May 17, 2022

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Foodies welcome

This N.J. soul food restaurant just won a James Beard Award

A South Jersey restaurant has won a James Beard America’s Classic award, the first New Jersey eatery to earn such an honor in more than a decade.

The winner is Corinne’s Place, a Camden staple since Corinne Bradley-Powers opened the joint in 1989.

The soul food restaurant has served fried chicken, turkey wings, pork chops, fried fish, ribs and other southern standbys in Camden for more than 30 years.

It was one of six restaurants named a 2022 America’s Classic by the James Beard Foundation on Wednesday. Corinne’s is the first New Jersey restaurant to receive the honor since Chef Vola’s in Atlantic City in 2011.

The award is given “to locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of its community,” according to the James Beard Foundation, the nonprofit organization that has become one of the main authorities on American cuisine since it launched more than 30 years ago.

Here’s what the James Beard Foundation had to say about Corinne’s Place:

Corinne Bradley-Powers has been keeping Haddon Avenue festive since 1989 with a birthday-pink dining room and a devoted post-church Sunday rush. It could be the Cajun-spiced turkey wings, the picnic-perfect black-eyed peas, the tender pig’s feet in zesty sauce, the smothered pork chops, or the sweet potato pie. But there’s no doubt her classic fried chicken—its simply seasoned crust fried to a golden, heat-bubbled cracker shell concealing juicy meat—is also a prime reason this restaurant has remained an enduring touchstone for home-style soul food. Over the past three decades, it has become a pillar of community at the heart of one of America’s lowest-income cities. Bradley-Powers’ longevity as a business owner remains a beacon of hope that continues to inspire. During the pandemic, she transformed a vacant lot beside her storefront into a tented gathering space for tranquil outdoor dining. Known as “the oasis,” complete with a trickling fountain and warm hospitality to go along with Corinne’s irresistible soul food platters, it lives up to its name.

Corrine’s Place is the fifth New Jersey restaurant to win the award, which launched in 1998. Doris & Ed’s in Highlands (1998), White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City (2000) and Mustache Bill’s Diner in Barnegat Light (2009) are among the other Garden State honorees.

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Jeremy Schneider may be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @J_Schneider and on Instagram at @JeremyIsHungryAgain.

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