“Damn, you drop ash from your dick when you slide through your old ass boxers? You be up there smoking cigarettes in your bed, motherfucker?”
This is how Roberta “Poochie” Jackson, a longtime employee of the Chicago hot dog stand Wiener’s Circle, talks to a young man in a black Patagonia jacket and Sperry boots at 1am on a Saturday.
It’s not the typical greeting you’d find in a customer service manual, but this Lincoln Park joint isn’t your typical restaurant. People don’t just come for the food -- they come, and stay, for the entertainment: a staff of kitchen workers who hurl profane insults at every customer with the guts to eat there.
“You be up there smoking in bed, you motherfucker,” Poochie sasses, after the guy meekly responds with a “shut up!” “It don’t be cigarettes,” says another employee, line cook JB, standing in the swinging doorway to the kitchen. “It be fucking blunts.”
“Blunts, cigarettes, they all still got ashes. Ashes still stink, motherfucker,” Poochie yells. The customer just smiles and waits for his food among the throng of late-night customers.
“Next!” yells Poochie, or the “Queen of Wiener's Circle backtalk,” as one manager puts it. To get roasted by her and the other employees of this legendary spot, which stays open till 5am on weekends, is somewhat of an honor. If they deem you worthy of their time -- and sense that you can take a verbal beating -- you’ll get a tapestry of profanity and insults with your hot dog order. These are some of the best insult comics you’ll find in the Second City.