Review: The Wiener’s CircleAuthor: indianapoliseater | Filed under: Food Reviews, Location: Chicago, IL, On The Road, Recommended: Independent
The Wiener’s Circle
2622 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614
A while back, I saw a segment on this place on one of the Travel Channel’s many food shows and I was hooked. I mean, what could be better than late night hot dogs, the city of Chicago and “entertainment”? So, on a recent trip to Chicago for a Cubs game, some friends and I decided to give it a shot at about 10:00 p.m. (admittedly early in the night if you watch the above linked segment).
What I Got: Double Char Dog (Chicago-style) $4.75
Before I get into the hot dog’s taste, yes I know that putting ketchup on a hot dog is considered Communist, so sue me. I like ketchup.
As for Char Dog itself, it was two Vienna beef hot dogs (the best kind) split down the middle and then charred on a flat top grill. The dogs were then topped with what seemed to be a chunky homemade relish, peppers, tomatoes, onions, mustard, celery salt and a pickle spear. All of this was served on a poppy seed bun, just like you would expect from a traditional Chicago-style hot dog.
In terms of taste, the hot dogs were meaty and tender like you would expect from a Vienna beef hot dog, but I can’t say that I’m a fan of the char flavor as it made the skin taste crunchy and somewhat burnt. I like my hot dogs to be cooked (obviously), but the char flavor kind of detracted from the overall taste of the dog in my mind. The toppings were semi-fresh and I have to admit, I really liked the what seemed to be homemade relish as it was chunky and flavorful. The only other complaint I have about this dog (and Chicago-style dogs in general) is that they get so overwhelmed with all the toppings that they fall apart all over the place while you are eating them and make a huge mess. Instead of taking in all the flavors at once as I’m sure is intended, you end up compartmentalizing everything because you have to pick up the toppings that have fallen off and eat them separately.
Would I Buy It Again? Yes, I would. The price is reasonable and the dog, while not the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten, was a tasty ending to a great day of drinking and watching baseball.
But, you don’t primarily go to The Wiener’s Circle for the food, although its taste is a nice added benefit. You go to The Wiener’s Circle for the same reason that Travel Channel profiled it (see the prior linked segment). Led by Poochie Jackson and her co-workers, the staff here is “salty” to say the least and I definitely took part in the back and forth that they show in the Travel Channel segment.
Among other things, Poochie, the staff and myself discussed my looks (I tried claiming I was a former child model for Osh Kosh B’gosh), Poochie’s genitalia (this was not my choice as she brought it up; I would have rather discussed the weather or ANYTHING else) and chocolate shakes (check out the video to see what I mean; I didn’t see one by the way). What was funniest was when Poochie saw a kid and his family come in and told me to behave. I know that Poochie doesn’t know me and doesn’t know that I would not be a problem (I had already seen the kid and had turned my language more G-rated), so having this very crude woman tell me to behave might be the highlight of my life.
So, if you are ever in the Wrigley Field/Lincoln Park area, are looking for a late night bite to eat that is pretty tasty and don’t find R-rated entertainment offensive, I would recommend this place. You will definitely enjoy it and be entertained.
By the way, if you want to know what I mean by R-rated, go to YouTube and do a search for The Wiener’s Circle. I won’t link anything here in order to keep this blog somewhat family friendly, but there are PLENTY of videos on there that people have taken on their visits that will both amuse and amaze you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you though.