As a rookie blogger, I'm a little tentative about writing about such a Chicago standard as The Wieners Circle (www.wienercircle.net). Some of you may have your own opinions, but for those of you that don't know, with their patented dogs, cheese fries, and "chocolate milkshakes" The Wiener Circle has become a Lincoln Park late night standard. Many of you may have been to or heard of Ed Debevic's and Dick's Last Resort where the atmosphere is set by staff members being rude to you, but Roberta Jackson and her crew put a whole new spin on the whole not so friendly banter thing.
The Wieners Circle is much more of a stand than a restaurant. There's a bunch of picnic tables outside, and the setup reminds me of a neighborhood late night custard stand, that is if that custard stand served up dogs with a side of hatin' on whitey. The key to this place is that there is no line, and whoever's the loudest jerk willing to cut the most people will get served first (don't feel bad though, that's how it works). So the general message is not to come here unless you like to push (and probably get pushed back). If you're light of heart and don't like hearing certain "phrases," you're better off going during the day.
Most of you know that I don't mix the meat and the cheese, so that meant no cheese fries for me, but I hear their pretty good. However, the food in general is nothing that special. The fries have a little crisp to them but from the excess of oil are definitely soggy. They're known for their Char Dog with everything or their burger, both of which are good for late night food, but are nothing special past that point. For the most part, the menu stays around $5 or less, excluding the "chocolate milkshakes" for $20. Also, don't be surprised if whatever change you have automatically ends up in the tip jar.
If you want a replacement for Antonio's then go to Ian's on Clark, but if you'd like to move on to the way Lincoln Park residents fill their late night pie holes then hit up the event that is The Wieners Circle. For $5 you can get a show and a yummy meal sure to leave a hole in your stomach with enough reserve oil to get you through your inevitable hangover.
Interesting side note: Roberta Jackson has made quite a living with her g-d given dog selling talent, enough so in fact to put a child through a Northwestern education.