Wonder Women Restaurateurs

Meet the founders of RE:Her

In November 2020, nine acclaimed female restaurateurs in Los Angeles founded the nonprofit Regarding Her (RE:Her) in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry.

RE:Her's first event was the inaugural 10 Days RE:Her, which united more than 100 female food and beverage entrepreneurs across LA for a 10-day festival featuring unique collaborations, themed menus, virtual events and conversations, and more. To celebrate Women's History Month, the second annual 10 Days RE:Her is taking place from Friday, March 4 to Sunday, March 13, 2022. RE:Her has expanded to Washington D.C., which is hosting its own 14-day festival.

In July 2021, RE:Her distributed 15 cash grants of $10,000 each to female-identifying food and beverage entrepreneurs in LA County, which recipients like Nickel Diner can use to bolster their business however they see fit. All sales from the RE:Her Shop contribute to the RE:Her Accelerator/Grant Fund Program to directly benefit women-owned restaurants in Los Angeles.

The extensive RE:Her Los Angeles Guide connects diners and drinkers to women-owned restaurants and experiences inspired and curated by Her.

Read on and meet the nine wonder women restaurateurs who founded RE:Her and their establishments.

Seafood Paella at Gasolina Cafe in Woodland Hills
Seafood Paella at Gasolina Cafe | Photo: Tock

Sandra Cordero - Gasolina Cafe

Opened in 2015, Gasolina Cafe (21150 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills 91364), has become a community hub and showcases owner Sandra Cordero's passion for local farmers and their produce, with an unbridled enthusiasm for the food of her home country, Spain.

Along with daily breakfast and lunch menus (the Patatas Bravas is a must), Gasolina also hosts Paella Nights every third weekend of the month, featuring three-course prix fixe menus. Pricing is $52 per person, or enjoy Paella Night at Home for 2 ($104). Reservations at Tock.

Duck Egg Pizza at Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach
Duck Egg Pizza | Photo: Love & Salt

Sylvie Gabriele - Love & Salt

Located steps from the historic Manhattan Beach Pier, Love & Salt (317 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach 90266) has become a stalwart of the South Bay dining scene since its opening in 2014. Sylvie Gabriele spearheaded the transformation of her father's neighborhood institution, Cafe Pierre into a modern bistro serving Italian cuisine with SoCal soul. Highlights include Shaved Fennel Salad, Wood Oven Meatballs, Duck Egg Pizza and Salt Spring Mussels.

Botana Oaxaqueña at Guelaguetza in Koreatown
Botana Oaxaqueña at Guelaguetza | Photo: Postmates

Bricia Lopez - Guelaguetza

Guelaguetza (3014 W Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles 90006) is much more than a restaurant - it’s a Oaxacan cultural center with a performance stage, Mezcaleria and boutique market. Located in Koreatown, Guelaguetza is owned and operated by Bricia Lopez and her siblings, Paulina and Fernando, Jr. Guelaguetza’s Oaxacan cuisine has earned local and national acclaim, including the prestigious James Beard America's Classics Award in 2015.

Go with a group and share family-style platters like the Botana Oaxaqueña, which serves eight and includes chorizo, tasajo, cecina, chile relleno, carnitas, Oaxaca cheese, grilled onions and cactus. Served with guacamole, frijoles de la olla with nopalitos, and 14 memelitas.

Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger at Socalo
Mary Sue Milliken (L) and Susan Feniger (R) | Photo: Socalo
"We ditched the patriarchy long ago and took charge of our own destiny." ~ Mary Sue Milliken

Mary Sue Milliken - Border Grill and Socalo

Mary Sue Milliken is a true trailblazer, best known for the Mexican-inspired eateries she's opened with Susan Feniger, her business partner of 40-plus years: the colorful Border Grill cantinas and food truck; and Socalo, a California canteen and Mexican pub in the Gateway Hotel (1920 Santa Monica Blvd. Ste 150, Santa Monica 90404). Whatever you do, don't miss the guac!

Famously known as the “Two Hot Tamales” after taping nearly 400 episodes of their Food Network show (1995-99), the dynamic duo have won numerous awards, including the Julia Child Award in 2018. In addition to co-founding RE:Her, Milliken also sits on the boards of the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength. As Milliken told the Julia Child Foundation, “We ditched the patriarchy long ago and took charge of our own destiny.”

