The Yellow Deli - Serving the People
The Yellow Deli - Serving the People

The Yellow Deli

Brooks Morrow
Digital Photography
7.5 x 5 in
19.05 x 12.7 cm
Pratt Institute
The Yellow Deli is a chain of restaurants that originated in Tennessee, owned and operated by a small religious group called the Twelve Tribes. Their website explains how their goal was to “create a restaurant where people from all walks of life could come and touch a living demonstration of God’s love in those who served them. We had the hope that in the darkness of our troubled society we could reach out to lost people like a beacon of light in the midst of a storm with the pure love of God we had found”. There are two locations in Tennessee, the first one ever being in Chattanooga, founded in 1973 and re-opened in 2008 after a 30 year hiatus, and the other in Pulaski,( the town in which the kkk was founded) which is coming up on its one year anniversary. The residents of the surrounding towns all have a kind of understanding that the owners belong to a “cult”, and for some, this is quite intimidating. There are many rumors and perceptions of their practice being radical or unethical, as there are many accusations of physical abuse within the group. I visited the Pulaski location one afternoon for lunch and was given a tour around the kitchen and lounge area by one of the workers afterwards. This photograph was part of a series of images made as an investigation of this controversy, to explore the possible parallels or differences between the perception of this southern town’s past history or even the south in general, and the current perception of these people, and lastly out of pure curiosity. I do also have to say that the food was pretty damn good.