Women We Love 2022: Stephanie Tyson & Vivian Joiner

Vivian Joiner & Stephanie Tyson

by J.R. Reed

“Getting to feed people is a privilege and JOY,” Vivian Joiner (r) enthuses. In 2003, Joiner and partner Stephanie Tyson (l) opened their restaurant Sweet Potatoes (well shut my mouth!!) in Tyson’s native Winston-Salem, N.C. Nineteen years later, Sweet Potatoes (well shut my mouth!!) has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Southern Living, and its sister restaurant, Miss Ora’s Kitchen (a tribute to Tyson’s grandmother), boasts cast-iron fried chicken among its offerings. Growing up, Tyson learned the power of food firsthand, but wasn’t always eager to make her own. “I actually never had any desire to cook,” the former actor confesses. “When Vivian and I met, everything I cooked I burned.” These days, Tyson, now a chef, restaurateur, and two-time cookbook author, strives to reach all five senses through her dishes. She and partner Joiner, who has over three decades of customer relations experience in the food and retail industries, also give back to the community. Sweet Potatoes (well shut my mouth!!) supports organizations like Make a Wish Foundation, Hope de Jour, and Second Harvest Food Bank, and Joiner has served as Chairman of the Citizens Police Review Board and as a member of the Mayor’s Board to Eliminate Homelessness. However, the duo doesn’t underestimate personal kindness. “More than a few folk have come to our ‘home’ grieving, sad, or lost but found a place and a plate of comfort,” Joiner tells GO. “I say that not to brag but because we are grateful to be shelter from some small part of life’s storm.” –LE

What Do You Think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *