Humans of Wrigleyville: "Nuts On Clark" and the Kenney family

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If you pop just north of Wrigley Field, you'll find one of Chicago's famous snack shops.

"You have to come to 'Nuts On Clark.' You have to come in because it's the best popcorn around," remarked Ted Reed who always stops in the shop on Chicago visits before heading home to Detroit.

"It started with the caramelcorn recipe and it went to our fabulous cheesecorn and other flavors," recalled "Nuts On Clark" owner Estelle Kenney.

There's so much to munch on that the snack stacks are almost as tall as she. Kenney's husband Herbert bought the building decades ago. Originally they were going to use it as an apartment and an art studio for Estelle.

"The neighborhood at the time was kind of dilapidated. We were pioneers, that's why we got the building so cheap," she said.

Then Herbert came up with a nutty idea; Estelle bought in right away.

"People want nuts, this is a good idea, and that's it," she explained matter-of-factly.

So Estelle the artist named the store, designed the logo, and has been in charge ever since. Just ask her kids Carla Kenney-Phillips and Robert Kenney who's the boss and they'll immediately point to mom.

"Nuts On Clark" started with a handful of choices before eventually mixing in other treats, both savory and sweet. The store-which resembles a pantry stuffed with snacks-features chocolate covered nuts and fruit plus a variety of popcorn choices including cheesecorn, with "real Wisconsin cheddar. We melt this and then we put it on our corn," demonstrated Robert Kenney in the flagship store's kitchen, where they still make small batches fresh.

That gourmet popcorn is so tasty that Ted Reed's son Preston estimated his cheesecorn will last 3 minutes."

Riding the brand's popularity, the Kenneys have opened stores at Union Station, both Chicago airports, and sports venues across the city. But they've always kept that original shop on Clark Street, enjoying the neighborhood's rejuvenation.

"It's a very exciting neighborhood. There's every kind of individual represented living in the neighborhood," Estelle Kenney said.

She's a part of that group, bringing a taste of Chicago to the world.

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