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Felony Franks Hot Dog Stand Owner Fights For Sign

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Felony Franks

Felony Franks, 229 S. Western Ave. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – A City Council committee is wrestling with constitutional rights and community concerns, as they near a decision on a requested sign for the controversial hot dog stand known as Felony Franks.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Felony Franks, 229 S. Western Ave., had been Jim Andrews’ dream. Andrews’ hot dog stand serves up the Misdemeanor Wiener, and only ex-felons work there.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Felony Franks features a mural of freshly painted wieners donning prison garb and a ball and chain, proclaiming “food so good it’s criminal.”

At the committee hearing Monday, Monica Brown, a resident of the nearby Westhaven Park housing development, said she applauds the mission of Felony Franks. But she says the imagery sends the wrong message to kids.

“Our issue is not that he’s employing ex-felons. Our issue is that you have a ball and chain. You have a hot dog in a black and white uniform – a black and white prison uniform,” Brown said. “You have three to five schools within walking distance.”

Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) has objected to the theme of the hot dog stand from the beginning. Speaking to CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole as Felony Franks prepared to open in 2009, Fioretti said in a neighborhood that’s been blighted by crime, the concept is definitely in poor taste.

Thus, Fioretti hasn’t let owner Jim Andrews have a permit for a sign to hang outside. A sign frame swings empty over the hot dog stand.

Andrews refuses to compromise, and says he will go to court if aldermen continue to refuse to allow his sign.

“That is the greatest marketing idea to sell hot dogs. Felony Franks, Misdemeanor Wieners,” Andrews said. “I’m not changing anything.”

City attorneys say Andrews may have a valid constitutional argument.

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