Meet the Inspiring Women Behind Delaware’s Restaurant Scene

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Restaurant management and ownership are predominantly a boy’s club, but that’s changing. These women are running kitchens and writing checks.

Kelly O’Hanlon started behind the bar at Harry’s Savoy Grill in 1995. Today she and Xavier Teixido, the owner of Harry’s Savoy, co-own Kid Shelleen’s Charcoal House & Saloon in Trolley Square, which is opening a second location in Branmar Shopping Center in Brandywine Hundred.


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Down the street, sisters Vincenza and Margherita Carrieri-Russo are the initials behind V&M Bistro, which pulls inspiration from the family’s legacy business: Pizza. However, the sisters have kicked the cuisine up a notch. They also own the nearby ice cream shop, and V&M is known for “boozy” desserts.


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Kate Applebaum is the “Kate” behind Cajun Kate’s, which she owns with husband Don Applebaum. The couple worked in New Orleans, where Kate rose through the ranks in Susan Spicer’s restaurant. They opened Cajun Kate’s while Kate was at Harry’s Seafood Grill on the Wilmington Riverfront. She has since joined her husband at the two Cajun Kate’s locations.

Betsy LeRoy salutes a specific set of ladies—famous Elizabeths. The stars are the inspiration for the pies at Pizza by Elizabeths, which opened in 1993.

In Newark, Sasha Aber and then-husband Eric Aber started Home Grown Café in 2000 when she was a recent college grad. The restaurant, which expanded several times, catered to special diets long before paleo and keto snagged headlines.


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When Meghan Lee opened Heirloom in 2015, she had a notebook packed with business ideas. The Chadds Ford–area native turned her dreams into reality, and her Lewes restaurant has been showered with stellar reviews, numerous awards and loyal customers.

Similarly, Megan Kee is not one to let ideas go to waste. In Rehoboth, she owns Houston-White Co., a steakhouse, La Fable, a French bistro, and Dalmata, an Italian eatery. More recently, she opened Bramble & Brine at the Buttery in Lewes.

Bethany Beach has a bevy of female entrepreneurs, including Lisa DiFebo-Osias, who opened DiFebo’s in 1989. What started as a seasonal sub shop is now a year-round full-service restaurant with two locations and a market.

Marian Parrot was the first employee that Jonathan Spivak hired for his new restaurant, Sedona, in 1993. Spivak had no hospitality experience, and Parrot picked up the reins and later purchased the iconic fine-dining spot.

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Also in the downtown area, Patsy’s is the product of the mother-daughter team Robin and Patsy Rankin. Both are graduates of the L’Academie de Cuisine Professional Culinary School, and Patsy founded the eatery in 2000. They also own Pie, an artisan pizza shop.

Related: Nery Burgos Serves Trendy Brunch Dishes at Blume in Wilmington

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