For a Winning Weiner, Don't Boil—Grill

As you enter The Weiner’s Circle at night you’re most likely to be greeted with a warm welcome like, “Wachyouwantbitch?” from the imposing, large, African-American woman behind the counter. Roberta “Poochie” Jackson does not share Danny Meyer’s hospitality philosophy. An innocent request for a drink can result in Poochie giving you a complimentary “chocolate milk shake” with the often equally rowdy patrons cheering and wondering if they’re in a hot dog joint or a topless bar.

If you’re not too intimidated to order, the move is a double char dog with everything. The traditional Chicago hot dog is fairly represented with one exception. A Vienna Beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun is “dragged through the garden,” that is with mustard, raw onions, neon-green relish, pickle spear, tomato slices and celery salt.

The departure from the purist version? The Weiner’s Circle char-grills its dogs rather than steaming them. A double char is simply two blackened dogs underneath all those veggies on one bun. This won’t make you give up on the original Nathan’s of Coney Island mustard and sauerkraut, but it’s arguably the best place to sample a true Chicago dog. Just don’t even think of asking for ketchup. As for my new girlfriend Poochie, her bark is definitely worse than her delicious bite.

The Weiner's Circle 2622 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL