Black-owned business ready to reopen: ‘Food brings people together’

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Restaurants are ready to reopen their doors to customers after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced last week they could reopen their dining rooms to customers starting Monday. ​

Jessica Ann Tyson, owner of The Candied Yam along 44th Street in Grand Rapids is going to take an extra day as many black-owned businesses in the city are and plans on reopening Tuesday. ​

“It really is a great feeling to see and to know that people are going to come through the doors again,” Tyson said. “I get to see all my favorite customers that I haven’t seen in so long. I can’t wait to see them.”​

The Candied Yam is never open Mondays, it’s a day of rest observed by many in the black business community, Tyson explains. It will also give her staff an extra day to get ready. ​

“It’s going to be different for all of us,” Tyson said. “We’re going to hope that our customers offer us grace, offer us a little patience, if you will.”​

Serving up “delightful southern cuisine,” food like black eyed peas, cornbread, sweet potatoes tartlets, fried chicken and collard greens. It’s food that bridges many cultural divides. ​

“I hope that this food, made with my love, does bring people together,” Tyson explains. “I believe that it does.”​

She’s seen the power of good cooking. It brings people together. ​

“I remember one day when we had picnic tables in our restaurant. And it was a beautiful scene. There was a white woman who was probably in her 70s, a black male who was probably in his 20s, and they had a conversation because it was packed,” Tyson said. “I had so much pride in that moment because I could see it in his eyes. I could see it in her eyes that they understood each other on a different level.”​

Tyson hopes more moments like these can be served up in The Candied Yam in the coming weeks, it’s something she says the city needs right now. ​

“I don’t believe all Americans are bad,” Tyson said. “We’re here to love each other and to be a part of each other, understand each other as fabric of the community.”​

For the restaurant’s menu and hours of operation, check out their website. ​

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

COVID-19 in West Michigan

More COVID-19 Support in West MI

COVID-19 in West Michigan

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links

Coronavirus Resources

More Coronavirus Resources