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Read These LGBTQ+ Restaurant Owner Stories

Restaurants around the nation are celebrating Pride this month in everything from their events to special menu items. We tapped our restaurant community to share their stories on how they have found their place in the LGBTQ community, how they honor those in the community during the month, and how that pride and love lasts year round.

Be sure to stop by Papa Rays Pizza & Wings in Chicago, IL — we have it on good authority they’ll be celebrating hard, not to mention ready to fuel you for the parade!

[Being a part of the LGBTQ community] gives me a chance to show the world that we can be leaders and owners of businesses in the Chicago community. I hang my Pride Flag at my restaurant with just that….Pride. While I am still new to being an owner of my own restaurant, I can’t wait to work with my fellow LGBTQ community to give back for all the support they have shown me and the business that I know own over the years. We are a loyal community that supports one another without prejudices. My restaurant is just blocks from the kickoff of the Pride Parade. While I’ll be at the parade representing, celebrating and showing my pride, my restaurant will be offering our “Monster Slices” and a can of pop for just $4 to anyone who comes in with a showing of their Pride. — Matthew Villareal, Owner

San Francisco is pulling out all of the stops to celebrate Pride — and LGBTQ owner of Precita Park Cafe, Rachel, will be taking part.

Food and adventure have always been intertwined for [Precita Park Cafe’s Owner] Rachel. Her father’s profession took her and her family to developing countries, and by age 9, she had explored and tasted the cuisines of India, Pakistan, and Brazil. So while her peers were still playing with their food, she was climbing mango trees in Haiti and harvesting their fruit. After studying filmmaking, Rachel headed to San Francisco to fulfill her artistic interests, but was quickly distracted by its vibrant food scene. In 1997, Rachel and a business partner opened Dolores Park Café, which became an instant success. In 2006, Rachel opened Duboce Park Café, where she furthered her quest to create comfortable neighborhood eateries bordering iconic San Francisco parks. Her latest venture, Precita Park Café, opened in 2011 with her wife, Dana immediately filled a void for this Bernal Heights/Mission District neighborhood. “I believe that giving back is a part of doing business, and as a small business owner, it’s my responsibility to play an active role in supporting the community,” Rachel says. The Park Cafe Group incorporates bringing community together, creating an all inclusive welcoming environment, giving back to our neighborhoods while serving super healthy, fresh fare in our first-rate city.

Check out the pop-up Pride Bar Pit Stop that Georges Greek Grill in Los Angeles, CA is putting on during the parade. LGBTQ Owner Kamyar Ajzachi will be on hand to keep the party going.

Georges Greek Grill was founded on 2 things: a love for traditional Mediterranean food and a passion for feeding it to people. After years of mastering his skills, George decided to follow his passion and open up a restaurant founded on his mom’s recipes. For us at George’s Greek Grill, working in the LGBTQ community is one of the greatest and most exciting elements of our work. Inclusion, embracing diversity, and honoring equality are some of our company’s core values and we are grateful for the amazing opportunity. Our decorations are up, we have specials at the restaurant throughout the month, and we are excited to present our very own pop-up Pride Bar Pit Stop. We have the best staff, clientele, and community around – come share in our PRIDE! — Kamyar Ajzachi, Owner

This month and every month Grace Sepe, owner of Cafe La De Da in Redbank, NJ, ensures her cafe is a safe haven for LGBTQ youth, including her transgender son.

I have a cafe in Middletown/Red Bank NJ area and have a youth LGBTQ night here that I host once a month for the youth in the area. We offer tabletop board games, music, discussion and most importantly, a safe place for LGBTQ youth between the ages of 11-16 to hang out. It means the world to me as my 13 year old son is Transgender! Creating a non-judgmental, healthy environment for them is key! They make new friends in the area and it gives me an opportunity to interact with other moms in the area as well. — Grace Sepe, Owner

Order up some Pride fuel this month from Forkin Good Cafe in Los Angeles, CA. LGBTQ Owner Denia Portillo can speak to the struggles and triumphs of accepting and loving herself to the fullest.

It was a struggle coming out because I come from a traditional Latin family — my mom was more open and understanding and my stepmother and father way more conservative. It was difficult deciding to tell them and also deciding to become a chef. Being apart of the LGBTQ is a honor because at age 46 I am proud and secure with who I am. I have the support of my beautiful 17 year old daughter and everyday I proudly raise her with the strength to be anything she can be. A strong, independent, honest human being. —Denia Portillo, Chef/Owner

Share how you’re celebrating Pride on social with #CelebrateAllFlavors.

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