The sign outside declares this place to be home of the char-broiled cheddarburger, and a comely patty of beef it is. But the name is The Wiener’s Circle, a typically Chicagoan bit of culinary word play that lets you know what’s really important. Here are seriously good Chicago-style hot dogs, served in steamy soft Rosen-brand poppy seed buns and topped with flawless condiments.
The major decision to make, dog-wise, is whether you want it boiled or charred. At many of Chicago’s red-hot joints, we recommend boiled or steamed because it yields the plumpest, tautest skin; but here at the Wiener’s Circle, charred is the way to go. Cooked on the grate just behind the order counter, the char dogs get a good crunch from the flames. For us, this rugged tube steak nestled in its super-tender bun is the essence Chicago.
Wiener’s Circle French fries are among the best: crisp and fatty, impossible to stop eating.
Dining is either at counter space inside or picnic tables overlooking Clark Street. Orders are taken and food delivered by one of several gals at the open-kitchen window. “Char Dog!” one calls out to a customer, using what he ordered as his name, then continuing her conversation as the bill is paid by calling him sweetheart, honey, and darling. However, pet names are an exception to the rule of rudeness that prevails. The Wiener’s Circle is famous for a staff that more often speak to customers the way Cubs fans yell at umpires who have made a controversial call.