NewsCovering Kentucky


Local restauranteur seeks to elevate women in industry

Posted at 4:26 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 18:20:48-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Central Kentucky restaurateur was featured on the 2021 power list by National Restaurant's News. She's speaking out about the importance of elevating women in the food service industry.

The mastermind behind staple restaurants like Windy Corner Market, Holly Hill Inn, and Honeywood is Ouita Michel. The restauranteur is using her platform to elevate women in the food and service industry even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"So if you're thinking about getting into the business and you open now, you're going to be at a 25-50% capacity and that kind of is a nice pace to open a new restaurant," Michel said.

Michel says the Lexington community and surrounding area has always been very supportive of female owned restaurants. Her goal is to continue to mold a community of women business owners.

"Like hey, what do you think about this to-go box? Or, we talk about all kinds of things. What about this delivery app, what about this banking thing, what do you do about online ordering," Michel added.

Although Zim's Cafe is just one of a few successful restaurants in Lexington owned by Ouita Michel, she says it wasn't always easy.

"I've had nights where I can't sleep. I'm up with anxiety, every single person in business has gone through that. If they aren't honest about it, it's a charade, you're not alone. Just to give that message that it's normal to feel this way, it's normal to have ups and downs. The key is persistence, and you can't persist sometimes without support," Michel said.