DIXON, Ill. (WREX) — Whether you want an authentic Chicago hotdog or deep dish pizza, Sow Belly's has you covered.
"Gyros, Italian beef, pizzas, hotdogs, polishes, burgers, we've got all of your Chicago favorites," says manager Kenton Battaglia.
The family-run restaurant celebrates 10 years in business this July.
Though the journey to where they are started back in college with Battaglia's dad.
"Our father went to Purdue University and he had a football teammate at Purdue, who was a big guy, whose nick name was Sow Belly."
His friends nickname sparked an idea for his senior research project, where business students had to come up with and develop a business plan. His plan, a Chicago-style joint named Sow Belly's, would eventually become a reality.
"Fast forward about 35 years, found a little location in Dixon, Illinois and here we are 10 years later."
The restaurant has had its ups and down over the years, but none like what happened in 2020. As other local restaurants were hurting badly, Sow Belly's wasn't.
"We are carry-out and delivery only, we were built for a pandemic," says Battaglia.
Phones were ringing off the hook and business nearly doubled.
As their success grew, Battaglia and his siblings say they saw no other choice than to give back to the community whose supported them.
"Driving downtown Dixon and seeing all the bars closed, it hit home. It could've easily been us."
So, they decided to donate meals to health care workers, firefighters, police officers and other essential workers through out the Dixon area.
"Knowing that we're helping them out as much as the work they're doing, its definitely the least we can do," says Battaglia.
He says the Dixon community also joined in on their efforts. Customers would come up and donate money to give a certain amount of meals. From there, Sow Belly's started matching donations and was able to give more.
"I was an honor and a privilege to do that," says Battaglia, "It was something we knew we needed to do and we're absolutely glad to do it."
If you want to grab the big taste of Chicago in small town Dixon, Sow Belly's is open from 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. on Sundays.