People across the world are mourning the death of Sylvia Woods, the founder of the staple soul food restaurant named Sylvia’s, located in Harlem, New York. Her granddaughter confirmed she died today after battling Alzheimer’s disease for the past two years. Sylvia’s is revered as one of the most popular “must-eat” restaurants in New York. It has been the mecca of celebrations for everyone including athletes, politicians, and entertainers. Rev. Al Sharpton has high regards for Sylvia’s. He says it’s “more than a restaurant, it has been a meeting place for Black America.” He’s right, considering he has dined there with President Obama. Mayor Michael Bloomberg commented on Sylvia’s death and legacy saying, “We lost a legend today. For more than 50 years, New Yorkers have enjoyed Sylvia’s and visitors have flocked to Harlem to get a table. In her words, the food was made with ‘a whole lot of love’ and generations of family and friends have come together at what became a New York institution.” Rep. Charles Rangel describes Sylvia’s as “a magical place that brought the community together.” He recently celebrated his victory in the Democratic primary at the restaurant.
I have also had the pleasure of dining at Sylvia’s last summer. I was so thrilled by the warm ambiance and hospitality in a city whose people are revered as “cold” or “insociable”. I had the catfish dinner and I found the catfish to be the best I’ve ever had. The staff was incredibly generous and the portions were large enough for me to enjoy leftovers the next day. I was so pleased by the service, the food, and the ambiance that I happily left a 30% tip. I agree with many of the comments above, Sylvia’s is truly a magical place that fosters and invites fellowship. I send my deepest condolences to her family members and friends. I plan to dine there again this year.
Sylvia and her husband, Herbert, started Sylvia’s in 1962. It quickly acquired a reputation for having the best cornbread, greens, ribs, collard greens, and fried chicken. A plethora of politicians, entertainers, and activists have frequented Sylvia’s. It is located at 328 Malcolm X Blvd, NY, NY.