NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Celebrated New York restaurant owner and former model Barbara Smith, better known as B. Smith, died on Saturday night at age 70.
B. Smith was a sought-after expert of food and style. Some even thought she was on her way to becoming another Martha Stewart, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
In 1986, Smith opened a restaurant in New York City, others followed in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and Washington D.C. She hosted a television program and put her name on home products.
Husband Dan Gasby said Smith died peacefully Saturday night in their home on Long Island, following a battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
“Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.’s dazzling and unforgettable smile,” Gasby said on social media.
In the fall of 2014, Smith gave family members a scare when she went missing for 18 hours after boarding a bus in Manhattan en route to Sag Harbor. CBS2 was at her home with her husband when he got the good news she was found safe at La Parisien restaurant on East 33rd Street in Manhattan, with blisters on her feet after a night of wandering through brutal weather.
— B. Smith/Dan Gasby (@BSmithstyle) February 23, 2020
Smith boarded the Hampton jitney on 59th Street while Gasby waited in Sag Harbor, but she never arrived at their meeting point.
Smith discussed her disease with Dr. Jon LaPook in an interview that aired in June on CBS News Sunday Morning.
“Even with Alzheimer’s, I think that things are gonna work out,” Smith said in June. “I’m gonna do my best to make it work out for me, and for as many people that I can possibly help, too.”
Smith and Gasby made it their mission to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, particularly its effects on the African-American community.
In 2015, Smith decided to close her last restaurant, on Restaurant Row. That same year, she testified before a Senate committee on the need for more Alzheimer’s research.
Smith’s signature tagline was: “Whatever you do … do it with style.”