Owner of Sylvia's in Harlem Dies at 86

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Sylvia's in Harlem
Joseph A, flickr.

Sylvia Woods remembered as a humble pillar of the community.

A pillar of the Harlem community has passed away at the age of 86. Patrons of Sylvia's in Harlem are mourning the loss of the soul food restaurant's founder, Sylvia Woods. She died Thursday at home with her family. 

Woods opened the now world-famous soul food restaurant, Sylvia's, in Harlem fifty years ago. The restaurant has served people from all over the world, always with a friendly greeting from Sylvia herself.It often serves local residents, foreign tourists, and even national politicians.

Woods' granddaughter, Treness Woods-Black, says it was her grandmother's warm personality that made Sylvia's special.

"They've asked Sylvia 'What's your main ingredient?' And she says very proudly that her main ingredient was love. And it truly was love until the very end," says Woods-Black.

Rev. Al Sharpton says Ms. Woods contributed tremendously to the Harlem community.  But, he says, she always stayed modest.

"She built something that made us all proud," Sharpton says. "But she did it without being proudful and boastful herself."

A public viewing will be held at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on Tuesday from 10 to 3. A funeral service for Ms. Woods is being held on Wednesday at 11.  The Reverend Al Sharpton will be delivering the eulogy.

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