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Former nurse becomes first Black woman to open permanent restaurant in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

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Posted at 10:38 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 13:29:47-05

CLEVELAND, Ohio — If you asked Tiwanna Scott-Williams over four years ago if she imagined that she’d be as successful as she is today, her response would be no.

“I’m still amazed. I have to pause and really absorb what’s really going on because I don’t stop,” said Williams.

Williams worked as a nurse for years, but food has always been in her bloodline, so she started catering as a hobby.

“My grandmother’s name was Pearl, and she instilled that love and passion for cooking,” said Williams. “I just come from a big food family, so I’ve always loved food, and it’s just something that I turned into a business.”

In November 2018, Williams went all in, walking away from nursing and walking into her true passion, focusing on her business — Pearl’s Kitchen.

Williams won a chef's showcase event in 2018, which landed her in a spot at the Cleveland Cavaliers' launch test kitchen, giving chefs and restauranteurs a platform to test their success by temporarily selling their food during games.

“The idea was to be a rotating modular concept that can do different types of fair and really morph as we change menus,” said Adam Zann, general manager of Aramark for Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Pearl’s Kitchen was so popular that Rocket Mortgage offered Williams a permanent brick-and-mortar location in the stadium.

Williams just opened during All-Star Weekend, and arena officials told News 5 that Pearl’s Kitchen is the first permanent Black woman owned restaurant in the arena.

“Sometimes I’m just in awe, it feels really surreal,” said Williams.

“We're just incredibly proud,” said Zann. “Tiwanna has been great to work with, and her brand speaks for itself. Its performance over All-Star weekend makes it a strong brand, we're really happy to have it here.”

“When I do this I know that I’m not just representing myself or the brand,” said Williams. “I’m representing thousands of people, Black people, Black women, and young girls because they may look at this and be inspired.”

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