is now run by its namesake. Bridget Foy took over for parents John and Bernadette in 2021, timed with the restaurant’s grand reopening. A fire, demolition and bottom-to-top reconstruction couldn’t keep Foy from breathing new life into this family business. Foy’s other culinary venture, the nearby Cry Baby Pasta, serves heaping piles of spaghetti, linguine and tagliatelle in cozy, stylish environs.
Where: Bridget Foy's, 200 S. Street
Cry Baby Pasta, 627 S. 3rd Street
Six years after Chloe Grigri and her dad Bernard opened French brasserie The Good King Tavern in Bella Vista, she upped the neighborhood cool factor with the debut of Le Caveau in late 2019. The sexy upstairs wine bar promptly became a James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program thanks to Grigri, whose newer spot offers more than 130 pours made from sustainably farmed grapes.
Where: The Good King Tavern, 614 S. 7th Street
Pioneering plant-based cuisine before plant-based cuisine was cool, chef Kate Jacoby opened Vedge alongside her husband, chef Rich Landau, in 2011. The Philly native is a James Beard Award semifinalist (2014-2016) for Outstanding Pastry Chef and churns out palate-zinging fare, homemade ice creams and can’t-miss pies. Fun fact: Jacoby is also a certified sommelier.
Where: Vedge, 1221 Locust Street
Melody Lauletta brings nearly two decades of experience in top restaurants to Montgomery County’s Keep, which she co-owns with husband-chef Mike Jenkins. The duo opened the American BYOB in 2018, following up Lauletta’s time in well-known Philadelphia restaurants like Ristorante Panorama, Barclay Prime, The Continental and James Beard Award semifinalist Laurel.
Where: Keep, 417 York Road, Jenkintown
Blew Kind’s passion for hospitality is evident at Franny Lou’s Porch, the homey cafe and community gathering space she owns in Kensington. Named after civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer and abolitionist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, the cafe features a menu of coffee, tea, sandwiches and other light fare, while functioning as a safe and inclusive space for Black people and other marginalized communities.
Where: Franny Lou's Porch, 2400 Coral Street
Casa Mexico, 1134 S. 9th Street
At her South Philly storefront, owner-chef Rachel Klein typically offers popular multi-course vegan meals on select evenings, plus private parties for up to 20 guests if you want a sit-down five-course delight or for up to 26 people for grazing, family-style cocktail parties.
Where: Miss Rachel's Pantry, 1938 S. Chadwick Street
Understanding mac and cheese’s role as one of the finer things in life, owner-chef Marti Lieberman opened a mac and cheese food truck on Drexel university’s campus in 2013. Fast forward three years, and Mac Mart had its own Rittenhouse Square storefront. From classic mac to platters topped with pesto, roasted red peppers and mozzarella, anything is possible when it comes to this tried-and-true dish.
Where: Mac Mart, 104 S. 18th Street
Justine MacNeil’s gelato is simply too good for this world. Pre-order some, in flavors like carrot cake and coffee cookie chip, from the Italian restaurant she co-founded with husband Ed Crochet.
Where: Fiore Fine Foods, 757 S. Front Street
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Talula's Garden, 210 W. Washington Square
Talula's Daily, 208 W. Washington Square
The Love., 130 S. 18th Street
It’s all about the French toast for Local Artisan Foods: French Toast Bites, French Toast Bites Beer and French Toast Bites Coffee, to be exact. Started in 2018, this collection of food and beverage products uses ingredients grown and sourced responsibly with respect to origin and seasonality. Devotees of the sweet treats can find French Toast Bites at places like Cherry Street Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park and at seasonal events.
Where: Various locations including Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
One of the most prominent figures in Philadelphia’s food scene, Cristina Martínez is both an outstanding chef and an outspoken immigration activist. She has racked up numerous national accolades over the years, including two James Beard Award nods for South Philly Barbacoa. Her other spot, Casa México, serves Martínez’s beloved tacos, as well as a full menu of meals.
Where: South Philly Barbacoa, 1140 S. 9th Street
A huge champion of both the local restaurant scene and plant-based eating, Nicole Marquis — CEO and founder of vegan mini-chain HipCityVeg — oversees several locations throughout the Greater Philadelphia region, as well as in Washington, D.C. and New York. Her Marquis & Co. restaurant group also includes Latin spot Bar Bombón and Charlie was a sinner., a vegan cocktail bar.
Where: Various locations including HipCityVeg, 127 S. 18th Street
Lauded for its Vietnamese street eats — like banana leaf-wrapped dumplings, various meat and fish platters with rice papers to wrap, king crab fried rice, and charbroiled seafood — Gabriella’s Vietnam draws from the expertise of chef and co-owner Thanh Nguyen. Nguyen is also the chef at Ambler’s Melody’s Grillhouse where, as a testament to her skill, the menu is totally different.
