CAMDEN, N.J. -- "I was born and raised here. I was educated right here in Camden, New Jersey," said Corinne Bradley-Powers. "And I just love to cook for people. And I did that even before I opened up Corinne's Place."
A single mom at the time, Bradley-Powers took a chance on opening a restaurant in a vacant building in 1989. She has since spread her mother's cooking traditions across Camden and beyond.
Corinne's Place cultivated a culture of hard-working youth that went on to be successful adults. It continues to make a difference by donating Sunday leftovers to seniors and homeless individuals.
Because of this, the Camden community has revered the soul food spot for decades. And now, it is being recognized on a national scale.
The James Beard Foundation announced its six selections for the 2022 America's Classics Awards. Corinne's place ranked among restaurants from California, New York, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma.
"Yesterday at this time, I had no clue of this," said Bradley-Powers. "You know, it's like winning the lottery that you don't know you had a winning ticket."
As the news came pouring in, the champagne poured out. The family behind Corinne's Place is now planning a trip to the James Beard Awards in June of 2022.
Community members think it's another boost to Camden's elevation as a city.
"It's an honor for the restaurant to be recognized because it shows Camden has great restaurants and great people that enjoy great things," said Councilwoman Sheila Davis. "This is part of Camden rising."
The James Beard Foundation agrees that Corinne's Place is deserving of the title for its community outreach.
"They're just a wonderful example, along with the other five recipients, of restaurants and the owners being pillars of their communities," said Dawn Padmore, Vice President of Awards. "It's more than just what's on the plate, isn't it?"