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Violence Breaks Out at Wieners Circle and McDonald’s Over Mask and Vax Policies

Also, Portillo’s unveils its first takeout-only location and a critic visits an al pastor star in the suburbs

A woman in a face mask stands outside a hot dog stand talking to another woman across a red picnic table
The Wieners Circle has made no secret of its policies about masks and vaccines.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Despite the news this week that the state’s mask mandate will be lifted at the end of February and that Chicago’s proof-of-vaccination requirement at bars and restaurants may not be far behind, two customers at Chicago fast food spots were not encouraged and resorted to violence this week.

On Wednesday night at the Wieners Circle, the Lakeview hot dog stand known for its rude late-night service and opinionated marquee, a customer threw snow at an employee who asked him to wear a mask and then returned with a brick, which he threw through the front door. On Thursday morning, WGN-9 reports, a customer at the McDonald’s at Chicago and State in River North swung a chair at a security guard who asked to show proof of vaccination, per a city mandate.

The incident at the Wieners Circle, as well as the license plate of the getaway car, was captured by security cameras and posted on social media. “The lesson here is to not be a little bitch and throw a tantrum because you’re asked to wear a mask,” the Wieners Circle posted on Instagram.

Over the past two days, the Wieners Circle has repaired the front door and, with the help of its loyal social media followers, has been trying to track down the perpetrator and demand an apology and $400 for the cost of repairs to the door. “If you crack the code before the ⁦@Chicago_Police⁩ we will throw you a party or give you 2 row 5 center bulls tickets,” the Wieners Circle tweeted yesterday. This morning, the management of the hot dog stand called the phone number registered to the getaway car. “The person that answered was threatening, and denied responsibility,” they tweeted. “indicated we weren’t the first to call, sounds like the #wienersleuths calling a lot on our behalf.”

The sleuths have decided that the brick-thrower was probably not Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who the hot dog stand mocked for his anti-vax stance back in November, because of Rodgers’s lackluster postseason passing record. “Mr. regular season can’t throw snowballs accurately in February,” the Wieners Circle tweeted.

CBS Chicago asked Marney White, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, for her insights. “People are tired,” she said, “and I think of this as combat fatigue, really.”

Portillo’s debuts first takeout-only outpost in Joliet

Chicago street food chain Portillo’s this month opened its first takeout-only location in suburban Joliet, according to ABC Chicago. Equipped with a counter for pickup orders and three takeout lanes but no space for dine-in patrons, the new location could serve as a model for major expansion. Portillo’s went public in 2021 and confirmed plans to open more than 600 restaurants in the U.S. over the next 25 years. It currently operates 67 locations across nine states.

A critic goes west for a suburban taco truck’s lauded al pastor

Tribune critic Nick Kindelsperger ventures to west suburban Maywood to retrieve “one of [his] favorite new al pastor tacos” — a bold assertion given Chicago’s vibrant and ever-growing taco scene — not from a restaurant, but a big black food truck. The tacos are the creation of Taquizas Tacosteño, the mobile operation from spouses Ivan Salinas and Jesica Astudillo, who originally sold al pastor tacos out of their garage. The pair load marinated pork onto a trompo where “a high flame chars the outside of the meat, crisping up the exterior while leaving the interior juicy,” Kindelsperger writes. “Each al pastor taco ($2.75) features a handful of this flavor-packed and red-tinged pork, along with slivers of pineapple, which adds a fresh pop of sweetness to the savory and slightly spicy pork.”

A sip of V-Day schadenfreude, anyone?

A nearly 50-year-old Lakeview cafe is tapping into the timeless phenomenon of celebrity breakups in a very 2022 format: for Valentine’s Day, the Coffee and Tea Exchange at 3311 N. Broadway in Lakeview is featuring a “Thank You, Next” menu with caffeinated concoctions themed around famous fissures between the stars. The Tribune ranks its offerings, ranging from the Ariana Grande + Pete Davidson with “cheerful twinkles of pomegranate enveloped in a throbbing wash of dark chocolate” to the Selena Gomez + Justin Bieber, dismissed due to “faint tastes of strawberry and Chocolate Milano syrup, but soooo derivative.”

Wiener Circle

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

Portillo's

520 West Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 667-4560 Visit Website

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