Where: Gabriella's Vietnam, 1837 E. Passyunk Avenue
Melody's - Casual Vietnamese, 47 East Butler Avenue, Ambler
Drawing from her family’s Taiwanese recipes and traditions, Baology chef and co-owner Judy Ni carefully prepares potstickers, pork belly buns, wraps and bento boxes with meticulously sourced ingredients. She runs the fast-casual spot in Logan Square with her husband, chef Andy Tessier.
Where: bāo • logy, 1829 John F Kennedy Boulevard
The vegetarian, vegan and raw dishes served here are meant to help customers tap into their spirituality. Stir fries, salads, wraps and veggie bowls are packed with healthy, natural ingredients at this West Philly spot.
Where: Atiya Ola's Spirit First Foods, 310 S. 48th Street
Known for her gracious hospitality and killer cheese plates, Aimee Olexy was a farm-to-table trailblazer with the opening of Talula’s Table in Kennett Square in 2007. Since then she’s expanded her empire with business partner Stephen Starr to include dreamy Talula’s Garden and Talula’s Daily in Washington Square, plus The Love. in Rittenhouse Square.
Where: Various locations including Talula's Table,, 102 W. State Street, Kennett Square
Buzzy Andiario is located in the heart of West Chester’s shopping and dining district, inviting diners to enjoy artisanal meals made with honest, local ingredients. A 2019 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, this farm-to-table spot frequently changes its menu of hearty pastas and proteins based on the availability of fresh ingredients. While husband Anthony Andiario runs the kitchen, co-owner Marie van Schaijik keeps the front of house running smoothly, making sure guests have a memorable experience from the moment they walk in the door.
Where: Andiario, 106 W. Gay Street, West Chester
While Fond, the restaurant Le Bec-Fin alum Jessie Prawlucki-Styer opened with her husband, chef Lee Styer, just recently closed, you can enjoy the pastry chef’s delicacies at The Dutch. The breakfast and lunch spot will soon move into Fond’s former location on East Passyunk for more space to chow on the famous Dutch Babies.
Where: The Dutch, 1537 S.11th Street
Along with James Beard Award-nominated husband chef Randy Rucker, Amanda Rucker co-owns River Twice, the seasonally inspired restaurant with a seven-course tasting menu. The minimalist vibe inside? That’s all Amanda.
Where: River Twice, 1601 E. Passyunk Avenue
You can’t talk about women in Philly restaurants without mentioning chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, the influential partners behind Barbuzzo, Little Nonna’s and a slew of other restaurants and shops that helped transform the 13th Street corridor in Midtown Village. Their Safran Turney Hospitality group continues to grow, with a new pizza joint and restaurant in the former welcome center at LOVE Park on the horizon. Hear the pair talk about how their businesses reflect their neighborhood pride in Season 1, Episode 20 of Visit Philly’s Love + Grit podcast.
Where: Various locations including Barbuzzo,, 110 S.13th Street
With a dinner party ethos in mind, chef Amanda Shulman founded Her Place Supper Club, originally a pop up, but now with a permanent home. At just 22 seats, and with only two seatings per night, Her Place thrives on intimacy and spontaneity. The six-course tasting menu is constantly changing, but remains focused on locally and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Where: Her Place Supper Club, 1740 Sansom Street
Named after Simpson’s grandmother (Frances Nicholson), this Bella Vista soul food restaurant serves up classic Southern dishes with a modern twist. Popular menu items include meatloaf sandwiches, Spanish Harlem fries and, for dessert, potato chip cookies.
Where: Frannie Nick's Philadelphia, 824 S. 8th Street
What started out as chef-owner Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon’s search for a catering kitchen quickly morphed into a critically acclaimed BYOB sensation in Bella Vista. A 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best New Restaurant and Esquire’s 2020 Restaurant of the Year, Kalaya showcases the authentic southern Thai recipes Suntaranon learned from her mother, for whom the restaurant is named. Tip: Many of her beautiful dishes are Instagram gold. Suntaranon appeared on Season 1, Episode 25 of Visit Philly’s Love + Grit podcast to discuss how her business has changed during COVID-19.
Where: Kalaya Thai Kitchen, 764 S. 9th Street
After 17 years on Spring Garden Street, Sazon, the restaurant run by Judith Suzarra-Campbell and her husband Robert Campbell, closed its doors. But you can still get Suzarra-Campbell’s Venezuelan fare (empanadas, arepas and patacon) in your home with the takeout/delivery-only concept operating out of a ghost kitchen on Girard Avenue.
