Quirky Attraction: The Wieners Circle

wieners circle logo

The Wieners Circle
Location: Chicago, Illinois (2622 N Clark)
When to visit: For the authentic experience, go on Friday or Saturday night after midnight
Cost: Around $10 for a meal (an extra $20 for the chocolate shake, and don’t you dare forget the tip!)
Time needed to enjoy: 30-45 minutes
Website: www.wienercircle.net (unofficial)

If you’ve ever gone to a hot dog stand and thought, “This experience would be so much better if only the person taking my order would viciously berate me while serving my food,” then the Wieners Circle in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago is for you.

Visiting the Wieners Circle in Chicago

Oh yes, the Wieners Circle is a Chicago institution. During the day, it’s a normal little hot dog shop, but on weekend late night shifts, it turns into a free-for-all, where profanities are spewed left and right by the sassy women behind the counter and the customers waiting in line. Many customers show up for the abuse because it’s oddly strange and fun. One of my balding friends gets called “Rogaine” by the staff.

wiener circle chicago hot dog stand

Not everyone gets the same level of verbal abuse. I’ve been disappointed I wasn’t yelled at more – all I got was the forceful inquiry, “Where my tip at?!” You can guarantee yourself some insults by not being totally on the ball. When my friend’s order was ready but he didn’t hear his name being called, he was on the receiving end of some screaming: “Hey you, hairy motherfucker in the Members Only jacket, get over here!”

Some customers initiate the abuse by yelling at the servers as soon as they walk in, which leads to a hilarious back-and-forth contest of insults. While the crudeness may not be for everyone, it’s all in good fun.

The Wieners Circle is not afraid to get political. They’ve been vicious about roasting Donald Trump. First, they mocked the size of his hands with a 3-inch “footlong” Trump dog, then after Trump’s unfortunate immigration comments, they changed their marquee to read, “People from all countries are welcome at this shit hole!”

The Wieners Circle Chocolate Shake

If you’re feeling really adventurous, for $20 you can order the chocolate shake – and no, it’s not a drink. It involves the large women behind the counter taking their tops off. I have yet to witness one of these, but I hear they’re epic.

The Wieners Circle is the perfect capper to a drunken Chicago late night on the town. Here’s a short sneak peek of what you might expect. Would you visit the Wieners Circle?


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About the Author

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based journalist and blogger who seeks out offbeat attractions and awesome destinations around the world. He has been featured in Travel + Leisure, Connect Magazine, Matador Travel, and the Washington Post.

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  1. Haha this sounds crazy! I can’t believe people pay $20 for the privilege of the Chocolate Shake. This is one of those crazy word-of-mouth places where I’ll bet the entertainment is better than the food itself, not always a bad thing 🙂

  2. acutally julia, the food is really good. they char grill their hot dogs and their cheese fries are some of the best!

  3. I remember there were peculiar restaurants like this in Oklahoma as well, where you’d be publicly and loudly berated or embarrassed by the staff. They were quite popular. Odd tradition this 🙂

  4. Best form of street theatre I can think of! Now, I only wonder why you didin’t order the chocolate shake?? Are you chicken shit my man???

  5. This has GOT to be the best quirky attraction you’ve featured thus far! I’m not sure how I would handle the insults, but as long as I knew what was going on beforehand I think I’d be okay. I can only imagine what goes through the minds of people who wander in there unaware, though….

  6. This American Life (Public Radio and TV show in the US) featured this food stop back in the 90s I believe – Host Ira Glass spent an overnight at the location. Great read/video at: http://goo.gl/N3oaQ

    Glad to see it’s still a hot spot!

  7. When something like this works, it’s an absolute blast. When someone (like the sandwich shop lady in my office building in Singapore) tries it and it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work.
    I don’t like hotdogs but I’d go to this hotdog stand to listen to the abuse. I like sandwiches but I won’t go near the freak at the sandwich shop!

    1. Oh yes, I wouldn’t stand for that kind of abuse if it wasn’t at a place that specifically markets themselves that way.

  8. Oh my – this sounds like an interesting place for sure! I’m still on the fence as far as it being somewhere I’d actually like to *visit* but I’d definitely like to look inside once in my life. 😉


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