In honor of Women’s History Month, more than 20 women-owned restaurants in San Luis Obispo County are coming together March 8 through 14 for the first At Her Table event hosted by the website and social media platform EnjoySLO.
More than 40 women are participating in the county-wide event by offering special menu items at their restaurants, hosting virtual classes and joining discussions about what it means to be women in the food service industry.
Michelle Barrera is the owner of EnjoySLO. She started the organization to help connect the Central Coast community with local events and interesting locations.
Barrera said she was inspired to create At Her Table from a conversation with an organizer from a similar program in Los Angeles.
“One woman spoke to me and the ripple effect -- it moves. A city is moved by one woman’s voice,” Barrera said. “That’s what I want to give to all of these women. [I want] them to know that their voice matters and it is so powerful.”
Debbie Thomas is the owner of Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles and was one of the first women to commit to participating in At Her Table.
Thomas said women working in the restaurant industry aren’t acknowledged enough and this event highlights their work.
“At Her Table celebrates women who take risks,” Thomas said. “They’re courageous and, of course, anyone knows who owns a restaurant -- they work endless hours. To me, that is worth celebrating. My hope is that people will come and sit at my table.”
Thomas’s special this week is a bone marrow-crusted ribeye paired with Desperado Wine, another woman-owned business.
One of the event’s virtual discussions focuses on women in the restaurant industry who are also parents.
Courtney Asseo will be part of that conversation. She's the Co-owner of Les Petites Canailles in Paso Robles and a mother of three.
Asseo said meeting these other women has been really valuable.
“It really made me realize that I’m not crazy and I’m not alone,” Asseo said. “You know we’re all just trying to do the best that we can, help run these successful businesses and also be the mom and the wife and the friend that we want to be.”
Asseo’s restaurant is donating $2 from every special sold to Rise SLO, a local nonprofit that serves the survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
Rise is the chosen beneficiary of At Her Table.
Visit the event's website to learn more about how to participate in At Her Table.