Celebrating women at the helm of Tallahassee’s culinary world

by Tallahassee Table

Check out our growing list of female entrepreneurs in the Capital City

 In Tallahassee, nearly 50 women entrepreneurs are running their own restaurants, food-related business or food trucks or they are chefs playing a major role in a restaurant, aiming to crack the kitchen’s glass ceiling.  

Wondering how to support women in the Tallahassee dining world? In the spirit of International Women’s Day (March 8) and Women’s History Month (March), we’ve updated our list of women who are forging ahead. Toque hats off to them all. If we’ve missed someone please comment here or email [email protected]   

  • Sophia Al-Siroa, owner of Sahara Greek and Lebanese Cafe.
  • Brittany Barnhart, owner of the charcuterie business, Say Cheese.
  • Arkeba Bouie is the baker/owner of the new pastry shop, Decadent Delights.
  • Alexis Connor, owner of the charcuterie business, Boards by Alexis.
  • The Cross family has owned Tasty Pastry Bakery since 1963. Owners are Hortencia Cross and her children, Debbie Cross, Brenda O’Kelley and Marc and Mike Cross. are co-owners of the longtime bakey.
  • Shishandra Devlin, owner of the charcuterie business, Bougie with a Board.
  • Donna Elliott, owner of Square Mug Cafe in Railroad Square.
  • Nora Getz, owner of La Tiendita with her husband Sid.
  • Sylvia Gould, James Beard semifinalist and pastry chef at Kool Beanz Cafe.
  • Shayna Green-Hawkins, chef-owner of Crabs on the Run.
  • Ashley Guy, owner of Tallulah CBD & Juice Bar.
  • Elizabeth Gwynn, chef/proprietor of Cypress Restaurant (open more than 20 years), Grove Market Cafe and Vertigo with husband David.
  • Nicole Holloway is co-owner of Mo-Betta BBQ with her husband, barbecue master Mo.
  • Lara Hooper, co-owner with chef Joe Richardson, of Lucilla cafe.
  • Sha Ron James, owner/founder of Impact Foods, offering healthy grab-n-go items downtown.
  • Chetana Kadam, owner of the restaurant Aaru’s, focusing on Indo-Chinese and South Indian delicacies.
  • Sisters Lyrica, Zaira and Nadira Leo, (with help from mom, Syrheda La Shae) are the young entrepreneurs behind Bourne Brilliant. They sell their homemade, organic plant-based food, pastries and teas.
  • Candy Hernandez and her daughter, Luvy Carballo cook traditional fare from El Salvador at their restaurant El Viroleño.
  • DeeDee Johnston and her daughters Debbie Johnston and Jennifer Poskey are the masterminds behind Hopkins Eatery extensive menu and desserts.
  • Mandy Lemons, owner of Table 23 with husband Joe.
  •  Jeri Bradley Madden, owner of Jeri’s Midtown Cafe, who has also teamed up with Midtown Reader (owned by another powerhouse, Sally Bradshaw) and Argonaut Cafe to provide snacks at the former Lucy & Leo’s coffee shop.
  • Justine May is the owner of Railroad Square Craft House, which serves food and spirits.
  • Rebecca Kelly-Manders owns the Street Chefs food truck and launched the @REfire Culinary program to assist those with felony convictions in obtaining employment.
  • Olean McCaskill, owner and operator of Olean’s Cafe for more than two decades.
  • Barbara McGarrah, who has been making brittle and homemade ice cream for 17 years Barb’s Gourmet Brittles.
  • Jessica Bright McMullen, chef/owner of KitchenAble Cooking School & Catering.
  • Magi Mekaiess, chef/owner of Cafe Yerushalmi, which seems to be Tallahassee’s only full-service kosher restaurant.
  • Barby Moro, managing partner and owner of RedEye Coffee. She’s also been recognized as one of the Essential Women in Tallahassee for 2020 by the Tallahassee Community College Women’s History Month committee.
  • Amanda Morrison, co-owner of Poco Vino with fiance Gus Corbella.
  • Donna Mulsing has been the chef-owner of Reangthai for more than 20 years.
  • LoAnne Nguyen and her daughter-in-law Katie Nguyen are co-owners with their husbands of the Tallahassee branch of Paris Bánh Mì.
  • Sisters Thao and Thuy Nguyen are the owners of Pho Me Vietnamese Noodle Bar. 
  • Teresa Nix, co-owner with husband Joe, of Catering with Care or CWC Cafe.
  • Treva Pasquarelli is the owner/chef at Treva’s Pastries and Fine Foods.
  • Nikki Pettineo, chef-instructor at Tallahassee Community College.
  • Susie Petty, co-owner of The Bark vegan/vegetarian restaurant with business partner David Green, 
  • Tasha Pizarrro owner of the old-fashioned, neighborhood ice cream truck, Momma P’s.
  • Bridgette Rankin is the co-owner of Rankin Crunchy & Confused Tacos restaurant and food truck with her husband Roger.
  • Carla Reid, owner of Black Dog Cafe in Lake Ella.
  • Erika Rojas is the owner of Tally Arepas, Venezuelan food truck.
  • Susan Roth is co-owner of Andrews Downtown and Rootstock Pours + Plates with her husband, Paul, and Andrew Reiss.
  • Shacafrica Simmons, also known as Chef Shac, was a champion on the TV show, “Chopped,” is a caterer, private chef and does food coaching. She is opening a new restaurant called Soulful in Goodwood Museum & Gardens.
  • Amy Schwartz, co-owner of the Italian restaurant, Bella Bella Tallahassee, with brother Marc.
  • Ariel Sonnino is a co-owner of The Good Berry with Joan-Manuel Pouparina.
  • Michaela Teasley, owner of Tally Kombucha. Pictured at top; photo courtesy Tallahassee Democrat.
  • Sheena Thompson, owner of Tastee Turkey Leg, with husband Halford.
  • Susan Turner, owner of award-winning Food Glorious Food, who opened the restaurant in 1982 and has been the longest running woman-owned business in Tally, building FGF from a 30-seat to 200-seat venue. . Her partners now are chef Kevin and Michelle Stout, a Culinary Institute of America pastry chef. Susan is pictured with the herb garden at Food Glorious Food at the top of this story. Photo credit: Tallahassee Democrat file.
  • Jean Uthmeier, a home cook and baker, owner of the new La Florida Coffee & Wine Bar.
  • Rosalyn Wilsey, who recently launched the mobile coffee shop called The Frother’s Daughter.
  • Lida Yajure, owner of VeneBitestally1 with Wagner Yajure.
  • Jennifer Young, baker and owner of TC Bakery.

