Serving up high-quality street food with a side of insults and now booze too!
There must be very few hot dog stands around the world with the same fame as Wieners Circle, let alone any to have had its own reality TV show. The Lincoln Park stand and its beloved Chicago-style hot dogs have become a staple of the Windy City since opening in 1983, but it’s the tongue-in-cheek barrage of insults that have gone a long way in boosting the stand’s infamy.
Now the popular late-night spot has opened a brand-new space after undergoing extensive renovations for much of this year. While replacing pipes, windows and improving the overall functionality, the most exciting news by far is that Wieners Circle has turned its parking lot into an 800-square-foot patio and added a bar serving alcohol. In addition to the dogs and fries, new items like boozy milkshakes, draft beers and cocktails can now be found on the menu, including the popular “Wiener’s Slammer” which consists of bourbon, sloe gin, orange juice, and more.
After closing at the start of the year, many worried about the iconic stand’s fate only for manager Evelyn Morris to reveal that extensive renovations were underway and it would open over summer. The Delta variant and supply chain problems caused unforeseen delays and the stand was then mooted to open in early October. Morris, who has worked at Wieners Circle for over 30 years, gave assurances that food and service wouldn’t change, and neither would the front facade and iconic sign.
The hot dog stand previewed some of the additions over Halloween weekend back in October with one of their typical holiday overhauls. The restaurant’s sign read “Krusty Burger”, staff were dressed as characters from “The Simpsons” and the new bar space had been remodeled as “Moe’s Tavern” selling “Duff Pilsner” on draft.
Now officially open for the first time since December 2020, guests can properly enjoy the new renovations. More than twelve new tables and six overhead heaters can now be found in the new back bar where the parking lot was once located. There is also a basketball hoop and management plans to eventually create a space for kids to play games like four square. As expected, designers haven’t touched the front of the restaurant and the stand has kept its “rugged look” that Morris assured would remain.
There are also now four unique unisex restrooms paying homage to the stand’s long-time workers as well as a “podcast room” for private events and karaoke.
The exciting development could be a game-changer for late-night revelers who stop off on their way home now that the stand is selling draft beer and boozy slushies in a comfortable, spacious patio.
For those less versed in the Wieners Circle experience, a quick watch of the time Wieners Circle appeared on Conan will provide you with a good idea of what the hot dog stand is all about. To give you a rough idea, Wieners Circles’ own Instagram page reads “serving up high-quality street food with a side of insults” while a Wikipedia page dedicated to the iconic hot dog stand notes that it’s well known for its “mutual verbal abuse”.
Rumor has it one of the proprietors in the early 1990s called a drunk customer an “asshole” to get his attention which then set about a culture of late-night abuse between customers and staff. With the stand remaining open into the early hours, drunk customers have long gathered for some late-night food and a slice of the action.
The tongue-in-cheek vulgarity has become the stand’s defining characteristic and has motivated years of Wieners Circle engaging in political satire. Some will recall the restaurant offering 3-inch “Trump footlong” hot dogs back in 2016 or their 2017 advertisement that read “Paris Accord compliant covfefe”.
[Featured image from Twitter / @AmalShal27]