Chicago has an incredible restaurant scene and many of these restaurants are female owned and/or have female chefs, this tradition can be traced back to the late 1890’s when Bertha Palmer introduced Brownies at The Palmer House and Mrs. Hering’s 1890 Chicken Pot Pie launched Marshall Field’s Food Service and the Walnut Room Restaurant, it continues to be served to this day! When my friend, Clodagh Lawless, Proprietor of The Dearborn, brought an amazingly exciting event to my attention I knew I had to share it with you.

Clodagh Lawless

The Dearborn has been one of my go to restaurants from the week they opened. I am obsessed with the decor, obviously the fabulous food but most of all THE staff who welcome everyone like they are family….love it there and am happy to announce they will be reopening on March 10th! We all know the restaurant industry has suffered tremendously during the pandemic….each of us need to support our wonderful restaurant community…here is an easy way to do so and celebrate International Woman’s Day on March 8th. All of us MUST support women’s businesses.

I feel so strongly about this initiative I am copying the Let’s Talk press lease in its entirety. There is a lot of information…the bottom line is…the event is March 8th, pre-order by March 4th go to…

Let’s all do this…sounds like a great fun delicious way to support our beloved restaurant industry.

Here are more details from the Let’s Talk press release…

Let’s Talk is a business initiative – women restaurateurs who are
battling jointly to survive this crisis. It is centered on dining and restaurants, an industry the country loves and that is hit hard, and it is a women’s story – one of collaboration, hope and battle, amidst doom.”

Let’s Talk Womxn was started in July 2020 in Chicago with 15 members. It was created as a forum for women restaurateurs to talk to each other and share resources. It has rapidly evolved to these entrepreneurs undertaking joint initiatives and combining their voice for actions to save their businesses. It is founded and led by Rohini Dey, Ph.D., owner of Vermilion restaurant (Chicago), a former trustee and founder/chair of the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program and former McKinsey & Co. consultant and World Bank economist. Let’s Talk has expanded to 350+ members across 12 cities including Washington DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Lexington, Louisville, Cincinnati, the Bay Area/San Francisco, Phoenix, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle. The objective of Let’s Talk is to increase visibility, funds and combine economic power for women restaurateurs through this crisis and beyond.”

To celebrate this momentum and women’s positive collaboration, Let’s Talk is delighted to announce its official nationwide debut event on International Women’s Day. Nearly 100 women restaurateurs across nine of its cities invite all to join them for “Dine Together & Let’s Talk” on March 8, 2021. This evening features collaborative, surprise multi-restaurant dining experiences for takeout by the women of Let’s Talk. These dinners span four to ten-course menus priced $45-$150 for order by March 4th, such as at Guests are invited to Dine Together as one city and join in a Zoom conversation from 7-8pm with the Let’s Talk women. Expect candor and a provocative discourse moderated by marquee names, including Congresswoman Marie Newman and bestselling author/TED speaker Angela Duckworth. Let’s Talk invites you share this event with colleagues, friends, daughters and sons to change the dialogue. They emphasize parity is NOT solely a women’s cause.”

“Restaurants are the hardest hit sector,” says Dey. “And women entrepreneurs within this segment are hit hardest. Our restaurants are smaller in scale and often undercapitalized. Women shoulder the inevitable extra home workload, and they are isolated as business owners. Let’s Talk is not an organization, it is not an entity, or an association – from whom we women restaurateurs have received a deluge of webinars, guidelines and manuals – it is an action movement by us.”

More About Let’s Talk: The commitment of each Let’s Talk member is voluntary and out-of-hide. Every Let’s Talk city is cohosted by two to four leading women restaurateurs. Learnings are actively cross-pollinated across cities. On-the-ground city initiatives so far have included Women’s Restaurant Weeks, collaborative tasting menus, food fairs, farmers markets, meal kits, subscriptions, cross-promotions, gift baskets, mentorship and more. Members have pooled voices to apply for grants, meet with governors and city officials, write op-eds and participate on panels to showcase the Let’s Talk model of positive action-oriented collaboration.”

“Partners of “Dine Together & Let’s Talk” include Beam Suntory, the Network of Executive Women, state restaurant associations (IRA, MRA, WHA) and Choose Chicago. For more information, please follow on Instagram @LetsTalkWomxn and check back at as the website is developed.”

Additional details on city participants can be found below. Every city offers a moderated Zoom conversation from 7-8pm. Dinner order links will follow on the Let’s Talk website in the coming weeks ahead.”

• “Participants: Beverly Kim (Parachute and Wherewithall), Julia Momose (Kumiko), Clodagh Lawless (The Dearborn), Rohini Dey (Vermilion), Christine Cikowski (Honey Butter Fried Chicken), Deann Bayless (Frontera Group), Amy Morton (Found Kitchen, Social House), Tigist Reda (Demera), Mary Aregoni (Saigon Sisters), Genie Kwon (Kasama), Sophie Evanoff (Vanille Pâtisserie), Sandra Holl (Floriole), Mindy Gohr (Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe), Julia Shell (The Dandy Crown), Agnes Rapacz (TeeGschwendner), Sarah Stegner (Prairie Grass Café), Laurence Noguier (Bistronomic)
Offering: Surprise multi-restaurant four-course ($85) or eight-course ($160) for two.”

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