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"Summer Sizzles" Event To Showcase The Soul Of Harlem's Food

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This Tuesday night, eight restaurants on Harlem's Lenox Avenue will be serving up local cuisine for visitors as part of the "Summer Sizzles On Lenox," a block party-style event. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.

In 1962, 36-year-old waitress Sylvia Woods decided it was time to take a leap of faith and buy the very restaurant she was working at. Today Sylvia's, at 328 Lenox Avenue, is an institution that has handed down its traditions and soul food to the next generation.

"What she did for the culinary world was extraordinary. She put soul food on the map," said Tren'ness Woods-Black, the current owner of Sylvia's.

Come Tuesday night, New Yorkers can taste Sylvia's delicious deep-fried mac and cheese, collard greens and chicken wings, as part of "Summer Sizzles on Lenox," a sidewalk cafe crawl.

The event features eight restaurants along Lenox Avenue and showcases the historic boulevard, which is also known as Malcolm X Boulevard.

"We've got some of the widest sidewalks in the city, we've got gorgeous architecture, we have a thriving commercial corridor now. It really has become a place to see and be seen," said Nikoa Evans-Hendricks, an organizer from the group Harlem Park To Park.

Evans-Hendricks expects hundreds of people to come out to sample the food, drinks and music. Once here, she says, they will find something more.

"There's very much a southern hospitality in Harlem. It feels like you're in a small town inside of Manhattan," Evans-Hendricks said.

Derek Fleming, a partner at Red Rooster Harlem, one of the establishments participating in the event, has lived off of Lenox Avenue for more than a decade. He says the area has undergone a renaissance and he is proud to have been part of that. 0

"You really can walk these streets, walk these avenues and go to the Studio Museum and see some really amazing things that you can't quite get in other parts of the city," Fleming said.

Proceeds will go to the Sylvia and Herbert Woods Scholarship Endowment Foundation, which is named after the founder of Sylvia's and her husband.

The event kicks off at 6 p.m. Tuesday. To pre-order tickets, visit, or buy them the night of the event for $10 at Federal Carver Bank at 75 West 125th Street or Native Restaurant at 161 Lenox Avenue. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP