The Wieners Circle

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Coordinates: 41°55′48″N 87°38′37″W / 41.93°N 87.643611°W / 41.93; -87.643611

The Wieners Circle
Wieners Circle IMG 2083.jpg
The Wieners Circle on North Clark in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago
Restaurant information
Food type Hot dog stand
City Lincoln Park, Chicago
State Illinois
Country United States
Other locations Las Vegas, Nevada [1]

The Wieners Circle is a hot dog stand on Clark street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, United States.[2] It is known for its Maxwell Street Char-dogs, hamburgers, cheese fries, and the mutual verbal abuse[3] between the employees and the customers during the late-weekend hours.

Food[edit]

A Wieners Circle hot dog with "the works"
the prices in 2013
'Trump Footlong'[4] on the menu in 2016
Two Trump Footlongs

The establishment is known for its char-grilled food, especially its hot dogs and hamburgers (commonly called char-dogs and char-burgers).[5] A Wiener Circle char dog with "the works" is a grilled Vienna Beef hot dog on a warm poppy seed bun, topped with mustard, onions, relish, dill pickle spears, tomato slices, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt.

History[edit]

The interior of the establishment, covered in graffiti (photographed in 2011).

The Weiners Circle opened for business in 1983.[6] Sometime in the early 1990s (circa 1992[7]) Larry Gold, one of the proprietors, called a drunk and distracted customer an "a**hole" in order to get his attention. This set off the late-night abuse culture of the restaurant. The atmosphere can range from playful to hostile.[8] The language used by both the staff and customers during these hours is notoriously foul and aggressive.[9] On the weekends, the establishment stays open as late as 5:00 am, drawing many drunken customers who have arrived from bars and clubs.[8]

The nightly tips are very high, and people have worked there for ten years or more.[8] The location of the hot dog stand is just north of what used to be the Wrightwood Hotel.[10] In 2008, the restaurant was briefly closed by health inspectors for not having hot running water where employees would wash their hands, and other food safety violations.[11]

In March 2016, the restaurant offered 3-inch 'Trump footlong' hot dogs.[12][13][14][15][16]

In media[edit]

One of the more famous employees is Roberta "Poochie" Jackson, who was featured (along with the restaurant) in a 2007 episode of the Showtime television version of the Chicago Public Radio program This American Life,[8] as well as an episode of Extreme Fast Food on the Travel Channel. In Chicago travel guides, The Wieners Circle is often extolled as a source for authentic Chicago-style hot dogs and its uniquely abrasive customer relations.[17] Journalist Catherine Price listed The Wieners Circle in her book 101 Places Not to See Before You Die, calling it "a microcosm of segregation in Chicago",[18] and commenting, "If our metric were 'places that make me sad about humanity,' late night at Wiener's Circle would have been at the top."[2]

The restaurant was featured in an episode of Insomniac with Dave Attell on Comedy Central in 2002.[episode needed]

The restaurant is the setting for a truTV reality game show.[19][20]

The Wieners Circle was featured in both radio and TV episodes of This American Life.[21]

The restaurant was the setting of a sketch featuring Jack McBrayer and Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog in the June 14, 2012 episode of the late night talk show Conan, which was the last in a week of shows taped in Chicago.[22]

The restaurant was featured in an episode of the Extreme Fast Food specials on the Travel Channel.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ vegas.eater.com/2014/5/16/6223225/updated-wieners-circle-is-bringing-the-sass-to-vegas
  2. ^ a b Borrelli, Christopher (June 20, 2010), "101 Places Not to See Before You Die", Chicago Tribune, Tribune Company, retrieved June 1, 2011 
  3. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "The Wiener's Circle, Chicago's rudest hot dog stand, is sold". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  4. ^ "The Wiener's Circle celebrates Trump's Chicago visit with 3-inch hot dogs". March 11, 2016. 
  5. ^ Berg, Eric N. (July 25, 1990), "At the Nation's Table", The New York Times, The New York Times Company, retrieved June 1, 2011 
  6. ^ "Wiener's Circle opening in Las Vegas". 
  7. ^ "The Wieners Circle". 
  8. ^ a b c d This American Life. "Act II, In Wiener Veritas, from Pandora's Box", No. 6, season 1, April 26, 2007.
  9. ^ McMurry, Joel F. S. (November 21, 2009), "The Wieners Circus", STOCKYARD, Stockyard Media, retrieved June 1, 2011 
  10. ^ Apel, Melanie Ann (2002), Lincoln Park, Chicago, Arcadia Publishing, p. 26, ISBN 0-7385-2016-0  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Staff (December 19, 2008), "Health Dept. Shuts Down Wiener's Circle", Chicago Breaking News, Tribune Company, retrieved June 20, 2012 
  12. ^ RedEye. "The Wiener's Circle welcomes Donald Trump with 3-inch hot dog deal". redeyechicago.com. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  13. ^ "Donald dogs: Famous Chicago eatery welcomes Trump with tiny wieners (PHOTOS)". RT International. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  14. ^ "The Wiener's Circle welcomes Donald Trump with 3-inch Chicago hot dog". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  15. ^ "The Wiener's Circle celebrates Trump's Chicago visit with 3-inch hot dogs". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  16. ^ "Wiener's Circle rolls out 3-inch 'Trump Footlong'". March 10, 2016. 
  17. ^ Janssen, Kim (May 16, 2016). "Woman Hurt at Wieners Circle Can Sue over Unruly Atmosphere, Court Rules", Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  18. ^ Price, Catherine (2010), 101 Places Not to See Before You Die, HarperCollins, pp. 137–138, ISBN 0-06-178776-0 
  19. ^ Abernethy, Samantha (March 16, 2012). "This Exists: A Reality Show About Wiener's Circle". Chicagoist.
  20. ^ The Wieners Circle, 2012-02-01, retrieved 2016-03-12 
  21. ^ "A Night at the Wiener Circle". This American Life. August 23, 1996. 
  22. ^ "The Day Lake Michigan Got Renamed What It Should've Been Called in the First Place – Lake Illinois!". Conan. Season 2. Episode 104. June 14, 2012. TBS. 
  23. ^ "Travel Channel Wins Lawsuit Over Filming at Racy Hot Dog Stand". 

External links[edit]