Music City Medium Half-Chicken at Hotville Chicken
Music City Medium Half-Chicken at Hotville Chicken | Photo: @hotvillechicken, Instagram

Kim Prince - Hotville Chicken

A third generation restaurateur, Kim Prince moved back to Los Angeles from Nashville and launched her Hotville Chicken pop-up in 2016. Her culinary legacy dates to the 1930s, when her great-great Uncle Thornton Prince and his brothers started the hot chicken tradition in Nashville. Prince collaborated with Greg Dulan (Dulan's Soul Food) to open a brick-and-mortar eatery in 2019. Fans from near and far come to Baldwin Hills Crenshaw (4070 Marlton Ave. Los Angeles 90008) for the Nashville Hot Chicken that's "brined to burn." Choose from pieces like breast quarter (white meat), wings, half- and whole chicken. Heat levels range from West Coast Plain and Cali Mild to Music City Medium and Nashville Hot.

Dishes at Rossoblu in Downtown LA
Photo: Rossoblu

Dina Samson - Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza

Dina Samson describes herself as an “unexpected restaurateur” when she opened her first restaurant, Sotto, alongside husband/chef Steve Samson, in 2011. Following Sotto, the couple headed to Downtown LA with two Italian concepts in the Fashion District: Rossoblu, inspired by memories of summers in Bologna; and Superfine Pizza, which features a delicious mix of Neapolitan and New York pizza styles.

Dishes at Botanica in Silver Lake
Photo: Botanica

Heather Sperling - Botanica

Silver Lake's popular Cal-Med restaurant and market, Botanica (1620 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles 90026) was opened in 2017 by Heather Sperling and her business partner Emily Fiffer. Featuring an all-female management team, Botanica has garnered praise for its vibrant, vegetable-forward dishes and ambitious natural wine program.

Dishes at Here's Looking At You in Koreatown
Here's Looking At You | Photo: @hereslookingatyoula, Instagram

Lien Ta - Here's Looking At You and All Day Baby

Lien Ta and Chef Jonathan Whitener opened Here's Looking at You (3901 W 6th St, Los Angeles 90020) in July 2016, earning accolades like "Restaurant of the Year" from Food & Wine and being ranked #26 in Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants in LA. The beloved Koreatown restaurant was forced to close due to COVID-19 in July 2020 - seemingly forever. But the community rallied and donated more than $85,000 to the HLAY GoFundMe campaign. HLAY reopened in January 2022, which was wonderful news after so much heartbreak in the LA dining scene. Celebrate HLAY's return with favorites like blistered shishito peppers atop tonnato sauce, dusted with huamei; chopped broccoli salad, steak tartare, hamachi collar, and 36oz cowboy ribeye with fermented radish butter.

In November 2019, Ta and Whitener opened All Day Baby (3200 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles 90026) at the corner of Sunset and Descanso. The nouveau diner was an instant hit with the diverse Silver Lake neighborhood and offered takeout and delivery during the pandemic lockdown. Now open for dine-in, ADB serves comfort food with a twist, from Day Menu hits like Thessa Diadem's pastries and biscuit breakfast sandwiches; to the heartier Dinner Menu with "The Burger," Oyster Pot Pie, Anson Mills White Grits, and Smoked Pork Tomahawk Chop (available to-go!).

Sweet potato tacos at Guerrilla Tacos
Sweet potato tacos at Guerrilla Tacos  |  Photo: Jakob Layman

Brittney Valles - Guerrilla Tacos and Gogo's Tacos

The longtime managing partner of Guerrilla Tacos (2000 E 7th St, Los Angeles 90021), Brittney Valles became the sole owner when Chef Wes Avila left the business in 2020. Valles has managed Guerrilla Tacos from its early days as a taco truck to the opening of its brick-and-mortar in the Arts District. The Sweet Potato Taco is essential - roasted sweet potato, almond & cashew chile, feta cheese, fried corn, green onion on a corn tortilla.

In September 2021, Valles opened Gogo's Tacos (3660 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles 90004), a fast-casual spot located on a busy corner at the nexus of Rampart Village, Historic Filipinotown, and Silver Lake. There's more to Gogo's than street tacos, quesadillas, burritos, dipped cones and floats - it's also a social enterprise. Proceeds benefit the non-profit Juan Carlos Cantoni Foundation, which Valles founded to support transitional age youth.