85 Ferris Street
The 1970s saw a flourishing of women-owned feminist and/or lesbian businesses, including bookstores, cafes, and publishing companies. Among the many ventures was Bloodroot, a “feminist restaurant/bookstore with a seasonal vegetarian menu,” which is, remarkably, still in operation after more than 30 years. The name derived from an Eastern wildflower. “We found something symbolic in its slow spreading rhizomatous root system and the way each piece of root throws up its own grey-green leaf furled protectively around the eight-petaled white flower,” say owners Selma Miriam, 74, and Noel Furie, 64.
At its waterfront site, Bloodroot consists of a large room furnished with mismatched tables and chairs, and one wall covered in herstoric photos of women (see photo). “People gave us pictures [for] the wall,” Miriam told The Connecticut Post; one person gave her a photo and said, “This is my sister. I want her here.”
Off the restaurant is a small bookstore crammed with books by women, where authors occasionally come to read. There is also an outdoor patio facing scenic Long Island Sound. Meals are strictly self-service – from ordering to picking up food to bussing tables. The veggie menu – printed daily on a chalkboard – includes ethnic soups and salads, crusty breads, and rich desserts.
Bloodroot also published four cookbooks in its “Political Palate” series, which included not only recipes but the most appropriate seasons in which to make the various dishes. Although the older cookbooks are now out of print, two Best of Bloodroot volumes are available.