NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A funeral was held Wednesday morning for Harlem’s “Queens of Soul Food.”

Sylvia Woods, the founder of Sylvia’s Restaurant, died last week in her Mount Vernon home after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 86.

Among those speaking at her funeral, included Rev. Al Sharpton and former New York Governor David Paterson.

“She never stopped pleasing her customers and she saw us all as family,” Sharpton said.

“Whatever you ate there, you came out feeling better about yourself than when you went in,” Paterson said.

Woods’ granddaughter also spoke, saying her grandmother’s ” Main goal while she was here on this earth was to make sure that each person she came into contact with knew their worth.”


Woods publicly announced on her 80th birthday that she was retiring and passing her legacy to her children and grandchildren who worked alongside her and her late husband Herbert, who died in 2001.

Woods and her husband opened the restaurant in 1962. It has since become a destination for tourists and locals alike.

The iconic restaurant on Lenox and 127th street is known for serving staples of Southern cooking, including fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread.

Family and friends gathered at a wake and public service Tuesday to say their final farewells at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

Wednesday’s funeral service was held at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon.

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