Women are making history year-round on California's central coast, making Women's HERstory Month another wonderful opportunity to celebrate the trailblazing, history making, inspiring women chasing dreams and making moves in Monterey County. Use the jump-list below to explore all of the ways you can eat, shop and experience local businesses powered by women.

Women-Owned Restaurants

The Haute Enchilada boasts an eclectic menu of sustainable seafood and local organic produce, a premium wine list, craft beers on tap, a full bar and an art gallery with over 70 artists’ original work.

Hula’s Island Grill is a throwback to the popular tiki restaurants and bars of the ‘50s & 60s. The original location in Monterey opened in 1998, with a Santa Cruz location following in 2006. Hula’s mission is to provide a community gathering spot for locals and diners.

Lady and Larder is family-owned and operated by twin sisters, Sarah and Boo. They are commitment to 100% domestic and sustainable food practices specializing in signature Charcuterie boards and cheese cakes! 

  • LE SOUFFLE Lisa Foreman, Co-Owner (Carmel-by-the-Sea)

Le Souffle is the product of a young Lisa’s dream to open a French restaurant. Le Soufflé gives people the chance to enjoy the true art of a French soufflé in a romantic and inviting atmosphere. It is a little piece of Paris in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

An eclectic restaurant in Pacific Grove with classic comfort food like hot dogs, tater tots, and ice cream in an environment inspired by surfing, skating, and roller derby. 

Michelle's Soul Food Kitchen continues the legacy of Southern Style Family Recipes from her parents Pauline and Reuben Simpson. The term “soul food” didn’t become common until the 1960s. With the rise of the civil rights and black nationalist movements during the 1960s, many African-Americans sought to re-claim their part of the American cultural legacy. As terms like “soul brother,” “soul sister” and “soul music” were taking hold, it was only natural that the term “soul food” would be used to describe the recipes that African-Americans had been cooking for generations.

The daughter-father duo, Sarah and Peter Orr, brought the vision of the newly-opened Stokes Adobe to life. Their goal is to bring seasonal California cuisine with a focus on craft cocktails, and as Sarah puts it, "first-class casual."

Villa Azteca is Chef Susana's vision of traditional Mexican food with a twist come to life. Family-owned and operated, Villa Azteca values warm hospitality and locally sourced ingredients, elements that make dining at Villa feel like home. 

  • WILD FISH Liz Jacobs, Co-Owner (Pacific Grove)

Just a few blocks from the Monterey Bay, this warm and inviting restaurant offers the freshest sustainably harvested seafood. As the seasons change, the menu evolves to highlight the local finds the chef discovers at local seafood and farmers' markets. Liz's ethos of close partnership with local fishermen and farmers, along with a sense of promoting equality in the community are what sets Wild Fish apart. 


Based out of Seaside, Goi has extensive experience teaching the Thai language and culture. Besides her current role of leading Thai cuisine cooking classes, she is also Assistant Professor of the Thai language at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.

Lover of great food, wine, and culture, Casey found home in Monterey and sought to share the experience of the culinary scene with those traveling to Monterey from far and wide. 

Heather’s vision of offering the chance to drive a classic car down the coast came to fruition after seeing how much her own out-of-town guests enjoyed taking their ’69 Mercury Cougar to Big Sur or their ’78 VW Superbeetle to lunch in Carmel. Thus, the collecting of vintage cars began.

  • LADY SOMM Roxanne Langer, Owner and Sommelier (Carmel-by-the-Sea)

Lady Somm is an umbrella company that includes wine programs and consultancy for direct-to-consumer wineries. A two-time graduate of the University of the Pacific wrote her Master’s Thesis on Wine. She attended the University of California at Davis Community Education Program in Viticulture and Enology and has studied in the UK, obtaining the Higher Certificate from the prestigious Wine & Spirit Trust of the United Kingdom. Roxanne also is a level-two sommelier.

