CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s been a North Side institution for years, and now it’s getting national attention for both its food and the way it’s served.
It’s not for the faint of heart, but CBS 2’s Bill Kurtis waded in to the Wieners Circle.
The Wieners Circle, 2622 N. Clark St., is a squat building with red picnic tables in front, dwarfed in the shadow by a four-story graystone building that once housed the Wrightwood Hotel directly to the south. It shares the block with an array of upscale tenants – including a wine bar.
But while it may not look like much from the outside, once you enter the doors, you’re struck by the smell of hot dogs on the grill and the sound of … well, the sound of chaos.
“You want fries, fool?” the manager, Roberta “Poochie” Jackson, asks one customer.
Co-owner Barry Nemerow says the trash-talking keeps customers on their toes, and keeps the long line moving.
The behavior got the attention of TV executives who created a reality show around the hot dog stand and its colorful crew.
“It’s improved business you know, very much so. People come in, they really like seeing the characters behind the counter,” Nemerow says.
But it’s not all fun and games. Kurtis was put to work behind the counter and was threatened with firing if he didn’t work the grill properly.
The Wieners Circle was featured on the “This American Life” radio program back in 1996 and the short-lived TV version 11 year later. The hot dog stand was also featured on the Dave Attell “Insomniac” Show on Comedy Central, and “Extreme Fast Food” on the Travel Chanel.
Now, “Wiener’s Cirlce” airs on Tuesday nights on the TruTV cable channel. Be warned, though. There is plenty of salty language on the TV show and at the hot dog stand, especially in the wee hours of the morning.