Soul Food: Kora’s Soul Food subject of TV segment

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 3, 2004

DEMOPOLIS – Patrons at Kora’s Soul Food Restaurant Wednesday had their meals interrupted by TV crews filming a segment on the restaurant for the Food Network’s Roker on the Road show.

The show featuring NBC weatherman Al Roker takes a look at the cuisine and the people behind the food scene across the country, said freelance director Jeanine Pavuk – on a return trip to Demopolis after filming a similar segment at Smokin’ Jack’s BBQ.

“We were actually doing a shoot for barbecue and the Chamber of Commerce president told us ‘there’s one more place you need to shoot before you leave.’ We actually came back to film here,” he said.

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Lacorinia Harris, who has owned the little restaurant with his wife Cora ‘going on five years,’ is pleased to have the exposure for his soul food and has long dreamed of feeding not only his patrons’ appetites but their souls as well.

“I’ve always wanted to have a restaurant,” said Harris, also the pastor of New Aimwell Baptist Church near Uniontown for the past 18 years. “Even when I was in the military.”

Although he originally wanted a restaurant in the country near his Spring Hill home (“Good food will bring folks no matter where its located,” he said), the opportunity to open in Demopolis fell his way.

“I think it was divinely done. The restaurant was given to me as a ministry. It is a ministry,” Harris said.

He said he regularly provides meals to people who have no money and to the elderly at a reduced cost, and ministers to substance abusers through the combination of ribs, “famous” hamburgers and vegetables.

Harris said the restaurant doesn’t provide him and Cora any income, but that the four employees there make a livelihood and the satisfaction of competing his mission is enough for them.

“Of course I’d like to make some money, but, divinely, it was not that way and we resigned ourselves that it’s the way He wants it,” Harris said.

Harris admits the Food Network segment might not give him much boost in business, but the exposure for city might do some good – a point Chamber President Jay Shows makes.

“Literally, anytime you see regional or national exposure, it’s good for the city. We get phone calls (inquiring about Demopolis) when something runs about Demopolis,” he said, finishing his lunch at Kora’s. “This is exposure a city of this size couldn’t budget.”

Roker on the Road airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. central time. A date for the segment on Kora’s has not yet been set.