Yes, from the outside it looks like your average dime-a-dozen hot dog stand. Yes, the servers will be short with you and rush you into ordering. Yes, you’re likely to encounter many boisterous twenty-something drunks late on a Friday or Saturday night.
But all of that doesn’t stop their Char Cheddar Dog from being the best hot dog in the city. Stop in during the afternoon and you’ll be fine. Besides, a little personality never hurt anyone, right?
The restaurant is very dirty, the food handlers do not wear gloves while working with food and in the summer you can see all the grease on the sidewalk in front of this hot dog stand near their picnic tables--no effort is made to clean up their act. I'm surprised the Board of Health has not cited them. Eat at your own risk. If you are a tourist and want a better hot dog in a cleaner environment--then go to gold Coast Dogs or Portillos or a host of others that do a better job than this poor imitation.
Favorite Dish: fries
The Wiener's Circle is a justly famous hot dog place in Lincoln Park on Clark Street that stays open 'til 5am. Mr. Connolly & I popped by here during our trip last November but, regretfully, I did not try one because I was so sick at the time. I did try one of the fries, though, and they were great - hot & crispy! They serve these in a HUGE mound. You definitely feel like you're getting your money's worth here!!
As the Mr. is from New York (he was born in Queens and lived in NYC his late teens/early 20s) he feels he is a true hot dog aficionado and these do pass muster for him (although NOTHING, he declares, beats a real New York hot dog with "red soyce")!
Came back this past June to try one and it was absolutely perfect: char-grilled hot dog with a light smear of mustard, tomato slices, dill pickle, neon green pickle relish (a signature touch), with a poppy seed dusting on top along with "sport" peppers (see 2nd photo).
Terry's dog came with mustard, that neon green pickle relish, and grilled onions (see 3rd photo).
Photos: June 2009 & November 2008
Favorite Dish: Char-grilled dog and fries; their root beer is delicious, too!
Ok. So this is more of a stand than a restaurant, but it is a true Chicago institution. Be sure to step up and yell your order. While the wait staff are supposed to be known for their rudeness, I have found them to be more inattentive than abusive. There are no restrooms. The seating consists of picnic benches out on the street and a counter inside.
Favorite Dish: The hotdog to order is the chardog with the works. A dog with the works comes loaded: two juicy dill pickles, three ripe slices of tomato, and plenty of raw onion and relish. This should be ordered with fries (ah) and a cold lemonade. Remember- the true Chicago Dog is NOT eaten with ketchup!!!!
One of the best hotdog stands in the city - if you are in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and want to grab a hot dog - or better yet, a Char Cheddar Burger , you cannot do better than this place. No real seating except for some picnic tables outside, but my kids love the place.
This place is legendary as a late, late night hangout after the bars close, but dont let that deter you from bringing the kids here during reasonable hours. The workers here abuse the drunks and give quite a show later in the night.
Just dont order a chocolate milkshake after midnight unless you know what you are doing....
Favorite Dish: Char Cheddar Burger for me , and the kids love the Cheddar Fries. I'm not sure if its real chese, but they have this, um, vat of orange stuff they ladle out on your grilled burger, fries, cheddar dog etc. Its a little glop of heaven.
In my opinion, one of the "big lies" about Chicago food is that Weiner Circle is a "do not miss" place, if you want to get a Chicago-style hot dog.
Resident (born and raised) Chicagoans aren't likely to be found eating in this place. It's dirty, I believe the food is of questionable quality (and/or prepared in unsanitary conditions) and the employees are surley and not well-trained.
The place opened maybe 20 years ago and was truly one of the better places and was so rated in all of the publications. However, the original owners sold it and the succeeding owners drastically changed it, but they continue to make reference to the good reviews the place received under prior ownership.
I've traveled long and far in the Chicago-area looking for good hot dogs, and, after two visits to Weiner Circle, I'm of the opinion it's an awful place
Favorite Dish: Eat nothing here . . . go to Byron's or one of the other good places in the city if you want a good hot dog. In the suburbs, try Gene & Jude's on River Road in Franklin Park (maybe it's Shiller Park).
This place has very good hamburgers, hotdogs, french fries and alot of attitude(but in a fun way). I came here late at night saw how the patrons and staff were yelling at each other . I thought I it was funny. But I found it was part of restaurant. The have the best Cheese fries here. This is place is good for a late night meal. The is quick, high quality, hot and very good.
Favorite Dish: The cheese fries
the char-cheddar burger