women chefs

Over the years, Philadelphia has become one of the main hubs for foodies from all over the world. So, today I want to focus on a very special place in Center City. Two Women Chefs took over Midtown Village by the storm.  Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran is the dream team that owns NINE shops in Midtown Village. These include Lolita, Jamonera, Open House, Bud & Marilyn’s, Grocery., Verde, Marcie Blaine, Little Nonna’s, & Barbuzzo. So, when thinking about ideal entrepreneur role models, I can’t help to look in amazement at these two women. In fact, they are what we would consider Serial Entrepreneurs.

Women Chefs in a Male-Dominated Industry

It is not a secret that women are a rare breed in the Culinary World”. In fact, according to this article, only 33 percent of American Restaurants are owned by women. So, one has to wonder, how did Marcie Turner and Valerie Safran manage to take over Midtown Village? And also, just so you know,  women own around 39 percent of all U.S. businesses. So, rather than focusing on just specifically the Culinary Industry, perhaps the disparity is part of a broader problem.

Women own around 39 percent of all U.S. businesses Click To Tweet

Nonetheless, these disparities did not stop these two girls from basically taking over. Below is a breakdown of each business and why you should visit next time you are in town.

Where is Midtown Village?

Midtown Village is located between Broad & Market, Broad & Spruce, up to 11th & Market. This location is one of the most walkable areas in Philadelphia and is close to hundreds of points of interests. These include City Hall, Academy of Music, Rittenhouse Square, Dilworth Park, etc.

Midtown Village Map

Lolita – Lolita is one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia. The BYOT concept welcomes you to gather your friends and enjoy a semi-dangerous night of tequila. But, I suggest you just try out all the different kinds of Tequila they have in the bar (with moderation of course). And if you can sit in front of the kitchen to enjoy the live action as they bring to life mouth-watering Mexican food. This place is always packed so come with patience as you slither between tables. These women Chefs & Restauranteurs really know what they are doing!

Jamonera – Jamonera is another one of my personal favorites. The ambient here is dark and romantic. The Sangria and the Paella are a must try if you get a chance. Bring your appetite. They do serve tapas but I suggest that you come in with an all or nothing attitude.

Open House – Open House is a home store. It is packed with surprisingly affordable furnishings, accessories and miscellaneous objects of desire for the home and garden, all sized for smaller urban dwellings. Safran makes no bones about how she chooses inventory. Nothing that she wouldn’t buy for herself makes it into the store.

Bud & Marilyn’s – This restaurant is all about comfort food. Bud and Marilyn were actually the names of Marcie’s grandparents. Take a look at this video for mouthwatering samples!


Grocery. – Is a food market where you can purchase upscale market for gourmet staples, plus take-out soups, salads & homemade baked goods.

Verde – Is a cute little store with lots of plants, flowers, souvenirs and really, really cute tops. I suggest maybe stopping by Lolita’s and then hopping right next door to Verde. Perfect trap!

Marcie Blaine – And right inside Verde’s boutique, in the back, you can see delicious handcrafted chocolates be made to perfection.

Little Nonna’s – Is an Italian-American restaurant. The place seats about 40 guests inside and they have an additional 40 seats in their outdoor garden. Seating in the garden and at the chef’s counter overlooking the open kitchen is on a first come, first served basis.

Barbuzzo – Is a Mediterranean kitchen and bar. The must try’s for this restaurant are definitely the Marguerita Pizza. It is a light delicious option, perfect for outside dining and people watching.


Women Chefs

The City of Brotherly Loves Welcomes You

In conclusion,  do not miss out on the opportunity of exploring this great neighborhood. And try out at least four of the restaurants of these amazing business women.  But, One of their most outstanding feats is rejuvenating that area where all their business thrive. And Marcie explained that one of the greatest things about Philly is that it is “Neighbory”. These women truly heart Philly.

Greatest accomplishment: Marcie: We kind of get credit for revitalizing this area of Philadelphia, so I’m proud of how we went about it. We didn’t have money, and we didn’t come from money. We opened a small store on zero-percent credit cards. Six months later, they were paid off, and we just started saving money. And now, we own everything. It took 10 years, but now there are no loans out and we’re getting offers to build everywhere. But we’ve done something awesome in Philadelphia, and you can’t beat that.


FlukyPixels is a blog that showcases incredible business women and their brands.