Chicago’s legendary Wiener’s Circle has stayed closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. That means the staff, known for putting on a show and insulting naive customers at the Lincoln Park hot dog stand, has some extra time on their hands. As a way to make sure Chicagoans know they still care during the outbreak, on Friday the restaurant released a new YouTube video series. The Wiener’s Circle News is a mock newscast full of profanity.
Staff, including Poochie Jackson, read off a script and tackle current events. For example. the video rips on Jared Kushner — President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor — for his role during the response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. There’s also sports and weather reports, all presented in signature Wiener’s Circle style. This isn’t an all-ages show, and it’s not fair and balanced.
A spokesperson says they’ve got more episodes and the release dates are TBD. The staff wrote the script after marketing gave them a few headlines and prompts. The goal was for them to riff in the same manner they riff with customers at the hot dog stand.
The 37-year-old Wiener’s Circle is a Lincoln Park icon that stayed open late night and was briefly the subject of a reality TV show. In more recent years, the restaurant’s marquee has become a space for jokes that rip on the Trump administration and laud the Chicago Cubs. The restaurant’s current owners include Ari Levy, son of Chicago restaurateur Larry Levy of Levy Restaurants.
And in other news...
- On Friday, Stan’s Donuts announced the closure for its original location, a 55-year-old shop outside of LA. There are nine Chicago locations (plus three in the suburbs). They’re all run independently of the original by Rich Labriola and his team. A Stan’s spokesperson said they’ll continue to operate in Chicago and remain unaffected by the LA closure. Here’s the company’s statement:
“We are saddened by the closure of our friend Stan Berman’s classic Los Angeles donut shop, and we are keeping him and his team in our hearts as we continue to serve donuts inspired by his partnership to the Chicago community.
During these hard times, Stan’s Donuts & Coffee will remain open for delivery and carry-out as well as national shipping through our Gold Belly page. We look forward to bringing donut fans everywhere new flavors, new offers and the highest quality of classic and creative donuts. For more information about hours, specials, and delivery, please visit https://stansdonuts.com/.”
- Bo Fowler — the chef and owner of Bixi Beer, Fat Willy’s Rib Shack, and Owen & Engine (all in Logan Square) — is recovering after undergoing quadruple bypass heart surgery last week. The chef needed the surgery after suffering a heart attack. She’s posted updates on her Facebook page.
- Avondale’s 50-year-old Eastern European restaurant Little Bucharest Bistro will not reopen after the pandemic, according to owner Branko Podrumedic, who first debuted the restaurant in the spring of 1970. As a tribute to his loyal community of customers, Podrumedic and his family will give away free cabbage rolls to hungry locals on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3661 N. Elston Avenue. Little Bucharest was previously slated to reconcept in 2019, but plans ultimately fell through.
- Greek Easter is about a week away, and Taxim — one of the city’s best Greek spots — is offering carryout and delivery for the holiday. Preorder on the phone for a $150 meal the serves two. The special menu includes traditional mahlepi-scented tsoureki bread, red eggs, mayiritsa soup (lamb offal soup), arugula salad, house-made phyllo leek pies (prassopita), and charcoal-roasted lamb served with potatoes and cracked wheat, tzatziki, house-made pita and bread, and loukoumades (mastic-flavored fried dumplings) for dessert. Call (773) 252-1558. The restaurant’s regular menu is also available.
- Chicago restaurants including Same Same Thai, Roots Pizza, and Serbian spot 016 Restaurant have teamed up with Lincoln Square’s Common Pantry to provide free meals for Chicagoans in need, according to Block Club Chicago. The “I Am Your Neighbor” program allows donors to “open a tab” so people experiencing financial instability can get free carryout meals. More details about the program are available on Common Pantry’s website.