Hot Dog Stand Aiming to Employ Ex-Cons Is Eating at Alderman

Not everyone in a Chicago West Side neighborhood relishes the concept behind Felony Franks, a hot dog stand opened with a primary goal of providing employment for convicted felons.

“I’m not afraid to use the name ‘felony,’ ” proprietor Jim Andrews told the Chicago Sun-Times. “When they get out of jail, why don’t you just tattoo a ‘felony’ sign on their foreheads? That’s what society does. I want to take that tattoo away. Give them a chance.”

Andrews is the founder of The Rescue Foundation, which is devoted to providing ex-offenders with business skills. Andrews has also hired ex-offenders for years at his Andrews Paper Co. in Chicago. He says that because of Felony Franks’ proximity to Crane High School, he will not hire any convicted pedophiles.

Felony Franks will open in a few weeks in the ward of Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti, who says he’s been dogged by complaints from other ward residents. He supports the creation of jobs for ex-cons who live in his ward, but takes Andrews’ scheme with a grain of celery salt.

“This, no matter what anybody says, is not that cute of an idea,” Fioretti told the Sun-Times. “It’s a great concept for ex-offenders, but it’s a poor theme for a restaurant.”

Fioretti doesn’t like Andrews’ slogans, according to United Press International. “Felony Franks? The home of the misdemeanor wiener? Food so good it’s criminal? You are actually in a sense elevating the life of crime here in our city, and we cannot tolerate that.”

Andrews told UPI that he has received a lot of support from the community.

“I’m trying to take a negative and turn it into a positive,” he said.

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