Sylvia Woods, the "Queen of Soulfood," is the founder and owner of the world famous Sylvia's Restaurant, located in the historical village of Harlem, since 1962. Sylvia, young and determined received her beautician license at night while attending junior High School during the day.
In 1944, Sylvia married Herbert and started her journey towards a brighter future. Harlem called, and Sylvia answered, as she became a waitress at Johnson's luncheonette. In 1962, after several years of dedicated service to her employer, Mr. Johnson recognized Sylvia's entrepreneurial spirit and sold her the luncheonette. Julia Pressley, Sylvia's mother, whom was a farmer and mid-wife, mortgaged her farm to loan her the money for the purchase.
Sylvia's unwavering vision, hard work, and determination was shared by her late husband Herbert Woods, and was instilled in their four children, Van, Bedelia, Kenneth, and Crizette, who together with their children manage this family enterprise. To-date there are three generations of the Woods family working tirelessly, to ensure that their familyÕs business continues to make strides over the next forty-three years.
In keeping with the strong family values and support system that empowered Sylvia, in 2001, The Woods family created the Sylvia and Herbert Woods Scholarship Endowment Foundation. The SHWF disburses 4-year partial scholarships to children of and around the Harlem community. Sylvia's philosophy has always been "each one teach, teach one and remember to love and be kind, and the response you receive in return will be priceless."
Sylvia Woods has been lavished with numerous awards and accolades from her peers, community leaders, politicians, and the business world at large. In recognition of forty years in business, on August 1, 2001 Sylvia rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.