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More than Just Butter Coats This Corn-on-the-Cob in Alabama

takis elote corn and garlic herb parmesan corn

Like many people during the pandemic, husband and wife Phillip and Avrie Powell of Birmingham, Alabama, found themselves re-thinking certain aspects of their life. And one of them was wondering why there were few low-cost vegan and vegetarian options near where they lived. So, despite having no experience in the food business, they set out to fix that with Aww Shucks, a gourmet fire-roasted corn business.

“We wanted to create fire-roasted corn recipes that are practically a meal, without the grease, at an affordable price,” said Philip. And that’s just what they did – food truck style.

On the Fourth of July 2020, in an Applebee’s Parking Lot, the couple opened their food truck for the first time. “I was so nervous,” said Avrie. “I told Phillip, ‘We aren’t ready.’ He said, ‘I don’t care what we don’t have, we will get it later. We are selling some corn today!’”

nacho street corn

That corn includes recipes that turn the well-known corn on the cob into a gourmet, flavorful experience. Popular flavors include Mexican Street Corn, Garlic Herb Parmesan and Creamy Lemon Pepper, along with Veggie Garden, Rosemary Lemon and Tony’s Teriyaki.

The couple is so committed to making sure that people on different diets can eat at Aww Shucks that they feature a variety of vegan options like alternative butter, vegan seasonings and sauces and vegan flavors like Thai Sweet Chili and Buffalo Ranch. “Everything we use is fresh,” said Phillip.

The goal, they both say, is to serve healthy and delicious food to encourage people to eat less processed foods.

Aww Shucks was only meant to be a side hustle for summers and weekends, since Avrie teaches high school English and Phillip worked as a car salesman and financial planner. But its growing popularity forced them to rethink the future of their cobs. They decided to turn Aww Shucks into a year-round business, hiring additional help so that Avrie, who has a Ph.D., can still teach on weekdays.

takis flavored street corn

The two are also very involved in their community, bringing their corn creations to University of Alabama football games, food drives, local festivals, public libraries and more. Avrie also enjoys connecting with the community on Aww Shucks social media platforms.

Positive feedback from customers has motivated them to expand their menu beyond corn. Not only did customers appreciate the variety of flavors and vegan options, but “our price point is very affordable and people love that,” said Phillip. Their latest creation is the Mexican Street Baked Potato, which adopts the flavors of their Mexican Street Corn.

As they grow, the two hope to continue to invent new flavors. For now, you can find their weekly route through Birmingham, Northport, Hoover and other Alabama cities.


Mia Salas

Mia Salas is a freelance writer and soon-to-be graduate of Princeton University. She has written stories about parenting, lifestyle and books. She has also interned with Meta, where she'll be joining post-graduation as a full-time Content Designer. In her free time she writes fiction, bakes sweet treats and helps run her family's small bagel business in NJ.


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