CHICAGO – A hot dog and fries can sometimes be so much more than just a hot dog and fries.
That was the case last week when the owners of The Wiener’s Circle stepped in Lincoln Park delivered food to a group of 60 migrants who have been eating mostly cold sandwiches since their arrival Chicago on December 26, on a bus sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and were greeted by sub-zero temperatures.
“What better way to welcome them than with a Chicago-style hot dog?” asked Ari Levy, owner of Wiener’s Circle, who delivered food on Tuesday to a place owned by a North Side church it has helped care for migrants.
“We will try to get him hot meals every Tuesday night,” Levy said. “It won’t be The Wiener’s Circle every week, but we’ll try to get friends and other restaurants and groups all over the city together. It’s a New Year’s resolution for us.”
So far several volunteers have come forward; the Weiner’s Circle posted about his social media efforts.
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The migrants who received the hot dogs – without ketchup – were mainly from Venezuela. The group, surrounded by donated winter clothes, ate frankfurters and fries and sang karaoke.
“They were saying ‘Thank you’ and my Spanish isn’t great, but I was saying ‘Welcome to Chicago’ and it was very happy but also part of a pain session. Some people have told me they walked most of the drive from Venezuela.”
The restaurant is best known for serving comedic slurs to customers, but has also used its famous North Clark Street sign to post messages, in colorful language, roasting political leaders and championing causes. Most cannot be repeated here.
“The shelters where they stay provide three meals a day, but it’s all cold food,” said Nan Warshaw, co-founder of Refugee Community Connection, a nonprofit that assists newly arrived refugees.