Crazy for corn

Veronica and Crisanto Martinez

Photo by Josh Cozine

After moving to the area from Los Angeles a year ago, Veronica and Crisanto Martinez noticed a distinct lack of roasted corn—one of Veronica’s favorite treats—so they decided to do something about it, and in short order Yony’s Roasted Corn was filling the void. Roasted fresh on-site and served on the cob or in a bowl, their corn is served with a variety of topping and flavor options. Yony’s operates out of a mobile cart and roaster and appears at various locations throughout the Chico area, from farmers’ markets to their go-to spot on the corner of Eighth and Main streets (across from Chico Natural Foods). Find them on Facebook for an updated location—or regularly at the Thursday Night Market near City Plaza.

Why corn?

Veronica: We love it!

Crisanto: We used to have roasted corn all the time in Los Angeles, and noticed no one had it here. My wife, she likes to keep busy, and she decided to open her own business.

Veronica: One thing I will tell you—he didn’t like corn before, and he didn’t like it when I would eat it.

Crisanto: That was a long time ago—way before we moved here.

Veronica: I always loved it and would always go get corn, but he didn’t like it …

Crisanto [laughs]: ’Cause she wanted to go every day! Every day, she wanted to buy corn!

Veronica [laughs]: So every once in a while he would try it and after a while …

Crisanto: I became a corn man!

Where did you get the name Yony’s?

Veronica: It was my nickname as a kid. My sisters and brothers couldn’t say Veronica when they were young. They said “Yonica” and shortened it to “Yony.” Even my mom and dad started calling me that; it was like my usual name.

What are your most popular flavors?

Crisanto: Our No. 1—The Works—comes with butter, mayo, Mexican cheese …

Veronica: … Chili powder, salt and black pepper. It’s our most popular—that’s why we put it No. 1. The Flaming Hot Cheetos—that’s a new one. Most of the young people like it, and are excited with it.

What’s the cooking process like?

Crisanto: It’s a self-contained propane unit, it doesn’t require much to do—load it in and then take it out. It takes 20 minutes to roast a batch of corn and we can do up to 80 [cobs] if I load it all the way up.

How have people responded so far to your corn stand?

Crisanto: They love it! Most of the people, once they have it and try it, they keep coming back.

Veronica: We still get a lot of new people … but they’ve already heard about it from other people and stop by and are excited to try it.

Crisanto: We would like to start participating in more large events to reach more people, but we don’t have the connections yet. We can cook a lot of corn!