Anyone who has ever stepped up to the counter at Chicago food joint The Wieners Circle knows to expect a little bit of vulgarity from the person taking the order. It’s part of the charm of the local institution, where workers poke fun at the customers, often with expletive-laced rants during late nights of slinging hot dogs, burgers and cheese fries.
Now, it has a social media spot likely to shock those who have never visited the stand in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Warning: even if working from home, watching this one will require some headphones if anyone else is around. (Even the bleeped version of the spot is not one for young ears.)
The video begins much like many other montages released during the coronavirus pandemic, even opening with a voiceover saying “in these uncertain times” as images of Chicago appear on the screen, including the empty lakefront, downtown streets and the massive Trump International Hotel & Tower. It goes on to discuss how people are longing for the contact we used to have. Then, as people in face masks appear while the voiceover says “we just want someone to tell us everything will be ok,” the spot breaks from the expected coronavirus script.
“What the F--- you want?!” employee Poochie Jackson says after pulling off her own mask, going on to insult the man who is ordering from The Wieners Circle.
We then see that instead of ordering at the counter, the “fat, round Richie Cunningham” (only part of her description of the customer) is placing his request through FaceTime. The stand expanded its ordering capabilities, setting up the number (773) BITCHES to take FaceTime orders and taking more traditional online orders through Tock, Grubhub and Uber Eats. Still, even those adhere to Wiener Circle's characteristically crass vibe, with menus showing options for free curbside abuse: Middle Finger, Mama Jokes, Yuppies and Millennials.
“People just want something to smile about," Manager Evelyn Morris said in a statement. "And apparently hearing us call them yuppy-ass bitches makes ‘em smile. Even though you can’t see their fuckin’ mouths behind their masks."
Gordy Sang and Brian Siedband are the creative team behind the spot.
The video isn’t the only way the 37-year-old shop is getting its messages out. The shop has long used its letterboard sign to display social justice messages and to poke fun at people including President Trump. In late May, its sign read: I can’t breathe, I can’t jog, I can’t kneel, I can’t watch birds. More recently, it tweeted an image of its sign reading Black Lives Matter.
The Wieners Circle says it is donating to the Chicago Community Covid-19 Response Fund and the Chicago Black-Owned Restaurant Relief Fund.