Sylvia Woods moves to the music outside her restaurant in Harlem neighborhood of New York, during the restaurant's 40th anniversary celebration in 2002.
Sylvia Woods moves to the music outside her restaurant in Harlem neighborhood of New York, during the restaurant's 40th anniversary celebration in 2002. Stuart Ramson/AP
Sylvia Woods, known as the Queen of Soul Food, died yesterday at age 86. She opened the legendary Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem 50 years ago, around the corner from the Apollo Theater, and it soon became a gathering place for prominent African Americans, politicians, and foodies of all ages and races.
Woods' secret, she told a TV reporter back in 2003, was "a little of this and a little of that and you mix it all together. But a whole lotta love has to go in it. If you don't have that, you have nothing at all." (Hear our colleague Joel Rose's remembrance above and on All Things Considered tonight.)
She made chicken and waffles cool long before today's current crop of retro-comfort food seeking hipsters ever thought about installing a deep fryer.
Check out the story of her life, and some delicious tributes from social media sites: