Kore 4 Soul Kitchen adds new food truck to the business

The weather outside might be frightful this weekend, but the food at the Kore 4 Soul Kitchen is sure to be delightful!

Community philanthropist Wynette “Nettie” Carter-Smith and business partner Sunna Bass, along with husbands Jamel Smith and Vernon Bass, will be serving up soul food this weekend from their brand new 28-foot food truck, located at 1112 S. Limestone St. in Springfield.

The two couples, also the founders of the Bass Smith Connection (BSC) non-profit organization, opened the Kore 4 Soul Kitchen early last summer hosting events outside on a newly poured patio.

The Kore 4 Soul Kitchen idea came about when the BSC was seeking a way to fund scholarships for local students. In 2020, the 501c3 organization had to cancel their quarterly fundraising events – known as parties with a purpose – because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were trying to find a way to continue to raise money,” says Carter-Smith. “We decided to sell dinners next to Sunna’s hair salon. It did pretty well and raised some funds for our scholarship recipients.”

Following their success selling meals in 2020, Carter-Smith and Bass considered building a pole barn and opening a brick-and-mortar location as a future retirement gig.

“The prices … had just skyrocketed since the pandemic, so we went back to our original idea: buying a food truck,” says Carter-Smith. “We were serious about having a nice space on the southwest side of Springfield. We were intentional about that.”

And it didn't take much to bring them back to right where they started at the Limestone Street location.

“When we were looking and thinking about where we can go, and we thought, ‘This is Limestone! We should be able to attract anyone,’” says Bass. “It’s a prime location. We were really intentional for this area and wanted to offer something nice.”

Settling on a company from Georgia to build their food truck, the “Kore 4” (Wynette, Jamel, Sunna and Vernon) forged on with their plans while they waited for the finished product. They rented a small food truck, obtained cooking equipment, and on June 19, began serving food from tents alongside the patio.

The location now features a parking pad for the food truck, but Carter-Smith and Bass also plan to travel to local events with their delicious family recipes.

“It’s all about sewing into your community,” says Carter-Smith. “It’s us being deliberate – to bring something nice to our community that people will appreciate and value.”

But Carter-Smith says Kore 4 Soul Kitchen is not just for people who reside in the southwest corridor of Springfield.

“We have people from all areas who patronize us and like our food,” she says.

Carter-Smith says the “Kore 4” all have servant mindsets and hearts.

“We’re not getting paid,” she says. “We really are sewing everything we have made into this business.”

The Kore 4 Soul Kitchen menu features a tantalizing selection, including barbecue ribs and chicken, fried fish, chicken wings, greens, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, green beans, cole slaw and fries.

“A lot of people love our fries,” says Carter-Smith. “Sunna’s macaroni and cheese is phenomenal … people come for the mac-and-cheese.”

Vernon Bass serves as the lead chef and grill master and draws repeat customers with his own special seasoning used on fish and chicken – a secret recipe he won’t share.

New food items will be showcased starting this weekend, including bourbon chicken, lollipop drumsticks, egg rolls and white chicken chili.

“We’ve spent the last two weeks running through the process, so we are ready,” says Carter-Smith.

The Kore 4 Soul Kitchen food truck soft opening – slated for noon to 4 p.m. December 11 and 12 – will also include a visit from Santa Claus from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday and goodie bags for children.

Carter-Smith says their biggest challenge is that all four business partners work full-time jobs, thus the food truck won’t be open every weekend.

“Want to be here every weekend, but it’s not realistic,” says Carter-Smith. “Our goal is to be open two weekends a month and when our husbands retire, to be open more.”

Carter-Smith says they are all excited for this opportunity and for Springfield.

“The pandemic was bittersweet, there were so many disheartening things, but so many silver linings that came out of it. Hence, people branching out and starting their own businesses and doing their own things,” she says. “It goes to show that even in unprecedented times, in an unprecedented pandemic, there is always a silver lining.”

Read more articles by Darci Jordan.