Meet a Nasty Woman: 5 Questions with Linda Derschang
Meet Linda Derschang. Linda is a Nasty Woman, restaurateur, CEO, womxn’s rights champion and tastemaker. She is the founder and CEO of The Derschang Group; a mix of restaurants, cafes and bars in Seattle, Washington. Her first was Linda’s Tavern, established in 1994, a neighborhood bar that has become a Capitol Hill institution. Twenty-five years later, she's launched eleven successful bars and restaurants, while staying committed to community involvement and causes. Read our interview with Linda here.
What makes you a Nasty Woman?
I've always identified as a feminist. I started calling myself one at sixteen, far before it was cool, because I saw gender inequality as a problem. A lot of people my age give up on calling themselves feminists--they think people get the idea. But, is there still a wage gap? Are women's reproductive choices an indisputable right? No. So I will continue to call myself a feminist, because there is work to do. Having spent my career in a male dominated industry, I’ve seen first hand how important it is to have strong female leaders who hire other strong women, and how vital it is to support female run and operated businesses. That's how change happens.
Share an experience that shaped your views or helped get you involved in activism.
When I was in high school, Roe v. Wade wasn't passed yet. I remember distinctly a day that a girl in the 10th grade had to "go away." As a young girl, that's a bit traumatizing. It sparked in me the realization of the need for reproductive rights for all women, and the inequality of treatment for two equally responsible parties. It became the woman's burden to bear, while that high school boy went right under the radar with no repercussions. That has only been affirmed over time. I now know women who can't have children because of coat hanger abortions. Women who did not want to bear the shame and humiliation that was pushed on to them, or women who could not afford to stop their lives to have a baby. It's a humanitarian crisis. You can imagine that this would make me pro-woman.
What advice do you have for people who want to help enact change and push progress but don’t know how to get involved?
It’s easy to do something in today’s world--march, donate, volunteer. What troubles you? Do something about it. Vote. Not only in the polls but with your dollars and your time. There are endless opportunities for you to speak your piece and stand up for what is right.
If you could look into the future, 10 years from now, and see that real progress has been made, what does that look like to you?
True progress is progress for women. My hope is that Roe v Wade has not been overturned, schools are teaching sex education, and women have widespread and easy access to birth control. Of course, I hope to see the abolishment of the wage gap, true equal pay, women in government, and women in leadership. My hope is for equality.
Share with us a favorite wine moment, memory or pairing.
A recent special wine experience was in Barcelona. I was invited to lunch at a small winery called Rosell Mir outside of the city. We had lunch in the kitchen of their house which was built in 1650. Our host told us that the table we were dining on was older than our country! We tried numerous wines and left with a lovely bottle of Marc Mir Brut Nature. It was a perfect afternoon.
Tell us what else you’re up to.
We recently renovated one of the oldest bars in Seattle located downtown at 1st and Blanchard. It has been called the Queen City Tavern, bar, saloon, and grill for over 100 years. We are going to simply call it Queen City. The intention is to create a favorite neighborhood hangout. The kind of place you stop by for a cocktail and burger with a good book or some friends. Queen City opened just weeks ago and we are so excited.
Check out Queen City and Linda’s other neighborhood spots here.