Corinne’s Place in Camden is one of six recipients of this year’s James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award, which aims to honor “local restaurants that have timeless appeal and are valued locally for quality cuisine that reflects the character of his community”.
The restaurant is known for both its food and its atmosphere. In his 1999 review, Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan noted the Cajun turkey wings, collard greens, black-eyed peas, and the atmosphere that began to feel “as festive as a party”.
Corinne Bradley-Powers founded the restaurant in 1989 and said she was unaware of the James Beard Foundation, but added, “It’s wonderful.” Although she sold the business in 2019, she is still at the restaurant regularly in her role as a consultant. She says she’s there to make sure the food is up to par and to keep the vibe warm: “We made it a warm environment and we had to keep the same touch. I was there just yesterday and Sunday, and I’m going there tomorrow.
The James Beard Awards have been on hiatus since 2020 after concerns over racial equity and nominee behavior. Meanwhile, the foundation has implemented changes it hopes will address these issues, including a “demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, environmental sustainability and a culture where all can prosper”.
The awards also recognized Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks, CA; Solly’s Grille in Milwaukee; Wo Hop in New York; The Busy Bee Café in Atlanta; and the Florence Restaurant in Oklahoma City. Previous regional winners include John’s Roast Pork and Chef Vola’s in Atlantic City.
For Bradley-Powers, who has been with the company for nearly 33 years, the national honor came as a big surprise. “I am in admiration.”