Women rock. We’re the comforters, huggers, nurturers, people-pleasers and the ones who always know best. And no place is this more evident than in the kitchen where, for centuries, women have tended to celebrations, milestones, love, loss, heartbreak and more with food.
Just think about your mother (or your grandmother) and that ever-present dish, be it lasagna, chicken noodle soup, a cheeseburger or your favorite chocolate cake that she’d always have ready for you no matter what and no matter when.
For many of us (and for many this goes back generations), the kitchen has been the heart of the home, with much of that heart — and a majority of those meals — created by women.
And so, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve highlighted 17 women-owned restaurants in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. Not all of these women are in the kitchen but as the owners, they oversee, strategize and execute what they think will serve diners best.
If you’ve never been, go. And if you have been, consider another visit. These spots (which are perfect not just for Mother’s Day but for any day) not only make the lower Hudson Valley culinary scene richer and more diverse, they make the restaurants here more welcoming, delicious and comforting. Something — dare we say — Mom would be proud of.
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What started as a small operation serving burgers and tacos in2015 at a bar in Pearl River— followed by 4½ years in a small space in West Nyack — is now a thriving sun-filled 38-seat restaurant serving a fusion of Asian flavors inspired by the travels (and background) of owner and chef Waree Dinsay. .
Dinsay, a mother of three and former accountant, refurbished a former Chase Bank building down the street from her former spot in West Nyack and moved her operation there in September 2021.
Her dining room reflects her experiences and passions, including a large mural depicting the places in the world that have influenced her in life. They include Paris (where she was trained in French cooking), Toronto (where she went to school for accounting), Bangkok (where she went to culinary school), Mount Mayon in The Philippines (the birthplace of her husband), Indonesia (the homeland of her grandfather), along with other family who hail from Kuala Lumpur and Thailand. Try the curry chicken empanadas, the ahi tuna salad, the ginger and bean seabass or cauliflower wings with Thai basil sauce. Treat Mom: 719 W. Nyack Road, 845-535-3580, rocklandgrub.com
It’s modest. It’s casual. And it’s the second home for Cheryl Baun who owns this five-year-old Filipino spot with her chef husband Paolo Garcia Mendoza. In fact, you’ll often see the couple’s two kids there, too, especially their eight-old who sometimes schedules playdates in a discreet corner of the dining room. “It’s a great way for the kids to play and for the parents get to enjoy dinner,” Baun said.
The restaurant, which made Esquire’s 20 best new restaurants in America list in 2018, is not only known for its family-friendly vibe but for its reasonably priced and thoughtfully prepared food such as Adobo pork belly (available in a sandwich or bowl), Vegetable Lumpia (fried vegetable spring rolls with spicy vinegar), Chicken Tosino (chicken marinated in pineapple juice and brown sugar) and cassava-jackfruit cake. Treat Mom: 248 Main St., 845-875-7557, karenderyany.com
Adrienne Cromartie-Wolf, executive chef and founder of My Father’s House Southern Cuisine, credits her late father, Franklin Delano Cromartie, who owned a catering company, for instilling the love of cooking and the spirit of entrepreneurship in his daughter. Open since March 2021, the restaurant is serves Southern food and Southern hospitality built on the philosophy that everyone who walks through their doors instantly becomes family. Cromartie-Wolf pays homage to the history of the many African-Americans who contributed to Rockland and the Nyack community including Cynthia Hesdra who was born as a slave but ended up owning businesses in Nyack, and the late author Toni Morrison, who had roots in Rockland. Morrison was known for her carrot cakes and My Father’s House offers a carrot cake in her honor. Also popular: Chicken and ribs, pecan-crusted salmon, smothered pork chops and Oh Diane’s fried chicken and waffles. Treat Mom: 12 N. Broadway, 845-875-7345, mfhsc.com
Zoraida Conde always wanted to open a restaurant that honored her Dominican heritage while also celebrating that of her husband, Sergio and his Cuban/Puerto Rican background. The result, opened last November, is a very lively Punta Cana, a 70-seat eatery with a fusion of flavors on the menu including shrimp ceviche, a Cubano sandwich, ropa vieja (slow cooked beef marinated with Caribbean flavors served with pigeon pea rice), all kinds of mofongo and paella. There are also plenty of festive drinks such as mojitos, sangria, rum punch and a Mexican Mule, and occasional live music and karaoke. Treat Mom: 125 Main St., 845-480-5416, puntacanalatinfusion.com