Where: Sazon 2 Go, 1308 W. Girard Avenue
In a previous life, Saba Tedla worked in corporate finance in the tech industry. She pivoted to restaurants with the debut of Mediterranean spot Aksum in 2011, followed by Booker’s in 2017. The lively southern-inspired restaurant and bar on Baltimore Avenue is named in part for Booker Wright, who worked in a whites-only restaurant in 1960s Mississippi while also running his own space that catered to Black customers.
Where: Booker's Restaurant & Bar, 5021 Baltimore Avenue
Aksum, 4630 Baltimore Avenue
Inspired by the music- and food-filled evenings at her great-aunt’s house, Philly native Tanesha Trippett started her own catering company in 2016 before getting into the food truck biz a year later. Brotherly Grub grew out of that food truck and into a Mt. Airy cafe where Trippett cooks southern cuisine with Spanish influences.
Where: Brotherly Grub Cafe, 7135 Germantown Avenue
Born in Paris and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela, chef Manuela Villasmil learned how to cook from her mother and grandmother. At Puyero in Queen Village, which she co-owns with her husband Gil Arends and brother-in-law Simon, she serves Venezuelan street food and fruity drinks. Villasmil is the mastermind behind the delicious offerings, like the pork dishes that marinate for 24 hours and arepas.
Where: Puyero Venezuelan Flavor, 524 S. 4th Street
Archeologist and world traveler Jill Weber heads up Sojourn Philly hospitality group with her husband, Evan Malone. Her diverse portfolio includes Jet Wine Bar, Rex at The Royal and Cafe Ynez, which represent her frequent and immersive travel experiences and the food inspiration she’s picked up along the way.
Where: Jet Wine Bar, 1525 S. Street
This new Old City restaurant features a late-night menu packed with grownup versions of your childhood favorites. Think elevated chicken tenders, pizza bites and a “Bomb-Ass PB&J” served on deep-fried Hawaiian bread. At just 29-years-old, Wellmon has studied at the Culinary Institute of America, trained in Madrid and worked locally at Garces Events at the Kimmel Center.
Where: FRAME, 222 Market Street
The once-unassuming Indonesian restaurant in South Philly, now adorned with a colorful mural, earned Ena, Maylia and Diana Widjojo a James Beard Award semifinalist nod and national attention in 2018. But their family-run spot, now led by Ena’s daughters Maylia and Diana, has been a local favorite for Southeast Asian comfort food since it opened in 2001.
Where: Hardena, 1754 S. Hicks Street
After stints at high-profile New York restaurants like Eleven Madison Park and Jean Georges, Aurora Wold moved to Philadelphia to open her confectionery in a corner storefront in Queen Village. There, you’ll find her beautiful hand-painted chocolates alongside French macarons and freshly baked pastries, with influences from the chefs Wold has learned from during her career.
Where: Aurora Grace Chocolates, 517 S. 5th Street
Riding the game cafe wave, Jeannie Wong and partner Edward Garcia opened Queen and Rook in Queen Village in 2019. Wong oversees the menu, with kimchi fries, jackfruit carnitas and vegan fish filet all up for grabs, as are game rentals during your meal.
Where: Queen & Rook Game Cafe, 607 S. 2nd Street
Accomplished restaurateur and multi-year James Beard Award nominee Ellen Yin opened Fork in Old City more than 20 years ago, and it’s still thriving today. Her High Street Hospitality group includes a.kitchen + a.bar at AKA Rittenhouse hotel and High Street restaurants in both Philadelphia and New York.
Where: Fork, 306 Market Street
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High Street on Market, 308 Market Street
a.kitchen + bar, 135 S. 18th Street
Birria tacos are having a moment in Philadelphia, thanks in no small part to former Top Chef contestant Jennifer Zavala. Her popular tamale and taco pop-ups at Underground Arts drew long lines and in late 2021, Zavala finally opened a permanent spot. Enter Juana Tamale, an East Passyunk restaurant with a simple, yet effective menu — tacos, ramen, tamales, churros — and vibrant decor. (Think purple walls with white and black snaking designs and pink and yellow chairs). Hear more from Zavala on Visit Philly’s Love + Grit podcast.
Where: Juana Tamale, 1941 E. Passyunk Avenue
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for a rewarding getaway in one of 2021’s top destinations, per Condé Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Esquire and more.
The exclusive deal — booked more than 175,000 times since 2001 — includes buy-one-get-one-free attraction tickets purchased at the Independence Visitor Center to 33 of Philly’s iconic museums and attractions and free hotel parking (worth up to $100 in Center City Philadelphia).
The can't-miss Philly sites honoring women's impact on the region and the country...