Female chefs and restaurateurs are true survivors who know their way around NYC kitchens, enriching us with their passion and compassion.
Kaia Wine Bar
Suzaan Hauptfleish brought the taste of her native South Africa to the Upper East Side ten years ago. Homegrown with a staff that includes her mother, Suzaan’s Kaia Wine Bar is a popular after-work stop for its South African wine list, small plates, and mains. During the pandemic, Suzaan pivoted and provided options for the community – from a weekend farmer’s market to meal kits and takeout cocktails. When outdoor spaces were allowed, Suzaan was ready to build a structure, but there was no wood to buy. Undaunted, she bought wooden doors and created a cafe.
LoLo’s Seafood Shack
In 2014, Leticia Skai Young-Mohan created a Harlem favorite, LoLo's Seafood Shack, which fuses Cape Cod and the Caribbean in a delightful mashup. Leticia took advantage of her kitschy urban backyard during the pandemic and didn’t miss a beat. She has so much faith in New York City, in fact, that she recently signed a lease for a new restaurant-concept called LoLo's Taco Shack, inspired by her family roots in the Yucatan. The name of both restaurants says it all: LoLo’s stands for Locally Owned Locally Operated.
Pizza Loves Emily
Emily Hyland is the co-founder and partner of the hugely successful Pizza Loves Emily restaurants, Emmy Squared and Emily. Introducing Emily’s Detroit-style pizza to NYC was a brave step, given the competitiveness among city pizzamakers. Distinct from usual Italian varieties, Emily’s pies have a pan-fried crust and a crispy cheese rim. Her oversized Emmy burger is another must-try. As a result of COVID, Emily launched and led virtual cooking classes, teaching hungry New Yorkers how to make pizzas and burgers.
La Palapa has been a neighborhood favorite for more than 20 years. A star when it comes to helping out those in need, chef/owner Barbara Sibley mustered her staff at La Palapa Cocina Mexicana in the East Village and her two La Palapa Taco Bar to create and orchestrate delivery of more than 17,000 meals to frontline and hospital workers through partnership with Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen and Hospitality Workers United as well as with the Gotham Organization.
Mario’s Restaurant is a fixture on Arthur Avenue, offering Neapolitan fare in the Bronx’s “real Little Italy” for more than 100 years. Facing community upheaval when the pandemic hit, owner Regina Migliucci-Delfino assumed her role as queen (“regina”) of Belmont, continuing the traditions of Italian hospitality and family by donating everything she could from the kitchen to her staff and community.
Bean & Bean
Bean & Bean set out to be a different kind of coffee bar. Rachel and Jiyoon Han, the BIPOC mother-and-daughter duo who run the show, are committed to lessening the gender gap in coffee. Currently, more than half of their coffee is female-powered, and their goal is to reach 100% within the year. Embraced by locals, Bean & Bean has grown from one location in FiDi to four in the city.
Make My Cake
Aliyyah Baylor is a baking sensation serving up signature creations like Red Velvet cake and sweet potato cheesecake from her two Make My Cake locations in Central Harlem and the Upper West Side. The pandemic hasn’t slowed her down one bit. Baylor is planning a third bakery and a companion I Like it Black Coffee Shop. If anyone has ever been called a “mensch,” that’s Baylor. She gives back to the community through organizations that improve the lives of New York City’s seniors and children including City Meals-on-Wheels and Black Women for Black Girls Giving Circle.
Three NYC hotels showcase the influence of women in design and management.
The Boro Hotel is owned by sisters Liz and Antonia Batalias and operated by General Manager Mary O’Sullivan. With stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, the indie hotel has an industrial feel befitting its Long Island City location.
Near Fifth Avenue, the colorful, design-forward Whitby Hotel is led by General Manager Kathrin Apitz. Designer and hotel founder Kit Kemp is responsible for each individually decorated room and suite.
The Brooklyn-centric Williamsburg Hotel is owned and operated by Toby Moskovits and General Manager Julita Kropiwnicki. Loft-style living is the hallmark of the boutique hotel.
Book lovers can thank Bronx native Noëlle Santos for the borough’s only indie bookstore, The Lit. Bar. The Afro-Latina-owned shop has garnered much attention, bucking the online trend and filling a gap when Barnes & Nobles closed its Bronx doors. When the pandemic hit, Santos jumped into gear, streaming virtual programs to connect and enlighten readers.
Eliza Blank’s plants have enlivened many apartments during quarantine. Her plant shop, The Sill, has storefronts in Manhattan and Brooklyn but, importantly, delivers plants throughout the city. For those needing advice for their new green friends, she created online workshops to teach plant parenting.
Parks that Honor
Close to Hudson Yards, Bella Abzug Park honors the feminist, civil rights activist, lawyer and U.S. representative.
Brooklyn’s Shirley Chisholm State Park was named for the first African-American congresswoman and the first woman and African-American to run for president.