Staci’s Interior Design background focused on creating a specific experience for the user, and culinary tourism was a natural extension of that skill. With a deep-seated passion for food, wine and exploring her surroundings, Carmel Food Tours was a natural place to land.

Gael Gallagher has been sharing her passion and knowledge of the Monterey Bay area since 1984. She’s been a docent since 1989 at the Point Lobos State Reserve and guide/mentor/narrator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Gael has also served as a docent at the National Steinbeck Center.

Based in Old Town Salinas, Amber's art studio, Girlfish, offers art classes that builds a sense of community among participants. 

Jessica helped keep many isolated, sheltered-in-place locals working their artistic muscle during the height of the pandemic through her Progress Not Perfection paint parties held over Zoom and social media. These art classes have now found her teaching her craft at the recently opened, Locally Lit painting studio. 

Wendi Kirby Music offers unique venue space perfect for meetings or events. In addition to the venue space, Wendi Kirby offers music programs, retreats, concerts and events! 

Sweet Treats, Teas & Coffee

Family-owned and operated, this bakery focuses exclusively on homemade dog treats. Natalie, then only 6 years old, came up with the idea of making homemade dog treats inspired by her newly-adopted pup, Brad. With the help of her parents, Virginia and Robert, Brad's Barkery became a Carmel success.

Tyler Ellis and Kelsea Richmond went from working at the original version of Captain + Stoker to purchasing the coffee shop to save it from closure. After their revamp, Tyler and Kelsea felt a sense of community forming around the shop and thought it crucial to continue that community in Monterey. Now, they are ready to open a second shop in Pacific Grove and a roasting facility in Sand City.

  • EDDISON & MELROSE Karen Anne Murray, Owner and Chef (Pacific Grove)

Karen made her start as a chef in England, where she was born and raised. Celebrating the teatime tradition of England, she began Eddison & Melrose (named after her father and mother) in Pacific Grove—specializing in tea blends and treats like scones, tea sandwiches, and macarons. 

In the heart of Old Town Salinas, you can find Terri's shop with a wide selection of freshly packaged loose leaf teas, fresh spices, olive oils, Balsamic vinegar, and other custom blends. 

Luz has over 20 years of experience making masterful cakes, so it was only natural for Luz and her family to open Main Street Bakery in Salinas. Strong work ethic and dedication to continue giving the best possible service and food is Luz's main goal. 

Revival Ice Cream offers seasonal, small batch organic ice cream with inventive flavors like the popular Bee's Knees. Adriana was committed to serve honest, organic treats anyone could feel great about eating, meanwhile supporting sustainable living.

Local talented baker who makes specialty cakes and also sells baked goods at the Monterey Farmers Market and other local pop-ups.

Elena established Sweet Elena's in 1992 after working at Ventana Big Sur as a pastry chef for 14 years. Mentored by Pastry Art greats and a family background of food and wine dating back to her life in North Africa and France, food was always an essential aspect of life. Sweet Elena's is an artisan bakery, where everything is made from scratch, reminiscent of home country cooking, using fresh and local ingredients.

Lesley and Chris are two English expats who wanted to bring a little bit of Britain to Salinas. As a little girl, Lesley remembers her grandmother, May Oxborough baking her Ham & Egg pies with leftover ham from Christmas, and they became a once a year treat for the family. TGBBS's traditional pies use that very recipe and other favorites too.

Wineries & Breweries

Brew-N-Krew is a standout latinx-owned craft beer house in Downtown Salinas with a vibrant interior, complete with disco balls and of course, great unique beer.

Flywheel Wines specialize in handcrafting small-lot wines from fruit grown in the Chalone Region of Monterey County. Their vineyard sources are nestled around the Pinnacles – a majestic landscape of chaparral and limestone that are showcased through a range of varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. Through the characteristic fruit and minerality of this iconic wine region, Flywheel aims to bring the splendor of Monterey County to your glass. 

