The Women Making American Delis More Feminist

It's no secret that the food and beverage industry is dominated by men — especially when it comes to the production of steak and beer.

The same can be said about delis, which have been in operation for centuries, yet have been traditionally run by men. According to Tony's Delicatessen, most American delis have immigrant roots, dating back to the 1850s in major cities. However, as Thrillist points out, most of these delis are named after the fathers and sons who've established them, and not the mothers and daughters who also put in their hard sweat and tears to run the business.

Women-owned restaurants are far and few in between — Mpls.St.Paul Magazine points out that only 33% of restaurants are owned by women, and even fewer are chefs and head chefs. However, women across the country are making big strides in diversifying the business and empowering other women to learn more about meat. Here are their stories.

It's all about education and innovation

Cara Nicoletti, the owner of Seemore Meats & Veggies, has had family involved in the Boston meat industry for years. She founded her business with the goal of making meat more accessible, while also providing veggie options. "I've always loved being able to serve my female customers, who were probably a little hesitant to come up to the meat counter," she told Thrillist. "I wanted to make it a safer place for them to come to and ask questions."

Educating women on buying meat is also a goal harbored by Martinique Grigg and Clara Veniard, who own Salumi deli in Seattle. The entrepreneurs note that the meat industry is definitely more male-dominant, which results in the standard packaging and flavor across delis. Using their own personality flair, they've added unique products to their store that people would've never seen in a traditional deli, such as a salami that has notes of cocoa and cinnamon.

Work by women such as Nicoletti, Grigg, and Veniard show that women are welcomed in the deli space, and their presence will only continue to grow over time.