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North Minneapolis 'matriarch,' soul food chef shot in the face by pellet gun

Wendy's House of Soul chef Wendy Puckett was locking up Friday night when a pellet broke her nose and lodged itself under her eye.

Wendy's House of Soul chef Wendy Puckett was locking up Friday night when a pellet broke her nose and lodged itself under her eye. Wendy's House of Soul, Facebook

On Saturday, the Wendy’s House of Soul Facebook page broke some sad news to restaurant patrons.

“Y’all we are closed today,” it said. “It has not been a great week to say the least.”

The post went on to explain that chef Wendy Puckett had just finished locking up her north Minneapolis business for the night on Friday when she was shot in the face with a pellet gun.

Police are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. On Monday, the Star Tribune reported on a “string” of BB-gun-related incidents on the Northside. Bus windows and a bus shelter on the corner of Plymouth and Emerson were also hit around the same time. Police still don’t know whether the vandalism and Puckett’s injury are related, but are reviewing surveillance video in a search for suspects.

Puckett is going to be OK, but her sister, Heather Warfield, told KSTP that the pellet had broken the beloved chef’s nose and gotten lodged under her eye. She’d need surgery, and was in “a lot of pain, physically and emotionally.”

Meanwhile, the restaurant, famous for its gut-busting comfort food, would likely be closed all week, with Thanksgiving pie orders pending.

“No words can be expressed on this situation except we hope you pray for Wendy,” the Facebook post continued. “As you know we live here, we support the community and this is devastating.”

That became apparent almost immediately after the post was published. 

“No please don’t say this is true,” one person wrote. “Wendy is like the matriarch of the Northside.”

“Someone needs to set up donations for this woman,” chimed in another.

Facing nearly 800 heartfelt reactions and requests to help in some way, the restaurant crew obliged, setting up two links for fans to donate to Wendy and the restaurant. You can find the funds on Cash App and Venmo.

On Tuesday, a group of residents and volunteers gathered in front of the Wendy's store to “call attention to what happened to Wendy.” They hoped it would help someone—anyone—come forward with more evidence.

Even in the face of heartbreak, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the outreach and kind words from the community,” the post published Tuesday continued. “Thanks to all that have donated to us to get thru this terrible incident. We can’t thank you enough!”

Patrons are advised to keep an eye on social media to find out when Wendy’s will reopen.