There's nothing quite like supporting a local restaurant, especially when its run by a bad*ss female entrepreneur. While there's quite a few women-owned and operated establishments in Northern New Jersey and surrounding areas, it’s still far from an equal playing field -- which is why it’s especially inspiring to see female chefs, restaurateurs and entire teams making a name for themselves in the South Orange food scene.

This International Women's Day, celebrate by visiting any one of these female-fronted restaurants in South Orange. And while you should absolutely visit or order from these spots to support these #GirlBosses, you should also do it just because you’ll get a really, really great meal. 

1. The Order

50 W. South Orange Ave., South Orange NJ, 07079

Co‑owned by Samantha Pinto alongside her brother, Sheldon, The Order is a family affair (her mom, Wilma, works at the restaurant and her dad, Ron, helped develop the diverse menu).

The Order's brunch menu, which features a variety of traditional dishes and craft coffee drinks, “is fresh, and our Indian dishes are even different than other Indian places,” Pinto told Spoon SHU.

2. Bunny's Sports Bar

12-14 W. South Orange Ave. South Orange NJ 07079

Nicknamed “the ‘Cheers’ of South Orange” by BaristaNet, you can bet that “everybody knows your name” at Bunny’s Sports Bar— especially owner @Bunny_Leslie Pogany.

You can often find Pogany perched on her usual seat at the corner of the bar, welcoming customers as her team serves up housemade pizza, classic pub appetizers, and on‑tap beer during Seton Hall basketball games.

3. Jackie & Son

134 W. South Orange Ave. South Orange NJ 07079

From working at her parents' deli as a little girl, to managing her family’s restaurants as a college student, and every life moment in between, Jackie fulfilled her dream when she opened Jackie & Son.

Jackie’s boasts a menu of extraordinary cuisines inspired by her Israeli‑Arab roots, and her restaurant is the perfect spot for all occasions — quick takeout, leisurely brunch, or cozying up with a cup of coffee.

4. Elitist Coffee

132 W. South Orange Ave. South Orange NJ 07079

Talk about a dynamic duo! Owned by mother and daughter Sharon & Shauna Arnette, this cozy little coffee shop on SO Avenue serves house-made drinks with premium coffee beans and a variety of breakfast and lunch options.

In addition to their gourmet coffees, Elitist also offers a variety of more substantial vegan snacks, meals, and pastries.

5. Grid Iron Waffle Shop

12 W. South Orange Ave, South Orange, NJ 07079

Owned by Briana, Grid Iron Waffle Shop is proof that “some hard work, a ton of tears, and a whole lot of faith and positivity” are all you need to make a dream a reality.

The Grid serves authentic Belgian sugar and Brussels waffles, in addition to sweet and savory brunches that pair great with their gourmet coffee drinks.

#SpoonTip Seton Hall students get 15% off at the Grid with their SHU ID!

6. Papillon 25 Restaurant & Martini Bar

25 Valley Street, South Orange, NJ 07079

Girls just want to have fun, and there’s no shortage at Papillon 25. Owner Yanick Ranieri is originally from Haiti, and strives to share her passion and love for food along with her culture.

Papillon 25 is a sophisticated restaurant and martini bar (which boasts more than 50 varieties) with a menu that will take you around the world — no passport required. 

7. Walia Ethiopian Restaurant

11 Village Plaza, South Orange, NJ 07079

At Walia Ethiopian Restaurant, owner Shewaye Yassin shares her culture with the South Orange community by introducing and serving authentic East African food.

“When people dine at Walia, I want them to feel like they are part of the family and at home," Yassin said

8. Ariyoshi Japanese Restaurant

56 W. South Orange Avenue, South Orange NJ 07079

Nicknamed “April’s restaurant” after April Lium, partner and manager of the restaurant, Ariyoshi sushi bar and restaurant entices diners with Japanese specialties.

Located just steps away from South Orange Performing Arts Center, Ariyoshi is known for its fresh food, delicious teriyaki, and of course, their giant fish tank.

Want to discover more restaurants in South Orange? Check out this round-up of Black-owned eateries, or this guide to restaurants that offer discounts for Seton Hall students and faculty.