‘Legendary’ Camden soul food restaurant owner gets key to the city

Corinne's Place, a mainstay of Camden's Haddon Ave. for decades, recently won an award from the James Beard Foundation. (Sophia Schmidt/WHYY)

Corinne's Place, a mainstay of Camden's Haddon Ave. for decades, recently won an award from the James Beard Foundation. (Sophia Schmidt/WHYY)

An acclaimed soul food restaurant in Camden has racked up another honor. This time, it’s a key to the city.

For more than 30 years, Corinne’s Place has been a beloved mainstay of Camden. Its founder, Corinne Bradley-Powers, serves up “Soul Food with a Touch of Class” — with dishes like salmon croquettes, Cajun-style pigs feet, and turkey wings.

Last month, the restaurant won the prestigious America’s Classics Award from the James Beard Foundation. Then Friday, Camden’s mayor presented Bradley-Powers with a key to the city.

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“I’m just so happy that I have my people here, that they love me and they appreciate me,” Bradley-Powers said. “It’s like hitting the lottery.”

Bradley-Powers is known for not only nourishing the community with her food, but also giving many of Camden’s young people their first jobs — along with great advice.

“We got a chance to get embraced by her, listen to her give all the great wisdom she’s given all of us, when we walked into her restaurant,” said Mayor Vic Carstarphen after the celebration Friday.

It was the first key to the city that Carstarphen has given out. He called Bradley-Powers a “legendary, iconic” pillar of the community.

“I can’t say enough about what this woman has been to our community the last 30-plus years,” he said. “The commitment she has brought to our city — with bringing great soul food, and not just for our city, but the region.”

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The James Beard America’s Classics 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 foundation. The award goes to just six restaurants each year.

Bradley-Powers said faith and community helped her get here.

“Prayer and being good to people,” she said. “And people doing the same, being good to me.”

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