An NYC Spotlight on Female Entrepreneurs

New York City has more female-owned businesses than any other city in America. Despite this, women are still underrepresented within the city’s restaurant scene. Even though the industry is chock-full of talented businesswomen, when it comes to media coverage and awards, men continue to dominate the attention and accolades. In honor of all the successful businesswomen in NYC, Bikelane is paying homage to five exceptional standouts that are shaking up the restaurant industry.

Kristen Tolman

Kristen Tomlan — Also known as the woman behind the edible cookie dough hysteria, Tomlan is the founder and CEO of DO. She capitalized on the collective love of eating raw cookie dough by developing a method for making cookie dough with eggs and flour that is safe to eat. What started as an e-commerce business transformed into a brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan with lines that consistently snake around the block.

Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner

This power duo founded Dimes, the Chinatown restaurant that delivers fresh and vibrant dishes that always end up on Instagram. Between Chef Wagner’s locally-sourced menu and De Sousa’s business savvy, these female co-founders have created something special. Their focus on originality and the surrounding community is a big reason for their success. For a healthy dish and a taste of the New York foodie scene, Dimes is a must-visit destination.

Umber Ahmad

Prior to opening the Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery, Ahmad was a successful investment banker and co-founder of Specialized Capital Management. This global luxury-brand consultancy helps businesses open up in the Middle East. In doing so, she created what was, at first, a successful wholesale bakery. More recently, Ahmad opened a storefront in the West Village and is planning to continue building bakery locations throughout the country. Even more impressive, she continues to run her consulting firm, speaks five languages, and is a successful voiceover actress.

Victoria Blamey

When restaurateur Alessandro Borgognone took over Chumley’s, the iconic bar with former regulars like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, he turned to Victoria Blamey for help. Blamey was up to the challenge. A fine-dining chef and alumnus of esteemed restaurants like Atera, and Upland she reinvented the 1920’s speakeasy while keeping it true to its roots. Drawing from her Chilean heritage, she developed dishes like crab chupe “pot pie” and fried chicken al-Cognac. In the end, she has revived Chumley’s into a trendy dining destination.

Melissa Rodriquez

Filling the shoes of an executive chef in New York City is no small task. Doing it at one of the most renowned Italian fine dining destinations in Del Posto is all the more impressive. Rodriguez recently became the first and only woman to run a New York Times four-star kitchen. Hired as a line cook at Daniel Boulud’s flagship Restaurant Daniel in 2005, she quickly rose the ranks to sous chef before her current prestigious role. Her ascension is remarkable and is no doubt due to her unparalleled work ethic and team-first mindset.

Year to year, the list of women-owned restaurants continues to grow. As more female chefs and businesswomen gain recognition, the gender gap within the restaurant industry continues to shrink. Sign up for the Bikelane newsletter for the latest restaurant industry updates.