Sylvia Woods, founder of iconic Harlem soul food restaurant, has died.
According to the New York Daily News, the famed Harlem chef died today at the age of 86 at her Westchester home, family members said in a statement. The famed Harlem Chef leavs behind a legacy of delicious down south soul food.
The Woods family said in a statement, “Sylvia gallantly battled Alzheimer’s for the past several years, but never once lost her loving smile,”
Woods, the “Queen of Soul Food,” was the founder and owner of the world famous Sylvia’s Restaurant, located in the historical village of Harlem, since 1962.
Sylvia was born on February 2, 1926 in Hemingway, South Carolina. When she was 11 she met Herbert Woods, then 12, who would later become her husband in 1944.
They moved to New York where she went to work in a hat factory and later at a restaurant in Harlem called Johnson’s Luncheonette in 1954. In 1962, Sylvia bought the restaurant, forever making it a hot spot for good Harlem eats.
She is survived by her four children, Van, Bedelia, Kenneth, and Crizette, who manage this family enterprise. To date, there are three generations of the Woods family working tirelessly to ensure that their family’s business continues to make strides over the next forty-three years.