KINZIE INDUSTRIAL CORRIDOR — In an unprecedented display of ostentatious wealth, the Vienna Beef headquarters is remodelling its new west side space in a flamboyant Rococo style.
“When people see the Vienna Beef brand, they associate it with European opulence and glamour,” said PR rep Lambert-Sigisbert Adam, 59, admiring the asymmetrical shells festooning a decorative column on the loading dock. “So we’re aiming to give them more of the same with this remodel.”
The stylistic changes, which include interlocking-oval floor plans, sculpted molding and a trompe-l'œil fresco depicting the Creation of Hot Dog, are just the latest move as the meat manufacturing company aims to expand its influence. “We’ve done a few wars, a couple land-grabs, but that’s not really our bag anymore,” said president Mary Linkel, 78, in a statement to the masses. “We’re more focused these days on extolling our virtues through hanging big weird chandeliers in our lobby and putting whale-bone candelabras in our conference room.”
An unusual sight in an industrial part of town, the new headquarters is sure to cause a commotion. But for the PR team, that’s the appeal. “You know, we could move our HQ next to the other fat cats on Michigan Ave or Mag Mile. But we didn’t want to do that,” said Adam, shooing pigeons off of a marble cartouche above the men’s room door. “We wanted to come somewhere and showcase the Viennese way to a new audience, which I think is exactly what we’ll do.”
Tour groups will be able to view the production lines and observe ground meat become the delicious tubes carted out to restaurants across the city, as well as admire the game room displaying the heads of the C-Suite’s most recent kills. If visitors come on a good day, they may get the extra treat of paying respects to visiting royalty from Bavaria and Wisconsin.
Despite the confidence displayed to the press, inside sources worry about whether the corporation’s display of wealth might exacerbate class tensions between everyday Chicagoans and the monied elite. When asked, Linkel scoffed. “Let them eat hot dogs,” she said, seated at a mahogany desk carved in the shape of a big oyster. “I mean, what are they going to do, not eat hot dogs? It’s Chicago.”