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.
Sylvia opened the first farmhouse salon in her hometown of Hemingway, South Carolina. Sylvia, born and raised on her mother's South Carolina farm had dreams at a very young age of marrying her childhood sweet heart Herbert, (whom she meet when she was eleven and he was twelve, while picking beans after school), and of one day trading in the cotton fields for the bright lights of New York City
.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.