There’s a pretty good chance Wanda Abernathy is smiling down from heaven on “the sweetest corner in town.”
That’s the motto of a growing bakery and cafe in downtown Corinth where recipes carry the legacy of the late Mrs. Abernathy, whose candy, cake and pie creations first impressed family and church friends, then got the “wow” of approval for many years from loyal customers of the successful business Sweet Sensations.
The noted lifelong cook’s daughter, Sherah Moss, learned her mother’s baking secrets and mouth drooling recipes and now she pays tribute in the every-growing “sweetest corner” at Corner 415, a Fillmore Street eatery with an expanding menu which continues to evolve after two years of operation.
Abernathy died at the age of 84 in January 2019 after a battle with cancer and many sweet-tooth fans of her candy, fudge, cakes and pies may remember her from the family business which started in a former Kossuth gas station, then moved to a location in the Corinth SoCo District for a few years.
“She was such an awesome cook,” said Moss about her mother, as the daughter managed Sweet Sensations while mom did all the baking. “It’s been a long year without her.”
Like most mother-daughter relationships, Abernathy kept encouraging Sherah to learn her way around the kitchen.
“She told me, ‘you have to learn how to cook someday’,” said the daughter. “‘Someday I won’t be here’.”
Sherah took the wise cook’s advice.
She recalled one Thanksgiving cooking season when her mom and father – the late pastor Nolan Abernathy – had to leave town on a church trip.
Over 30 pies needed to be made to fill the heavy holiday orders.
“I made every one of them,” noted the now 51-year-old Moss, today a proud restaurant owner. “That was the first time on my own. It was a good test.”
Corner 415 is now where the legacy continues in a former coffee shop style cafe at the corner of Fillmore and Waldron streets.
“I do all the cooking now,” she said, sitting at a table surrounded by holiday decor with a lighted display case full of homemade fudge as a backdrop.
Moss smiled as she showed several made-to-order candy trays ready for pickup. The assorted truffles – best sellers oreo, peanut butter and red velvet cake – along with several fudge varieties, turtles and toffee-style bark – stole some happy-eyed looks from customers.
“I looked at this building for years,” continued Moss, looking at the high ceiling and historic brick walls. “I dreamed of opening a bakery here.”
A Christian by faith and a believer in hard work, Moss was not going to let her mother’s legacy slip out of the oven.
“I prayed about it,” said the business owner. “And everything fell into place.”
“I never gave up,” added the kitchen cook and cafe manager. “A lot of hard work and love goes in to it. That and the grace of God.”
While candy, cakes and pies continue the Sweet Sensation tradition in the newer “corner”, kettle-style Callico fudge in all kinds of insane flavors was added to the menu about a month ago.
The fudge rage is on, much like another Corner 414 icon – the skillet cookie.
Served piping hot in a cast iron skillet with enough gooey goodness to satisfy the cookie dough cravings of a party of four, the “corner” serves up homemade chocolate chip, cookies and cream, chocolate fudge brownie and seasonal cobbler-style skillets of peach and apple.
“People love them,” said the cook. “It has become one of the signature dishes.”
It is no surprise a cold glass of milk is a popular side order with the skillet cookie.
Not far behind those hot skillets on the popular menu item list are Shera’s homemade cinnamon rolls.
Corner 415’s menu continues to expand from the traditional bakery items, offering plate lunches, sandwiches and salads.
“More and more people are coming in for our lunches,” said Moss. “It has really picked up, especially the sandwiches.”
So popular, in fact, the cafe now stays open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday for evening desserts or a full meal.
The top selling sandwich remains the Corner Club. But the most popular order outside the bakery menu is the signature chicken salad.
“We sometimes sell it by the gallon,” said Moss, as it’s no surprise the recipe is another entry in Mrs. Abernathy’s cookbook, complete with a fruit variation in addition to the traditional batch.
Despite a tough pandemic year for restaurants, the cafe owner remains grateful for the support and gracious for the positive outlook.
“I love this place,” she said. “And I love what I do. I am so blessed.”
Working alongside Moss are her two daughters, Summer and Destinee. Summer has a full-time job away from the family business, but always lends a helping hand when called upon, especially during busy times and to fill huge orders. Sherah’s sister, Kathy Wilson, also helps out during the busy holiday season.
The 24-year-old Destinee is a full-time employee and is learning the cooking ropes.
Destinee is already making all the soups, sandwiches and salads, said the mother, an Alcorn County resident since she was a 16-year-old.
“We have big dreams,” said Moss. “We really do. And we work hard.”