Culinary Dreams Come True in Winston-Salem

By: TLP's Partners

If you’re talented enough to become a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist—one of the highest awards for top-tier chefs and restaurants—there’s a good chance the rest of the world will find out about it before you do. That’s exactly what happened for three of Winston-Salem’s most beloved chefs: Stephanie Tyson, founder and chef at Sweet Potatoes Restaurant; Peyton Smith, founder and chef at Mission Pizza, and Justin Webster, co-founder and creative force behind Heff’s Burger Club.

Imagine you spend your lifetime working to achieve excellence in your kitchen. Maybe even dreamed of winning the culinary world’s highest award, and then a friend says, “Congratulations.” 

“For what?” Stephanie Tyson asked, only then being clued-in that she’d earned her nomination for Best Chef: Southeast. She says, “They just announce it. Somewhere. And people see it. Except for me. So I’m getting the news from friends.”

Southern soul food from Sweet Potatoes in Winston-Salem

The same thing happened for Mission Pizza’s Peyton Smith, who earned his first his Beard nomination last year. “Friends started blowing up my phone,” he says, “and I had no idea why at first.” He thought maybe he had unintentionally posted something offensive on social media.

Handmade Neapolitan-style pizza from Mission Pizza in Winston-Salem

For Webster, who earned his first nomination this year at Heff’s Burger Club for Best New Restaurant in the country, news arrived when friends started texting him even before he had a chance to see the announcement.

“I just started crying,” he says, adding that he always dreamed of earning a nomination for a James Beard Award. The nomination is particularly sweet given that Heff’s Burger Club just opened in August 2022. 

For these three highly individual, highly passionate chefs, both their restaurant journeys and the food they serve—Southern soul food (Tyson), handmade Neapolitan-style pizza (Smith), and smash burgers (Webster)—are as different as their personalities.

Smashburger with fries from Heff's Burger Club in Winston-Salem

And, like all masters of their craft, they also share a lot in common. Both Tyson and Webster grew up spending a lot of time in kitchens, attending culinary schools, and devoting their lives to food. Smith, on the other hand, left a stable pharmaceutical job to follow his heart all the way to Italy, just to learn how to make the perfect pizza.

Another similarity? They all excel at what they do.

To learn more about these individual tastemakers, or to book a table at one of their thriving Winston-Salem restaurants, visit Or give our friendly staff at the visitor center a call, and let us handle all the details for you. 

Know Before You Go to Eat in Winston-Salem

Sweet Potatoes

  • Where: 607 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem
  • Hours: Wednesday, 5:30 to 9 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed Sunday through Tuesday). 
  • Contact: (336) 727-4844,

Heff’s Burger Club

  • Where: 285 W. Fourth Street, Winston-Salem (downtown)
  • Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. (closed Tuesdays)
  • Contact: (336) 813-9473,,

Mission Pizza Napoletana

  • Where: 707 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem (downtown)
  • Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m. (closed Sunday through Tuesday)
  • Contact: (336) 893-8217,

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