Downtown Jonesboro is more than a location; it is a family.
Kori Garner and her husband run Partovi’s Gyros and Falafels in Downtown Jonesboro. When Kori’s home was incinerated last year, the Downtown Jonesboro community supported and provided for her. She lost everything. Except her pots and pans, because Fire Marshal Jason Wills rescued them for her. He, like the rest of the people Downtown, loves her cooking. We sat down to talk to them about that night.
How did you two meet?
Kori: Well, my house burned down.
Jason: And that’s a shame. She’s a good cook!
K: Yeah! I wanted to go inside my apartment and no one was letting us and he did finally.
We heard the story that you rescued something for her, Jason. Can you tell us a little about that?
J: Our office, the fire marshals’ office, and the other folks that had responded with the department ñ we were trying our best to help folks gather up stuff and one of the things she wanted was her dishes. Our biggest concern was structural stability in the building. Is it going to collapse? We didn’t want them going in and have something fall and them getting hurt so we got the dishes.
K: Yeah, he got my cooking goods.
J: That was one of the main things she wanted ñ was her dishes.
K: If nothing else is saved, I want my dishes.
J: She wanted the dishes, no doubt.
K: They’re expensive!
J: They’re fancy dishes, I’ll give her that.
K: My mom and I had collected my plates and bowls and stuff throughout the years since I left home to go to college so it was sentimental. I made him risk his life like Superman to go get them for me.
J: It wasn’t like Superman at all.
K: It was a little glimpse of positivity throughout that whole chaotic mess. And he got some good food out of it.
What usually brings you two to Downtown?
J: Her cooking.
K: Work, I got my food truck. I make the best Greek food bar none in the state of Arkansas.
J: I’ll second that.
K: That’s what people come Downtown for, the food.
Jason, did you visit her truck before the fire?
J: I can’t remember. I stay so busy, to be honest, I don’t get to eat lunch very often, but I made it a point to afterwards for sure.
K: He did and he loved it!
J: I did and I keep coming back.
K: I’m going to make him fat this year.
J: I’ve brought some folks in. If I get to take a lunch we try to come down here. I know some of the guys who work in this district, they eat Downtown.
Kori, do you come here outside of work?
K: Sometimes after work I’ll have a beer with friends at Creegan’s, look at the loft, and reminisce with my pots and pans.
What are your connections to downtown?
K: The downtown community is one where everyone was on our front lawn and across the street watching the house burn down and being supportive. So quite a big family downtown.
Why did you want to live downtown?
K: I enjoy being in Downtown because of the atmosphere, people, and seclusion. When I think about going Downtown, I think about this awesome place that is secluded from rest of Jonesboro. It has its own quirks, its own crowds, and its own hospitality. Here you walk from shop to shop, you learn the owners’ names because they work there everyday. You become friends with neighbours and there is a sense of protection that everyone is there for you. There’s isn’t negativity from our competition, they are your friend and support system, because if we all succeed, it makes Downtown better. It’s because of the family, absolutely.
What makes downtown special?
K: I get to cook here, I get to see everybody that I love; it’s always friends and the regulars and law enforcement like Jason and when he comes to the truck it’s just that little connection we have. He’s been part of my life.
J: It’s awesome, it’s Downtown. You can’t find downtown anywhere else in Jonesboro. You’ve got a unique community with all the different shops and it is residential now, we have people who reside in the immediate downtown district. The buildings here you won’t see in most cities. They’re not built anymore. It’s everything Downtown Jonesboro has to offer that makes it unique.
Favorite place to visit?
K: The food truck is number one and Creegan’s is number two. I mean, beer and gyros right there!
J: There’s a lot downtown. I frequent the bike shop because I like to ride. I come here a lot, like before coming to this interview I was buying bike parts. Downtown Jonesboro is one of my favorite places to be.