Felony Franks, the prison-themed hot dog restaurant staffed by ex-cons in west suburban Oak Park, may have served its final “Misdemeanor Weiner.”
The restaurant’s owner, Deno Andrews, announced on Facebook Monday morning that “the cost of doing business” was too much to bear and led the hot dog joint to close down.
“Property taxes, new labor laws, and the cost of goods increased faster than the market was willing to pay for such increases,” wrote Andrews, who could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Andrews, who was elected to serve as an Oak Park village trustee earlier this year, said he wasn’t able to spend as much time at the restaurant as he did before he became a trustee.
“The staff has done a great job at keeping it together in my absence. In reality, they did a stellar job in my absence. I have never seen such initiative and leadership in the absence of a leader,” he wrote.
Andrews, though, left the door open to another owner taking over his business.
“I would consider financing a sale of the business and/or equipment,” he wrote. “We have a turn-key situation for someone who wants to hit the ground running. I believe the place could work if an owner was there more than I can be. I’d be open to discussing a range of options.”
Before moving the restaurant to Oak Park in 2015, Andrews’ father — Jim Andrews — fought a lengthy legal battle with former Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who said he couldn’t tolerate signs “glorifying criminal conduct.” Jim Andrews ultimately won approval for his sign, but the fight was costly and “demoralizing,” Deno Andrews previously said.
Deno Andrews told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2015 that he received no opposition in Oak Park to his restaurant, which has a mission to help ex-felons find work in a world that typically shuns them. The new location has eight full-time and five part-time workers, all ex-cons.
The Oak Park restaurant featured the restaurant’s now familiar sign, with a hot dog in front of prison bars, a ball and chain and the slogan: “Food so good, it’s criminal.”
On Monday, Deno Andrews gave “A special shout out to all the residents of North Oak Park, who went above and beyond to support this concept. You all know who you are … and the list is too long to type out. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”