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Sammy McDowell, whose vaunted north Minneapolis coffee and sandwich shop has been a neighborhood fixture for more than a decade, died during a church service Sunday, according to published reports.

Calls and emails to Sammy's Avenue Eatery went unanswered Monday morning. A small bouquet hung from the restaurant's door and a sign notified customers the business was closed for the day and would open again Tuesday.

McDowell reportedly collapsed during a church service Sunday. Friends and family hosted a vigil that evening, WCCO TV reported.

Social media remembrances characterized McDowell as a pillar of the community. McDowell's restaurant became a mutual aid hub during the uprising that followed the murder of George Floyd — a gathering place for neighbors to collect groceries, clothing and other essentials.

Bishop Richard D. Howell Jr., pastor of Shiloh Temple International Ministries, wrote on Facebook that McDowell's "legacy was spreading cheer and goodwill and making the good better."

"At his renown eatery, he hired 'second chances' especially young black men who needed these opportunities to reach new heights to success," Howell wrote. "The very idea in helping and serving others was his thing!"

McDowell opened Sammy's Avenue Eatery in 2012 after two decades in the service industry. He also operated a food truck and opened a second location of the restaurant in 2022.

Long a booster of the North Side community, McDowell was a decorated restaurateur who advocated for growth in the historically Black neighborhood.