At 'Felony Franks,' Ex-Cons Serve Dogs to Wary Populace

Chicago food stand under fire for name trumpeting workers' checkered pasts
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2009 11:26 AM CDT
A Chicago style hot dog.   (©kthypryn)
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(Newser) – A snarkily named hot dog stand has its up-and-coming Chicago neighborhood sizzling. Felony Franks employs ex-cons to sling hot dogs with names like the “Misdemeanor Wiener” and the “Cellmate” (two dogs). Step up to the bulletproof serving window and an employee will ask you to “plead your case.” But some locals aren't amused. “Felony Franks is a step back,” one resident tells the Wall Street Journal.

The owner, who employs ex-cons at another venture, finds the hubbub perplexing. “I don't understand it,” he says. A local preacher denounced him as a “pimp” for exploiting black workers. But his problems go beyond disapproval and outrage. A local alderman has denied a request to install a sign, and even introduced an ordinance to limit signage on the block. Though he says it “has nothing to do” with Felony Franks, he’s no fan. “I'm all for hiring ex-offenders, but why give more stigma to the fact?”