On Monday morning, Oak Park’s Felony Franks, announced on Facebook that the prison-themed hot dog restaurant may have served its final “Misdemeanor Weiner.”
Deno Andrews, who’s restaurant runs with the help of ex-cons in west suburban Oak Park, claims the reason for closing down is “the cost of doing business”. Apparently, it was too much for him to bear and led him to the decision of closing down hot dog joint.
On Facebook Andrews stated the following reasons for ultimately shutting down, “Property taxes, new labor laws, and the cost of goods increased faster than the market was willing to pay for such increases.” He was unreachable for further comments.
Andrews, who was also recently elected to serve as an Oak Park village trustee earlier this year, also mentioned that he has not been 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.
There is some sort of hope left for ex-cons, Andrews is hoping that someone will buy it and keep it running as Felony Franks.
“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.
In 2015 Deno Andrews told the Chicago Sun-Times that he didn’t deal with any opposition in Oak Park when he opened his restaurant. The restaurant’s name is exactly what the business implies, to help ex-felons find work in a society where they are usually shunned. The location has eight full-time and five part-time workers, who will all lose their jobs.
The restaurant name, sign, and slogan have all become familiar in the Oak Park community. A hilarious hot dog in front of prison bars, a ball and chain and the slogan: “Food so good, it’s criminal.”
Ending his heartfelt Facebook note 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.”