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Wiener’s Circle Is Still Roasting Customers From Six Feet Away

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Now they’re offering FaceTime ordering and donating money to Black People Eats

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Wiener’s circle chicago
Come to me, said the spider to the flies.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Evelyn Morris has missed her customers at Wiener’s Circle during the pandemic. She’s spent nearly four decades working at the Lincoln Park landmark, quite possibly the most famous hot dog stand in Chicago. They’re known for taking a special approach to hospitality by yelling at customers. They call them names and make fun of their clothes, looks, and how they speak.

It’s pure theater for folks visiting for the first time. But for regulars, this is a long-observed ritual. The African-American women behind the counter have stood strong in Lincoln Park. And despite their outwardly abrasive demeanors, these workers are beloved. For these workers, the exchanges come from a loving place, Morris says. The adventures have been well documented, and have even begotten a television show.

Management just unveiled FaceTime ordering and they’re donating money to Black People Eat’s fund for Black-owned restaurants.

Early on during stay at home, Wiener’s Circle unveiled a YouTube video that mocked Trump advisor Jared Kushner. The ownership is not fan of the Trump administration, as demonstrated by the political commentary on the ever-changing marquee. The hot dog stand had been closed since mid-March.

In May, it reopened for takeout and delivery. For these orders customers can select “curbside abuse” in which Morris or another worker will bring out food and berate a customer. Customers could select abuse in four complementary varieties: “middle finger,” “mama jokes,” “YUPPIES,” or “millennials.”

A hot dog stand with customers.
They’ve moved the picnic table to use as a barrier.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

When targeting customers, the insults comes naturally. Staff never uses a script to keep the banter fresh and improvisational. Though Morris is ecstatic to be back managing the restaurant, it’s not the same.

“I can talk crap, but i can’t talk too much crap behind a mask,” she says.

Through the years, Wiener’s Circle has been a late-night destination for bar customers needing food before they go home and crash. With bars closed due to the novel coronavirus, the hot dog stand has focused on daytime business, closing at 8 p.m. A trip to Wiener’s Circle is special because guests never know what they’re going to see. One of Morris’s pet peeves is when clueless customers walk into the hot dog stand asking them what they should order.

“The fuck you mean? You’ve eaten at a hot dog stand before,” Morris says of naive customers. “Do what you want on your fucking hot dog.”

A woman in a face mask stands outside a hot dog stand talking to another woman across a red picnic table
This will turn out well.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

All joking aside, coming back to work has been a welcome distraction for Morris. Her older sister, Adrienne, was hospitalized. She has underlying conditions that have Morris worried. With that on her mind, it’s no surprise what Morris says is the dumbest thing a customer has asked her since they’ve reopened: Why are you wearing a mask?

“What the fuck have you been looking at? Haven’t you been watching TV?” Morris says. “You don’t know what the fuck is going on?”

“If you won’t put on your mask, I’m not serving your ass.”

Wiener’s Circle, 2622 N. Clark Street, online ordering available via DoorDash, Grubhub, Tock, or Uber Eats.

The Wiener's Circle

2622 North Clark Street, , IL 60614 (773) 477-7444 Visit Website