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Beloved Atlanta-Based Chef and Out Lesbian Ria Pell Died Suddenly Sunday

Beloved Atlanta-Based Chef and Out Lesbian Ria Pell Died Suddenly Sunday

Beloved Atlanta-Based Chef and Out Lesbian Ria Pell Died Suddenly Sunday

Atlanta chef Ria Pell, 45, died Sunday night. Pell was a pillar of the Atlanta LGBT community. She also owned popular Grant Park diner Ria's Bluebird and was the November 2012 winner of Food Network's Chopped.

Out lesbian and LGBT rights activist Ria Pell passed away Sunday night, reports CBS Atlanta. She was the owner of popular Atlanta diner Ria's Bluebird and the November 2012 winner of Food Network's reality cooking series Chopped. Pell was 45 years old and is survived by her wife Kiki Slaystana. The cause of her death was a heart attack, according to HGTV FrontDoor.

Ria's Bluebird was a tourist destination as well as a beloved brunch spot for Grant Park locals and visiting musicians because of Pell's signature comfort food. Pell was also the co-founder of the MondoHomo queer music & arts festival, a DJ and a key figure in Atlanta's food, punk music, and gay rights activist communities, writes Creative Loafing Atlanta.

Friend and fellow restaurateur Jim Stacy spoke with HGTV FrontDoor. He remembers "Ria as a comrade, as a sister, as a mentor, as co-conspirator, as a confidant, as an artist, as an inspiration, but mostly as a 25-year long, dear friend," Stacy told FrontDoor. "I will miss my friend dearly and forever."

AtlantaMagazine deputy food editor Evan Mah posted a photo to his Twitter showing the memorial that has appeared at the entrance to Pell's Atlanta diner. Pell was a vital community member and her presence will be missed.

 

 

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Nicholas Cimarusti