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Funeral plans announced for famed Charleston restaurateur Martha Gadsden

Martha Lou Gadsden, who operated renowned Charleston restaurant Martha Lou's Kitchen for 37...
Martha Lou Gadsden, who operated renowned Charleston restaurant Martha Lou's Kitchen for 37 years, died early Thursday at 91.(Joyce Taylor)
Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 10:59 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The woman known for longtime Charleston soul food restaurant Martha Lou’s Kitchen will be laid to rest Friday.

Martha Gadsden died April 1 at 91.

A public walk-thru viewing for family and friends will be held Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Smith-McNeal Funeral Home, located at 2119 Dorchester Rd. in North Charleston, according to her obituary.

A celebration of life service will happen Friday with interment at Carolina Memorial Park on Rivers Avenue. Masks will be required for all attendees, the obituary states.

Martha Lou Gadsden, whose Martha Lou's Kitchen earned praise from around the country, died...
Martha Lou Gadsden, whose Martha Lou's Kitchen earned praise from around the country, died early Thursday morning at age 91.(Lowcountry Weekend)

Gadsden received critical acclaim from the Lowcountry, across the state and even in the New York Times, the Food Network and the Travel Channel.

The restaurateur’s eatery on Morrison Drive was a staple in the Charleston food scene for 37 years until it was forced to shut down last September when the land on which it stood sold to a developer.

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard called Martha Lou’s Kitchen one of the last traditional black-owned restaurants on the Charleston peninsula.

Gadsden, when asked about plans to open a new location, said she was “too old” to get started again.

During a 2013 visit to “Bounce Around Charleston,” she said she learned by doing when it came to cooking.

“I had nine children and raising your children, you have to know how to cook,” she said. “And I like to cook. So I cook.”

Her oldest daughter, Joyce Taylor, said last week Gadsden wasn’t afraid to speak up if you didn’t follow her rules in the kitchen.

“She knew how to put in that special flavor, but she had no qualms about telling you, ‘That’s not right’ or, ‘That doesn’t taste good,’” Taylor said.

Gadsden celebrated her 91st birthday in March and Taylor said the family threw her a party.

She is survived by her children, Joyce C. Taylor (Jerome), Rodney C. Gadsden (Linda), Debra S. Worthy, Ruth G. Gregory, James S. Gadsden, Lillie Mae Gadsden, Clayton L. Gadsden and Bernard E. Gadsden (Dorothea); a host of grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

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