CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Martha Lou Gadsden — the woman behind the beloved Downtown restaurant Martha Lou’s Kitchen — died Thursday, her family confirmed to News 2.

Gadsden was 91 years old.

She had not been sick recently, and passed away of natural causes.

Smith McNeal will handle the funeral services.

Martha Lou’s Kitchen stood on Morrison Drive for 37 years, serving up some of the best soul food in the Lowcountry.

The unassuming building was visited by the New York Times, the Travel Channel, and Martha Stewart.

The restaurant closed in September of 2020 due to development in the area.

State Representative Wendell Gilliard released the following statement:

“Today when I learned of the passing of Ms. Martha Lou Gadsden, I was deeply saddened for the family and close friends. For 37 years, Martha Lou proudly served many at the soul food restaurant she owned that bore her name. Then as I began to remember her accomplishments and accolades over her 91 years, my sadness turned to joy knowing that she will now be reunited with her best friend (another legendary culinary entrepreneur), Ms. Alice Warren. This community pillar will be sorely missed by many.”