Six years ago, Ernisha Randolph was featured in The Miami Times as a part of its “New Generation of Dreamers” for 2017. The owner of a successful startup incubator mostly known for her role as CEO of catering company Juanita’s Kitchen at the time, she’d always known she would be successful – but couldn’t imagine how much more she would accomplish after that story was published.
Today, the 39-year-old Miami resident is the founder of Sweet Butter Hospitality Group and We Shuckin, a successful Southern food restaurant with two locations in Miami and Broward.
Her entrepreneurial skills revealed themselves when she was just 8 years old, when Randolph remembers selling homemade candy to buy herself a toy. By age 10 she was selling meals from her parents’ home; a few years later she’d turned that effort into a $500-per-week business.
Back in 2017, the Times story cited her success as a caterer. The next year, after several successful pop-up restaurant events, Randolph opened the first We Shuckin on NW 167th Street near 47th Avenue. The location was take-out only, but business boomed as more people fell in love with the Southern-style cooking.
The second location came in 2021 in Pembroke Pines, this time with inside seating.
“There was a line down the street,” Randolph recalled. “It was wrapped around the building, wrapped all around the plaza and all the way down the street.”
Her Jivin’ Sauce, an accidental hit after a Super Bowl party, became popular in 2020 and now is sold in stores and online nationwide.
“Almost all the time when things are like a mistake, those are the things that everyone loves,” Randolph said.
Throughout her career she’s always worked hard – and has always been motivated by family.
“I just knew that I needed to be successful,” she said.
Anthony Randolph, her husband, a Full Sail University graduate, has a project called The SMASH Room Network, his own streaming network app. Her sister, Sarah Anderson, helms The Candy Girls, a dessert brand. Both businesses are part of the Sweet Butter Hospitality Group.
And Randolph’s three children – Shonee Alicia Randolph, 22, Anthony “AJ” Randolph, 17, and Amarion Randolph, 12 – have already established several small businesses, including a clothing line.
Her oldest, Shonee Alicia, has been working hard to potentially lead the restaurant and carry on her mother’s legacy.
“She’s been a little business person,” Randolph said. “She got started entering into pitch competitions and everything when she was 16.”
Randolph would like to franchise the restaurant and return to one of her passion projects: establishing a place where she can make a direct impact on young entrepreneurs.
She says that although the world we live in is still catching up (in its efforts to realize genuine equality and equity), she believes the new generation of dreamers is much more able – and encouraged – to have visions and achieve them quickly.
“I guess the ground is fertile for [us] to dream bigger,” she said. “To achieve bigger.”
Rachel Costa Miami Times Contributor | This profile is a collaboration between The Miami Times and the Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media at Florida International University.