Originally from South Carolina, Sylvia Woods moved to Harlem in 1944 and got a job working as a waitress at Johnson's Luncheonette. Eighteen years later, Johnson offered to sell the restaurant to Sylvia. With a loan from her mother, she opened Sylvia's Restaurant in 1962. Sylvia passed away in 2012, entrusting her family with her tradition of persistent hospitality and love cooked into every bite. Today, Sylvia's children and grandchildren run the restaurant.
Gospel brunch Sundays, Live Music Wednesdays, and Daily Specials scream home-style cooking, within an at-home environment. Come visit for yourself, and experience why Presidents, celebrities, and Harlemites alike call Sylvia’s home.
To commemorate her family’s legacy as such, upon the passing of her husband, Herbert Woods in 2001 – The Sylvia and Herbert Woods Scholarship Foundation (SHWSF) was created. To date, SHWSF has joyfully awarded $475,000 in college scholarships to students from Harlem and surrounding communities. In addition to financial support, the Woods Family, Committee of Angels and the Executive Director offer emotional and overall mentoring support to the students for the duration of their college life and beyond.