The Shine sisters. Courtesy photo

Women-Led Restaurants in Boulder

In Food & Drink by Aimee HeckelLeave a Comment

Boulder’s well-known for its foodie scene. And some of the best flavors in town come from women.

Whether they’re leading chefs or restaurant owners, women in Boulder have played a huge role in cooking up Boulder’s tasty reputation.

Take Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place, run by female triplets. Jill, Jessica and Jennifer Emich are known as “The Blissful Sisters.” Their original business was Trilogy Wine and Bar (a nod to their sibling trifecta).

The Shine sisters. Courtesy photo

Or Shamane’s Bake Shoppe, headed up by Shamane Simons, the namesake of the bakery. She was featured in this year’s Boulder International Film Festival’s CineChef cooking competition.

She’s got quite the story of how she ended up running one of Boulder’s most beloved bakeries.

Shamane Simons of Shamane’s Bakery in Boulder. Courtesy photo

Simons started her career as a pastry assistant and apprentice at the high-end Flagstaff House Restaurant in 1990 and worked her way up to becoming named pastry chef at a resort and a B&B in Vermont. While studying, she worked as a pastry chef in Arizona, at the Wrigley Mansion Club, privately owned by musician and music recorder Geordie Hormel. There, she made cakes and treats for big stars, like Nine Inch Nails and Alice Cooper.

Then she moved to France, where she worked a a personal chef for a hot air balloon company. Simons traveled through Europe, making fancy meals for the exclusive flights. Later, she cooked her way through Nepal, Thailand and India.

Simons ended up back in Boulder, as so many people do. In the late ‘90s she brought her pastry skills to The Med and Brasserie Ten Ten; she ran the bakery for both.

In 2004, she opened her own bakery, which continues to go strong more than 15 years later.

Shamane’s Bake Shoppe. Courtesy photo

Simons isn’t the only woman leader in the Boulder bakery scene. Walnut Cafe and Lucky’s Bakehouse are also headed up by women. Other Boulder favorites with a female flair: Walnut Cafe, Walnut and Treat.

Lindsay Shaw owns Lindsay’s Boulder Deli on Pearl Street. As her story goes, her work in restaurants started when she was just a kid, helping her dad scoop ice cream at his shop. But her passion was teaching. She moved to Boulder to go to the University of Colorado to be a teacher, and she landed her dream job in 2002.

“Lindsay’s dream was to help kids, to mentor them so that they could change the world for the better. However, her teaching position was short-lived,” according to the deli’s website. “In 2004, she was fired for being a lesbian.”

She was thrown for a loop, but she ended up buying the Häagen-Dazs on Pearl Street.

“With help from her brother Aaron, and her Bat Mitzvah money, Lindsay’s was born in 2004,” the story goes.

Lindsay’s Deli. Courtesy photo

Other women-led restaurants in the area: Amy McCall heads up Naked Lunch; Coral Frishkorn is the co-owner of Cured; Erika Whitaker is co-owner of Basta; and Catherine Scott is the co-owner of Babette’s Pizza & Pane in Longmont (she runs it with her husband). Babette’s, in the Prospect development, was named one of the top bakeries in America by Thrillist.

Babette’s Pizza & Pane. Courtesy photo

Also in downtown, Oak at Fourteenth has Kate Horton as culinary director, and Sheila Lucero is the executive chef at Jax Fish House.

The executive chef of one of Boulder’s finest restaurants, Frasca, is Kelly Jeun, and the general manager is Rose Votta. The wine director of Frasca is also a woman: Carlin Karr. She’s the wine director for Pizzeria Locale, too.

And you can’t forget Pam Proto, the owner of Proto’s Pizzeria. She decided to open a pizza joint after moving to Boulder from Boston, and she missed the traditional, thin crust, bubbly, charred pizza from back east. She opened Proto’s in 1999. Since then, Proto’s has grown and opened multiple more locations.

Proto’s. Courtesy photo

Other Boulder County restaurants with women leadership: Cheese Importers is owned by Linda White; Flagstaff House’s wine and beverage director is Elizabeth Sammuri; and the owner and chef of Fresh Thymes is Christine Ruch.

Elizabeth Sammuri. Courtesy photo

You can find women making big waves in the beer and distillery scene, too. For example, Rising Sun Distillery is owned, operated and managed by Dawn Richardson.

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