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DeKalb's glorious beer nugget | Under Rocks podcast

 An order of beer nuggets from Ski's All American Pub in Sycamore
Austin Cliffe
An order of beer nuggets from Ski's All American Pub in Sycamore

Chicago has its deep-dish pizza, Philly has its cheesesteak, and DeKalb?

Beer nuggets.

Join the Under Rocks crew, plus special guests, as we explore the rich, tangy history of the little lump of pizza dough that could — and did — and still does — warm the hearts and fill the stomachs of generations of DeKalb residents and Northern Illinois University students.

In this episode, we get the beer nugget's origin story from Joe Walsh, who claims his J.P. Hannagan's employees not only invented the fried pizza dough bits dipped in marinara, but came up with their unforgettable name (which he registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 1985).

We visit Pizza Villa, the only beer nugget pioneer still standing, and spend a few minutes with the very busy C.J. Finn.

And we gather a panel of expert nugget eaters in WNIJ's Studio A to taste the magic from five local restaurants: Pizza Pros, Ski's, Fatty's, Pizza Villa, and Dough Brothers.

Thanks to guest judges Brian Chennell, Grace and Staci Hoste, and Austin Cliffe.

Drop us a message at rocks@niu.edu and let us know who makes your favorite beer nuggets. While you're at it, drop us some story ideas about what's weird, interesting, or just deserves a little more attention in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Under Rocks is produced at WNIJ, on the campus of Northern Illinois University.

Copyright 2021 WNIJ Northern Public Radio. To see more, visit WNIJ Northern Public Radio.

Spencer Tritt
Dan Libman
Susan’s parents should have known she’d end up in radio: her favorite toys were tape recorders, cameras, notepads, and books. Many years later, she’s an award-winning reporter at her favorite radio station. Formerly WNIJ’s News Director, she asked to return to the role of full-time reporter/anchor/utility player in 2010 (less paperwork, more reporting!). Her #1 goal is to tell the most compelling stories in the fewest words possible…all the better if a little humor can be thrown into the mix. It should come as no surprise, then, that she can whip up a haiku for any occasion. She also enjoys the Detroit Tigers, learning pioneer skills (Gardening, canning, and the like. Just in case.), traveling with friends, and pretending she’s going to get around to playing her theremin.
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