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Felony Franks Hot Dog Stand Wins Overhead Sign

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Workers hang a new sign for Felony Franks, a hot dog stand at 229 S. Western Ave. that goes out of its way to hire ex-convicts. The owner had fought for 2 1/2 years with the local alderman over whether the sign could be hung over the sidewalk outside the hot dog stand. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya, WBBM)

Workers hang a new sign for Felony Franks, a hot dog stand at 229 S. Western Ave. that goes out of its way to hire ex-convicts. The owner had fought for 2 1/2 years with the local alderman over whether the sign could be hung over the sidewalk outside the hot dog stand. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya, WBBM)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — There’s no doubt about it – when you’re driving along Western Avenue near the Eisenhower Expressway, you won’t be able to miss a hot dog stand that goes out of its way to hire ex-convicts.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Jim Andrews stood beaming outside his Felony Franks hot dog stand Thursday morning, as a sign he’s fought to have put up for the past 2 1/2 years was finally hung.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) did not like the name of the hot dog stand at 229 S. Western Ave., and opposed giving it a right-of-way sign.

Fioretti had 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 that, in a neighborhood that’s been blighted by crime, the concept is definitely in poor taste.

But Andrews said the name reflects the purpose of the hot dog stand, where all the employees are ex-felons.

“I’m not changing the name. The name says something to our society. Instead of giving a person a handout, we need to give them a hand up,” Andrews said.

Andrews finally took the matter to court, and the city thought it better to settle. Now the sign is up, with the eatery’s logo – a hot dog dressed in prison garb and connected to a ball and chain – and the slogan, “Food so good, it’s criminal.”

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