ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Congratulations to Evangela Stanley, our ‘Remarkable Women’ award winner.

Known in the community as “Van,” the single mother was recognized Monday for her impact in Rochester.

Single mother, business owner, activist: Meet this Remarkable Woman

Stanley is most known for the Caribbean food she serves at her restaurant, People’s Choice Kitchen. Van, who is from Georgia, opened the restaurant 21 years ago with her son and his father. 

Throughout the years, the restaurant has had a few different locations, currently on Brooks Avenue. But there’s one thing has remained constant: Van’s ability to make people feel welcomed and cared for through her food. 

“She’s a sweetheart. She puts everyone before herself,” said Egypt Stanley Walker, Van’s 21-year-old son. “As long as I can remember, she’s been doing big things for the community. Even things as small as someone doesn’t have enough money, she just let them slide, and she makes sure everyone eats, makes sure she takes care of everybody.”

Taking care of others can be seen through Van’s “pay what you can program,” at her restaurant, an idea that came to her one Christmas. 

“With the economy the way it is, and my neighborhood where my business is located, people are on fixed incomes and times are hard, so I was like, ‘wow, what if I put a sign up and put on social media, ‘I know you guys are trying to buy Christmas gifts, I will allow you to come into my restaurant and pay whatever you can afford to eat for you, your kid,” Van said. 

Her story of bravery and uncompromised ability to overcome the obstacles she faced as a business owner, activist and single mother is why Van’s sister, Tammy Moore, nominated her for this special award.

The complete story of Van’s reach in the local community can be read by clicking the link above.

She, along with three other incredible women were the 2022 Remarkable Women finalists. Congrats to all the finalists and incredible women that make up Rochester.