As a mom of four Tara Nash knows how to feed fickle (and hungry) people. And so, after running The Bakery and More since November 2020 out of her home, she finally took the plunge to pursue her dream and open her own restaurant and bar. The Unknown, open since February, features scratch-made food — there’s no freezer or a microwave — spanning from empanadas to salads, wings to burgers. Treat Mom: 8 N. William St., 845-920-1930, facebook.com/TheBakeryandMore/
Rosemarie Durandisse — whom everyone calls Titi — rules the roost at Titi’s where she’s happiest cooking dishes from her native Haiti. The 70-seat spot offers popular dishes such as Bouyon soup (Haitian beef stew), soup joumou (pumpkin squash soup with meat), stewed goat, tilapia, red snapper, legume (stewed eggplant, Cayote squash and more veggies with meat) and Griot (fried pork). There’s also an array of colorful tropical cocktails to get you in an island state of mind. Treat Mom: 37 Route 59, 845-643-8222
Anna Maria Santorelli has more than 30 years in the hospitality business, 13 of which were spent as the owner and chef of Anna Maria’s Restaurant in Larchmont, and prior to that, as a cook for former New York City mayors David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani. In January 2020, she started a new venture with the Italian motto: “Una cena senza vino è come un giorno senza sole,” which means “a supper without wine is like a day without the sun.” Her cheery, 40-seat wine bar, with 20 wines, features pizza, salads, Italian antipasti, devilled eggs and arancini, among other dishes. It also has all female bartenders. Treat Mom: 53 Purchase St., 914-305-6780, amwinebar.com
Alissa Svorka believes strongly in farm to fork dining and celebrating (and helping to sustain) “the little guys,” local and domestic purveyors, farmers and makers. That means her restaurant, which she owns with business partner Richard Perez, features ingredients hand-picked and hand-made by people who labor for love, just as she and Perez do. On the menu: Duck poutine, cornmeal-battered cod, shrimp and grits, Koji-style short ribs and marinated Lacinato kale. Treat Mom: 147 Larchmont Ave., 914-292-5320, heritage147.com
If you live in the area — or even if you don’t — most people seem to know Julia McCue. The effervescent owner, a community booster who goes big for Halloween. Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day, started working at the restaurant as a hostess while still in college. In fact she practically grew up there as the restaurant was owned by her uncle and later by her mother. Her aunts worked there and her father played Santa during the holidays. In 2018, she bought it, shepherding it through great growth before the pandemic hit in 2020. Even then, she was resourceful, starting a meal initiative entitled “A Moveable Feast” as a way to keep the restaurant functioning and her staff employed while also providing meals to healthcare workers, first responders, COVID-19 patients, and those facing financial difficulties due to lack of work. The restaurant is not only a crowd-pleaser, with everything from grilled cheese to pasta to seafood and burgers, it’s a much beloved gathering spot. Treat Mom: 94 N. Broadway, 914-631-6606, horsefeathersny.com
Bonnie Saran, the face (and owner/chef) of “The Little” empire has become an icon for hospitality with the free Thanksgiving dinner she’s offered for the past 10 years at her Little Drunken Chef location. The freebie started in Mount Kisco, but has since shifted to White Plains where she’s been vocal about how lonely she felt when she first moved from India to the U.S. Her life experience and world travels are what inspired her to bring the kind of street food she’d find in Mumbai and Tel Aviv to Westchester, all set amidst an edgy, eclectic vibe. Her restaurants include Little Kebab Station, Little Spice Bazaar and Little Crêpe Street in Mount Kisco, Little Mumbai Market in Pleasantville and her two Little Drunken Chefs. Treat Mom: 91 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, 914-615-9300 or 36 Main St., Mount Kisco, 914-242-8800, facebook.com/littledrunkenchef
It’s always been about family at Mariachi Mexico where sisters Meto Herrera, Joana Herrera, Sheena Garcia and their brother Pedro Herrera are continuing the traditions of their grandparents and parents Juan and Alejandra Herrera, the latter of whom started the restaurant in 1990 (the siblings took over in 2013).
Remaining true to their roots, said chef Joana Herrera, is what’s kept them in business 32 years and counting. That, and sticking to seasonal, locally sourced food, and lessons handed down from their grandparents who foraged for food in rural Mexico.
