Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
CLOSED. Hot dog stand that also serves as a training program for ex-cons.
Owner Jim Andrews struck a rich vein of publicity when community members--including his alderman--objected to his irreverent approach of employing ex-offenders serving Chain Gang Chili Dogs, Paroled Pizza Puffs, and Probation Burgers. Still, how can you talk smack on a hot dog stand that exists to put ex-cons back to meaningful work and turn their lives around? Well, here goes: the skinless Chicago’s Finest brand beef Misdemeanor Wieners are insipid, and the jokes about incarceration that festoon the walls and menu are offensive only in their criminal corniness. Andrews may set high standards for his employees, but his sorry tube steaks, dense industrial-grade burger pucks, and underseasoned meatball subs are every bit as institutional as Nutraloaf. Even the hand-cut fries--which looked great but were clearly underfried and held until soggy--are a sad case of wasted potential. But among the wide array of fast-food standards, there are some redeeming items: the superthin-cut Petty Pork Chop Sandwich, heavily seasoned with pepper and oregano, distinguishes itself, and the $2.25 Alias Chili Tamale is immersed in a generous cup of beany, beefy chili that would only requires a dash or two of hot sauce to make make it a high-value target for a west-side lunch deal. And again, since there’s no such thing as bad publicity--not even when Bill O’Reilly names you his “Wednesday Patriot”--Felony Franks seems likely to thrive and multiply.