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 book Ingredients for Revolution: A History of American Feminist Restaurants, Cafes, and Coffeehouses, previous doctoral dissertation research, and MA 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.


This project was inspired by Bloodroot Feminist Vegetarian Restaurant in Bridgeport, Connecticut. After meeting Selma Miriam and Noel Furie of Bloodroot, I became fascinated by the idea of feminist restaurants, cafes, and coffeehouses. These spaces speak to the intersections of feminist, environmentalist, and food history. Through my interviews  with the founders of Bloodroot and my research in the Schlessinger Archives of Radcliffe at Harvard University and the Sallie Bingham Archives of Duke University, I became aware of Mother Courage Restaurant in New York City and Bread and Roses in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From there I conducted interviews with Patricia Hynes of Bread and Roses and did more research in the Yale Archives. Later for my masters research, when I was focusing on Canadian feminist restaurants, I went to the Gaies Archives of Quebec and the Ontario Women's Movement Archives. For my doctoral research I have also utilized the Northeastern University Archives, the LAMBDA Archives of San Diego, Smith College Archives, New York University's archives at the Tamiment Library and the Fales Library, the John J. Wilcox Archives at the William Way Center of Philadelphia, and the University of Minnesota Archives. I have also continued conducting interviews with other feminist restaurant, cafe, and coffeehouse owners and staff.

I have located the majority of the restaurants through advertisements in feminist periodicals; through lesbian travel directories and gay yellow pages; in interviews; and through word of mouth. 

tl;dr: Archives, Interviews, Feminist Periodicals, and Word of Mouth

Get Involved/ How you can help:
Help me build my database. Let me know if there are any feminist restaurants that are not listed in the directories that you have heard of.