Today, Herrera can often be found at the Hastings or Union Square farmers markets to incorporate what she finds into that day’s menu. She also has her parents, who divide their time between New York and their hometown of Tlaxcuapan in Puebla Mexico, to bring back salt from the family mines, dry chiles, cinnamon, clove, and chocolate, all of which get incorporated into different dishes. The intimate restaurant is also lively thanks to the recent births of Lukas and Grayson, Meto Herera’s and Garcia’s sons, who, when they visit, bring an energy of family, food, and good times. Treat Mom: 405 Main St., 914-273-6805, mariachimexico.biz
This Mexican restaurant has always been a family affair. The eatery dates to 1983 when husband and wife chefs Gloria and Edward Globokar opened their first location in Manhattan. For the past 12 years, they’ve been in Port Chester where the restaurant is now run by Gloria and daughter Eileen. These two are a powerful force as the restaurant was hit hard, first with Port Chester’s pandemic orange zone restrictions (which for many weeks meant the closing of indoor dining), and then, with damage from Hurricane Ida. Shuttered for roughly eight months, the two had to rebuild the restaurant literally from the ground up. Now it’s back — it’s been open since April 6 — and ready to welcome guests with killer fajitas, frozen margaritas and live music. Treat Mom: 23 1/2 N. Main St., 914- 939-8700, maryannspc.com
Julie Mountain and Dana Noorily opened their first location in Westport, Conn. in 2013 built around their love for healthy eating and to sell their own granola. What started as an idea for a small cafe soon morphed into something much larger. And now the two, who count nine children among them, own locations not only in Westport (their original spot), but also in Greenwich, Fairfield, Stamford and Rye, the latter of which recently underwent a complete overhaul and rebrand. Open since 2017, it’s now more of a restaurant than a cafe with a bar, cocktails and new shareable plates like pull-apart sliders, black and white latkes with caviar, tuna tartar tostada and a smash burger made with Pat LaFrieda beef. Treat Mom: 96 Purchase St., 914-709-4229, thegranolabarct.com
When Lisa Oscacio opened The Tasty Table in December 2019 she wanted to preserve its past while also paying homage to the present. And so the mom of one fashioned her place, which most recently had been the Wobble Cafe, after its original owner: Frank Pavelka and his Campwoods Sweet Shop, which has been a part of Ossining’s history for over 60 years. To that end she’s created a homey environment serving a variety of comfort food with an eye towards what appeals to today’s shifting diets. Evident upon arrival: The sign that says “Welcome to Our Table.” She also owns The Tasty Table 2, an offshoot of the restaurant that features a lot of grab and go at the Solaris Sports Club in Yorktown Heights. The eatery opened in November. Treat Mom: 21 Campwoods Road, 914-762-4000 or The Tasty Table 2: 201 Veterans Road, 914-962-4094, thetastytableny.com
Chef and owner Nancy Roper, who grew up in New Mexico, has brought her love for the Southwest to this corner of northern Westchester where diners rave about her flavorful tacos, enchiladas and signature salads made with grass-fed beef, sustainably raised pork and vegetables plucked from local farms. The family-friendly eatery is also known for its “Power Wagon,” a house margarita made with 100% agave tequila, fresh-squeezed lime and all-natural triple sec. Treat Mom: 391 Old Post Road, 914-234-8900, truckrestaurant.com
Waccabuc resident Stephanie Small likes wine. She also knows cozy wine bars are where women (and men) like to meet. So, thanks to prior experience as a co-owner at two wine and spirit shops, as well as a former life in event planning for local non-profits, the mom of four opened Unwind Kitchen & Bar, along with business partner Brian Moss , in June 2018 (she’s also a partner at Uncorked Wines & Spirits next door). The 60-seat industrial-chic wine bar and kitchen features 16 wines by the glass, four beers on tap, and a variety of small plates along with salads and larger entrees. The intimate eatery, which was temporarily closed during the week due to the loss of their chef, now has a new chef and new hours as well as new menu items. The restaurant is also known for its popular all you can eat and drink brunch on weekends. Treat Mom: 80 US-6 Suite 203, 914-519-6190, unwinednewyork.com
Mom of three Marjorie Tarter (along with partner Brendan McAlpine) has transformed this historic inn (with a fine dining restaurant and casual tavern) into a stunning property that honors and celebrates its past. Case in point: The commitment to honor the women behind the 260-year-old property’s history including Emily Warren Roebling, the chief engineer and construction supervisor of the landmark Brooklyn Bridge who spent time in the house (and who’s said to haunt the property) and Lena Richard, an African American chef, cookbook author and pioneer who brought New Orleans style cooking to New York. Her strawberry shortcake, called Lena’s Biscuits, are on the menu using a recipe from her 1940’s-era cookbook. Five rooms will open in the spring (with soaking tubs!); another way to spoil mom (or yourself!). Treat Mom: 1123 Old Albany Post Road, 845-424-2333, thebirdandbottleinn.com