If you’re from Chicago, you’ve got your go-to spot for the ultimate Chicago-style hot dog. While some claim to be better than others, this Windy City staple utilizes the same build at each place: poppy seed bun, sausage, onion, tomatoes, relish, pickle, sport peppers, mustard, and celery salt.
And while there’s tons of delicious versions throughout Chicago, none has the critical acclaim and amazing backstory of Felony Franks, a “gourmet fast food” joint that brings Chicago staples to the people while giving ex-convicts a second chance. Owner Dino Andrews only employs people who have been to prison and struggle to find jobs as a result, utilizing his restaurant as a way to show the world what these ex-cons can do for them.
In a recent interview with YouTube channel SORTEDfood, Andrews emphasized that while the story may be alluring, his emphasis is and always will be on the food.
“We know that people will come to our restaurant once because of the mission, but if the food is great and the service is fantastic, people will come back over and over.”
So far, that strategy has been paying off. Felony Franks has been getting consistently high remarks on both Yelp and Google, with numerous reviews praising the restaurant for their friendly service and great-tasting hot dogs. The Misdemeanor Weiner, which is the name Andrews gives to his restaurant’s Chicago Dogs, is wildly popular.
The ex-convicts themselves also appear to enjoy what they are doing, stating that cooking makes people happy and that they’re happy to give their all for a boss that gave them a second chance at life.
Hopefully, more restaurants can follow the example of Felony Franks and be uplifting to those who are disadvantaged and looking for jobs around the world. It would be amazing to see that trend start to form.