'Queen of Soul Food' Dead at 86

Sylvia Woods' Harlem restaurant a global landmark
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2012 3:41 AM CDT
'Queen of Soul Food' Dead at 86
In this Jan. 17, 1996 file photo, "Queen of Soul Food" Sylvia Woods, right, greets patron Carrie Haynes-Madsen at her restaurant, “Sylvia's,” in Harlem.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

A Harlem icon has passed on. Sylvia Woods, the "Queen of Soul Food," died yesterday at 86 after fighting Alzheimer's, her family says. Tourists and celebrities from all over the world have flocked to her restaurant, Sylvia's, for half a century to sample its corn bread and fried chicken. "Sylvia gallantly battled Alzheimer's for the past several years, but never once lost her loving smile," her family said, according to CNN.

"We lost a legend," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "In her words, the food was made with 'a whole lot of love' and generations of family and friends have come together at what became a New York institution." Woods' empire reached far beyond the restaurant: She wrote two successful cookbooks, started a catering service, and launched Sylvia's Food Products across the country. (More Sylvia Woods stories.)

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