Obituaries West Edition

Restaurant owner Maurice Prince dies at 101

By Kamerie Gibson

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — It took her almost 20 years, but in 1978, Maurice Prince opened Snack N’ Chat, her legendary “American southern cooking” restaurant.

“She didn’t cook like everyone else,” Prince’s granddaughter Suzanne Cobb said. “She raised me and she’s always been cooking and gave the most fabulous parties.”

Prince died June 1 at her home in Las Vegas. “Just old age, baby” Cobb said when asked about the cause of death. She was 101.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. July 13 at the Founder’s Church of Religious Sciene, 3281 W. Sixth St., Los Angeles

“Always good times, no sad moments,” Cobb described the last days spent with her grandmother.

Located on West Pico Boulevard, Snack N’ Chat fed and hosted celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor, James Brown, Gladys Knight, and Denzel Washington.

Born and raised in Arkansas, Prince found her way to Los Angeles in the 1940s. A move that got her acquainted with actress Hattie McDaniel and jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

Snack N’ Chat stood out from other soul food restaurants because Prince insisted her food not be greasy. She also insisted that her food not be called “soul food,” either, preferring the term American home cooking.

It was Princece’s southern fried chicken that garnered her restaurant the majority of its popularity.

“I did learn the one basic secret to fry her chicken though and I’m not telling,” Cobb teased.

Having set the precedent for restaurants like Roscoe’s (House of Chicken & Waffles), Snack N’ Chat’s legacy will span just as long as Prince’s life did.

As for Prince’s cooking skills being carried on past her death, “that didn’t fall on me,” Cobb said. “I can’t even boil water, baby.”