  • KORI WINES Kori Violini, Co-Owner (Carmel-by-the-Sea)

KORi Wines is the partnership between Santa Lucia Highlands grape/citrus grower Kirk Williams & his step-daughter Kori Violini.  Kirk planted the first vines in 1998, in 2007 they launched the initial KORi Wines Pinot Noir from the KW Ranch Vineyard and Sabrine Rodems has been winemaker since 2010.  In 2018, with much enthusiasm, they began the endeavor to open a tasting room in Carmel-by-the-Sea and offer a full assortment of wines including Sauvingon Blanc, Syrah, rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon, sparkling blanc de blancs and of course, Pinot Noir.

Sabrine graduated with a Master’s of Science in Viticulture in and Enology from UC Davis in 2004. She has spent her career working at various wineries and in 2011 began her own small label, Scratch. Scratch has a tasting room in Carmel Valley, but you can also taste her wine at Wrath Wines in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where she is the winemaker. 


Elroy's Fine Foods is a small fine foods grocer in Monterey that opened in August 2020. Chloe and Jay also ran Carmel Belle in Carmel-by-the-Sea for 10 years before pursuing Elroy's. Their experience in the restaurant business and advertising inspired them to open "The Uncommon Market," whose focus is on fine groceries, health-conscious prepared food, and community.

In 2009, co-owners and husband and wife team Azniv and Tigran Amirkhanian purchased Nielsen Bros. Market & Deli from the original owners. Since then, the team has turned around the business, kept the original name, won accolades, and is going strong. Nielsen's, established in 1930, has been a Carmel staple for decades.

Parsley+Fig makes small-batch vinaigrettes in Monterey. Products are made with simple and fresh local ingredients and sold at local farmers markets and grocers. 

Troia's Market has had a long history in Monterey. Dating back to the Troia family's immigration to Monterey from Siciliy in the 1940s. Since then, Troia's has grown from the local grocer to Troia Foods—the local dairy and fine food distributor covering the Monterey and Santa Cruz counties to the Bay Area. Pamela's background in sales and logistics rounded out John Troia's local roots and traditional family legacy.


James Bryant & Mary Hill of Carpe Diem Fine Books have been booksellers since 1995, and are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. Located in a charming 1930's Carmel-stone building in historic downtown Monterey, Carpe Diem Fine Books offers a discriminating selection of out-of-print, and out of the ordinary books in all fields - with a special emphasis on the history and literature of California and the West. More than a bookshop, they also feature art and collectibles of the Monterey area.

Owner, Greta Grimm is a US Air Force veteran and single mom. Everhart Candle Co., named after her eldest son, offers quality hand-poured soy candles. All candles are 100% soy wax, phthalate-free fragrance oil, and cotton wicks. 

Valley Botanicals focuses on natural skincare + medicine within the community. All products are handcrafted and do not contain any chemicals, parabens or toxic preservatives. The ingredients, such as beeswax and honey are locally sourced from local hives on the Central Coast.  All products are made in small batches; most plants used are grown, harvested + infused by Emmaline. 

Health & Wellness

Formed in 2015, Carmel Berry is a 100% woman-owned business with a farmer focus. Their mission is to create delicious fresh-pressed elderberry products that support their values: promoting health, supporting the local community and farmers, and living sustainably.

Masha Cavazos founded this business in July 2018 and it focuses on providing boxing and fitness training for all levels and populations: youth, adults, active Agers, kids with ASD. This is an authentic boxing training with non-contact training module. Boxing Strong offered classes in various public/private schools as well as Castroville and previously in Carmel.

Monterey Bay Moves is woman-owned and operated with a commitment to building a positive, healthy, and strong community. Sustainability-focused. 

Om Studios is a locally-owned yoga and fitness studio offering all-levels of classes that range from warm and sweaty to slow-down and chill-out. Lindsay believes that life is meant to be enjoyed.

Katie and Marianne met through mutual friends and began the idea for the meditation studio a few months later. The meditation studio opened in January 2016 in Pacific Grove and has been going strong ever since.


If you know of any other women-owned businesses in Monterey County that should be on the list, please share their details with us via info@seemonterey.com.