Felony Franks Hot Dog Stand Owner Fights For Sign

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.

  • not sayin jus sayin

    This is CHICAGO, NOT Mayberry. R u frickin’ kiddin’ me !
    Not sure what the harm could possibly be ?? What, the kids will think if i go to jail I can be a hotdog ? Let the guy hang his sign and be done with it !!!!

    • Curt

      I love it. If anything, the parents in the neighborhood can draw attention to the hot dog stand and let thier kids know that if they decide on a life of crime they will end up serving hot dogs for a living. This can be used as a deterrent to crime. I am all for it! It’s time for parents to stop blaming the high crime on the neighborhood and start focussing on what you are doing at home to raise your children right.



  • Arnaldo Hayag

    I went there one time with my son. The surrounding place especially the parking on the back and north side are hang out for drug dealers

    • chris

      HAYAG must have his own hot dog stand somewhere,STOP THE HATE!!!!!!

  • same cooke

    There is an ancient nerve that is obliterated by the sight of a black man shackled in a ball and chain. I applaud him for what he is doing but lets be serious. It sends a bad message.

    • Joe Varno

      What black man is that?

      The hot dog is red.

      Seriously, the politicos in Chicago need to read the Costitution. You know, the one that they use for toilet paper on a regular basis. Or have we forgotten the “Mirth and Girth” fiasco?

  • dan

    I may want to avoid a business that employs ex-cons so I appreciate the truth in honesty in Mr Andrews business concept. His mission is noble and if it also provides mentoring and support to prevent the employees from going back to jail this is something that should be franchised nationwide.

    It’s not like he’s hiring pedophiles to sell ice cream, right?

    • KE

      I agree with dan!


      At Dan you make a valid point, as does Curt. There are so many more things that politicians can be fighting for or against, yet they choose a Hot Dog sign. Sure some ppl in the community may not agree with it, but if you have children stress to them that if you chhose a life of crime you could, as Curt said, end up selling Hot Dogs for a living, also stress the fact that they are only workers, not the owners. So choose wisely in life. I think the sign is funny, yet catchy. Right or wrong, tasteful or distasteful, at least someone is trying to do something to help keep ex-offenders from re-offending!
      Watch your kids when you send them to the ice cream trucks, they can get ice cream, molested, solicited, oh yeah and buy a variety of drugs, at least you know who’s seriving them their hot dogs, right?

  • unknown

    chicago is not a business-friendly city.

    • Roger Amir

      Are you an Idiot? Do you even live in Chicago??
      New business’ are opening in Chicago DAILY!

  • hang out for drug dealers ?

    where in the city aside from main loop and city hall is there not a hang out for drug dealers ?? Ok, it may not be place to go for late nite snack but anyone with somewhat of a clue already know that…. They serve goot dawgs and that what really matter…..he also giving people a break who need it most…. he should be commended! It not a place you gonna find tourists….

  • Doug D.

    A few weeks ago, I sent an email to our alderman (Brendan Reilly) suggesting he invite Jim Andrews to move Felony Franks up here. Naturally, I didn’t hear back but I’m thinkin’ it would be a hit. The store and the story.

  • Pay the alderman

    Come on Jim. Pay off the alderman and you can chain people to the front of your store. It’s all about the money. Greased palms cannot grasp anything. This is Chicago. Each alderman has his fiefdom where he is the chief fund raiser. Do me and I’ll do you. Can’t any one take a joke? Only if I am paid.

  • frankiez

    Anyone with any common sense will tell you it is the signage in the poorer neighborhoods that are responsible for the continuation of poverty, drug use and malise. It is not the fact that most kids are raised by a one parent home or that the vast majority of kids do not attend school regularly or if they do attend they are certainly not payinig attention. The video games, television, movies and real life crime that these kids see is only a minor factor in what shapes their morals. The signs are what is keeping the youth of poorer neighborhoods poor and unedumecated…Please stop wih all the negative signs already.

    • frankiez

      can I get an amen and a hallelujah!! Also be sure to tell your alderman you will vote twice in the next election…vote early vote often, just like green relish on a hot dog two distinct Chicago traditions.

  • eric

    All Chgo want is to tax and Line their pockets….Where is the solution to re-enstating Ex-cons to society…..

  • Arjay

    Spend your time on some important issues, not giving this guy trying to earn a living a hard time. Idiots!

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    u proud to be a realitor ? really ? that right up there with car or insurance sales person. your parent must be proud……


  • Byron

    Chicago’s (zoning?) committee has a problem with that sign but is perfectly fine with the sign of Hooters and Tilted Kilt? You’ve got to be kidding! That committee should be concerned about more important things. I hope the owner of the hot dog business sues the pants off of the city for trying to infringe on his constitutional rights.

  • Maria Siciliano

    Really?! You know, there are REAL crimes going on.

    The hot dog stand owner had a cute and funny idea.

    Hey! People that vote… remember this alderman’s waste of your time!

    • monica

      Maria ,
      There is nothing cute about a very dark colored Hot Dog in a black & white prison uniform, with ball & chains. Jim Andrews has another company in the west loop area( mostly white) he also hires only excons, however he has given that company a positive name (andrews paper source). It’s insulting to the black community to use that image and logo. Dont know where you live, but Jim Andrews lives in Oak Park, they would never allow him to put that image in the faces of there white children

      • Slim of Lombard

        You have go to be kidding Monica ! Get off your “poor me” high horse and get your eyes checked. That hot dog in the picture is normal hot dog color. There is nothing racial about it. Some people just have to make a racial issue out of anything.
        As for you alderman. . .Grow up! Let the man run his business and let him hang his sign. If any of you had any ideas as good as he does for his business, half of Chicago’s problems would be fixed. Get to work. . .

  • Can I Be Frank With You

    It is a marketing tool, just like the Burger King, just like Ronald MC Donald, just like the Hamburglar, just like Jarred from Subway, and his message to consumers, eat healthy, exercise, and you too can lose weight. The country is at war, broke, gas at 5 bucks a gallon, and people are worried about a hot dog in prison issue. I think children are smarter than most adults believe, they get it, bad is bad, good is good. Just go get a hot dog and support your local business.

  • Smokey

    You know the hot dog in the sign ain’t trying to dis the black man….If it was it would be a foot long :)–

  • Carr Mann

    Who are the ex-cons they hired and for how long? Before hiriing someone they should do a background check so customers will not be afraid of the maids or any cook that is making sirloins or any hot dogs the wrong way. Some tasteless hot dogs are the doom day for the joint. I did not know that jails train cooks and servers to do the work in the restaurant business.

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