Here’s a gallery with more to come.

Photo courtesy of Alexis Connor of Boards by Alexis.
Sisters Thao and Thuy Nguyen are the owners of Pho Me Vietnamese Noodle Bar. Photo courtesy Thao Nguyen
Photo courtesy of Shishandra Devlin of Bougie with a Board.
Candy Hernandez, left, and Luvy Carbello pose at their previous location of El Viroleño. They are now located at  Northhampton Shopping Center, 2910 Kerry Forest Parkway. Photo / Tallahassee Democrat
Nora Getz, owner of La Tiendita Mexican Restaurant, and Elizabeth Oliveira, manager of La Tiendita’s Brazilian eatery, called Via Brazil. Here, they’re at the Cleaver and Cork Food and Wine Festival. Photo: Tallahassee Table
Sylvia Gould, pastry chef at Kool Beanz Cafe and a semifinalist for outstanding pastry chef in the country for the James Beard Foundation Awards. Photo Tallahassee Table
Susan Turner, owner of award-winning Food Glorious Food, who opened the restaurant in 1982 and has been the longest running woman-owned business in Tally, building FGF from a 30-seat to 200-seat venue. Photo credit: Tallahassee Democrat file.
Jessica Bright McMullen, chef/owner of KitchenAble Cooking School and Catering.
Barbara McGarrah, who has been making brittle and homemade ice cream for 17 years Barb’s Gourmet Brittles. Photo Tallahassee Democrat
Olean McCaskill, owner and operator of Olean’s Cafe for more than two decades. Photo Tallahassee Democrat
Justine May is the owner of Railroad Square Craft House, which serves food and spirits.
Magi Mekaiess, chef/owner of Cafe Yerushalmi, which seems to be Tallahassee’s only full-service kosher restaurant. Photo Tallahassee Democrat
Sisters Lyrica, Zaira and Nadira Leo, (with help from mom, Syrheda La Shae) are the young entrepreneurs behind Bourne Brilliant. They sell their homemade, organic plant-based food, pastries and teas. Photo courtesy Bourne Brilliant
Jean Uthmeier, a home cook and baker, owner of the new La Florida Coffee & Wine Bar with daughter Claire at 11 months old.
Nicole Holloway, co-owner of Mo-Betta BBQ with her husband, barbecue master Mo.
Shacafrica Simmons, also known as Chef Shac, was a champion on the TV show, “Chopped,” is a caterer, private chef and does food coaching. She is opening a new restaurant called Soulful in Goodwood Museum & Gardens. Photo courtesy Chef Shac
LoAnne Nguyen and her daughter-in-law Katie Nguyen are co-owners with their husbands of the Tallahassee branch of Paris Bánh Mì, which is based in Orlando.
Ariel Sonnino is a co-owner of The Good Berry with Joan-Manuel Pouparina.
Nikki Pettineo, chef-instructor at Tallahassee Community College. Photo credit Nikki Pettineo
Jeri Bradley Madden, owner of Jeri’s Midtown Cafe, (second from right) celebrates International Women’s Day with her staff. Photo courtesy Jeri Bradley Madden.

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2 comments

kfhadhi April 13, 2021 - 5:15 pm

Hi Tallahassee,
I have read your article. Which is very nice content I think? This main content is TALLAHASSEE WOMEN SHINE IN OUR RESTAURANT WORLD. Thanks for your sharing an amazing post. Keep writing. Would love to have you guys write for my restaurant website https://alaminr.com.au/ at times.

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Tallahassee Table April 14, 2021 - 1:19 pm

Thank you so much! I’m happy you liked the article. Appreciate your feedback, Rochelle

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