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Famous Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food Restaurant to open in St. Petersburg's midtown

7:43 PM, Nov 5, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food Restaurant based out of Harlem does millions of dollars in sales every single year. On any given day you can see former president Bill Clinton, Muhammad Ali, and Diana Ross dining there among the locals and tourists.  

The success of Sylvia's restaurant has the Harlem-based spot opening a second location right here the historic St. Petersburg neighborhood of Midtown at 642 22nd Street South.

Since 1962 Sylvia's has been known for ribs, macaroni and cheese and collard greens. It's a place where celebrities, and American presidents, feel right at home with the locals and tourists.

Project manager Greg Williams took a break from his work to give 10 News a special tour of the their new restaurant. The building has a rich history of its own, and workers are still busy getting it ready for its grand opening.  

PHOTOS: Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food restaurant in St. Pete

He pointed to an area where they plan to place some glossy photos to recognize the artists who once performed at the Manhattan Casino. 

"What we wanted to do is put pictures of all the old performers that used to come upstairs like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles and James Brown," Williams explained.

With seating for 150 people, there's a bar, piano keys on the ceiling, a private dining area and a place for take-out in case you're in a hurry for their world famous fried chicken and waffles.

The people hired to work in the establishment are mostly local. 

"We had over 200 applicants who came in and applied, so the majority of our employees are from Midtown," Williams told us. "Some of them have less-than-desirable records and needed a second chance, and we're giving them that."

The late Sylvia Woods, founder and owner, died last year. Her family continues her legacy of not only cooking, but of making a difference in the community. 

"But we also want to make sure that we keep in with the community because- one of the things that Sylvia did is- she fed a lot of the people who were hungry or otherwise didn't have any food," Williams said.

The grand opening of Sylvia's is Saturday, November 9th and many of Sylvia's family members are going to be at the event.

Tammie Fields, 10 News

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