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Felony Franks Closes, Plans To Relocate To NW Side

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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)

miller250 Steve Miller
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
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Updated 06/04/12 – 6:58 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Felony Franks – the hot dog stand with the Misdemeanor Wieners and a staff of ex-felons – shut down Monday afternoon.

Owner Jim Andrews said he closed the hot dog stand at Jackson Boulevard and Western Avenue at 4 p.m., but an ex-felon from Pennsylvania is stepping in to help open a new location.

Larry Musgrave, 64, spent a year in prison in Pennsylvania in the late 1980s for embezzlement. Now, he and his “Ten Men” project are getting investors to start a new Felony Franks – probably to be located on the Northwest Side – to employ and train ex-offenders.

“We’re going to take it to a level where we’re now not only Felony Franks, we are now teaching our ex-offender clients. So that at the end of six months or a year, they can be certified to go and maybe open their own business,” he told WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

The timetable – and the financing – are all uncertain, but Musgrave says the current employees of Felony Franks will be the first hired at the restaurant’s new location.

Musgrave says Andrews will be a partner in the new venture.

Andrews says it broke his heart when he told the current employees he’d have to close down the original location. He has been reciting the slogan of his hot dog stand before there ever was a Felony Franks; since it was just a dream.

“Felony Franks. Home of the Misdemeanor Wiener. And our food is so good, it’s criminal,” the snappy slogan goes.

Andrews says a nearby liquor store has been driving away his customers, so he’s decided he can no longer stay in business at Jackson and Western.

“I’m just tired of it,” Andrews said.

He is tired specifically of chasing away people who aren’t customers who hang out with beer at his outdoor tables.

Andrews he says he is also working on two Felony Franks stands for Los Angeles.

Andrews first opened Felony Franks in 2009, over the objections of Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), who said it was in bad taste to open a hot dog stand that mocked crime in a neighborhood that has been blighted by it.

But Fioretti opposed giving Andrews a right-of-way sign on Western Avenue. Andrews finally took that matter to court, and the city thought it better to settle.

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