Harlem's 'Queen of Soul Food' dies at 86
Sylvia Woods, the owner of Harlem's famed Sylvia's restaurant, died Thursday at the age of 86.
The "Queen of Soul Food" battled Alzheimer's disease for years and was surrounded by her loved ones during her final days, her family said in a statement.
Elected officials from all over the nation expressed their condolences to Woods' kin, who still manage the 50-year-old restaurant.
"She exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit that is at the heart of our city's success," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
Born in South Carolina, Woods and her husband Herbert moved to Harlem in the '40s and she began working at a local luncheonette. In 1962, she opened her own eatery with the help of her mother, who mortgaged her farm, and it became an instant success.
Woods was to receive an award commemorating the restaurant's anniversary at Gracie Mansion on Thursday. The mayor's office said it gave the award to a family friend and observed a moment of silence.