Introducing Jill Weber, Owner of Sojourn Philly Restaurant Group

About Jill


Jill Weber: an archaeologist, traveler, and wine lover. She was born and raised in Michigan City, Indiana, a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was there – with cooling towers and steel mills perched near stunning sand beaches – that she learned her love of contrast: finding great pleasure in the juxtapositions of old and new, natural and man-made, “pretty” and “ugly”.


Growing up, she was naturally drawn to dinosaurs, Native American history, and the mythology of Greece and Rome. These interests, coupled with a yearning for travel, were linked through archaeology. Jill received her BA in anthropology from Northwestern University in 1992—the same year she took her first trip overseas for a dig in southeastern Turkey. That trip introduced her to a new world that she will never forget: sheep being led through narrow streets, plastered mud-brick houses with the prettiest colors of green and blue, haunting calls-to-prayer by the invisible muezzin, and exotic, aromatic spices. She came to Philadelphia to study at the University of Pennsylvania and started working on digs in Syria, which proved equally exotic and alluring as was Turkey. Most archaeologists have a materials specialty, and hers is the analysis of ancient animal-bones. That means she gets to satisfy her enjoyment of puzzles, and the macabre.


By the time Jill got her Ph.D. from Penn in 2006, she was thoroughly enamored with the ancient Near East and the modern Middle East in all its sensual glory.


Travels in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America further kindled her nearly-insatiable desire to experience new cultures and tastes. Some of her favorite travel moments occurred in unexpected cafes with unexpectedly good wines in Turkey, Syria, and Norway, in an ad-hoc “happy hour” while on safari in South Africa, and in socializing with near-strangers while eating raw octopus on a beach in Fukuoka, Japan. Regardless of the country or culture, food, and drink—notably wine – always seem to be at the center of Jill’s adventures.

Jill approaches wine the same way she approaches travel; she is always seeking out the obscure and exploring something new. She is always looking for great wine from countries not known for their wine production, or for wine made from grapes that are uncommon—especially those with ancient origins or lore. Closer to home, Jill enjoys wines local to the Philadelphia countryside, and—since all the States produce wine—she is seeking great wine from all the States! Those positive experiences led her to open Jet Wine Bar—and, later, Rex 1516, Cafe Ynez, Sor Ynez, and Rex at the Royal — in her adopted hometown of Philadelphia. Now, even while in Philly Jill can satisfy her love of food, drink, and new experiences.