Owner of Soul Food Mecca ‘Sylvia’s’ Dies at 86

Sylvia Woods, The Queen of Soul Food and the owner of Sylvia's, passes away at 86.

There haven’t been many people pass through New York City without having certain cultural cornerstones on their “to do” list.  They hit the Schomburg, make it over to the Kennedy Center, shuffle through Times Square and last, but certainly not least, they travel to Harlem, USA, to the soul food mecca.

Sylvia’s has been the foundation for all soul food restaurants throughout the U.S. for 50 years.  The restaurant’s owner also known as The Queen of Soul Food, Sylvia Woods, 86, passed away hours before the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, was set to pay tribute to her at Gracie Mansion for not only 50 years of excellent food, but for being a soul food dignitary to many nations, politicians, and Harlem’s finest…the neighborhood, according to New York Times.

Sylvia Woods, owner of Sylvia's in Harlem with the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.

Unfortunately, Ms. Sylvia would not see the beautiful commemorative occasion being held in her honor and a family friend accepted her award for her.  The family’s statement noted “no cause” for her death:

“Her family announced the death, citing no cause. Its statement said Ms. Woods had been ill with Alzheimer’s disease for the last few years.”

The New York Daily News reported:

“Sylvia’s has been more than a restaurant, it has been a meeting place for black America,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who recalled dining there with everyone from President Obama to Caroline Kennedy.

Sylvia’s has hosted everyone from Bill Clinton to Robert F. Kennedy and the city’s mayors Edward Koch and David Dinkins.  Also tourists come from all over the world as far away as Japan to have her food.

Rest in peace,  Mrs. Sylvia Woods. God bless you and your family.  Sylvia’s forever!

Read more here.

-J.C. Brooks

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