What is the feminist restaurant project?

This public history project seeks to draw attention to the history of feminist restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses in the United States and Canada from 1971 to present day. This website displays the findings of Alex Ketchum's doctoral dissertation research. Although most of the data has been collected from directories, interviews, advertisements, and archives, user feedback is greatly appreciated.

What is a feminist restaurant?

For the purpose of this study, feminist restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses defined themselves as such in either their title, their promotional materials, or in their publications. Although many restaurants focus on social justice principles more broadly, the restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses in this study emphasized that they were/are feminist. This study looks at both profit and non-profit businesses.

Apart from that definition, it can be more difficult to categorize these businesses. Many, but not all, of them were either women-only or had women-only hours. Many of the spaces were run by collectives. Many of the owners were influenced by radical lesbian separatist, socialist feminist, or ecofeminist ideologies. Most held events with feminist and lesbian poets, musicians, artists, and political speakers. Creating a community space was important to many of the owners.