We Need a Felony Franks in Dallas

It’s been a weird morning. I was listening to NPR this morning and jamming out to the show, “Marketplace,” when I heard about Felony Franks, this hot dog joint in Chicago where Jim Andrews, the owner, hires ex-inmates and gives them a chance in the restaurant business. The menu is prison-themed with names like “Misdemeanor Weiner” and “Convicted Chili Fries” that don’t hide Andrews’ mission to help out his community in a non-traditional way. I walked out of my car, still thinking about what I’d just heard on NPR when I ran into a friend who told me about her crazy mugging story in New York City. The guy who stole her cell phone was sentenced to jail for three months after the cops found him.

Why don’t we have something like this in Dallas? I can see why some critics don’t find the concept cute, but it’s hard to deny the fact that Felony Franks is still doing the community a lot of good. Check out this WSJ vid:


4 comments on “We Need a Felony Franks in Dallas

  1. I think it’s awesome. I live in a very transitional neighborhood, and I’d rather have a Felony Franks than another liquor store. I can see the franchise. I’d buy a percentage!

  2. Dallas is a hot dog place wasteland. We don’t have enough places to get a good hot dog.

    I confess, I think Felony Franks is a great idea.

  3. We did have an It’s A Grind Coffee franchise store that focused on similar goals. The idea wasn’t pushed with the name and menu items like Felony Franks. However, they were a part of what was The Demeter Project. They hired anyone “in dire need of a second chance..felons, asylum seekers, former drug users, former prostitutes, victims of domestic abuse…”. Also, they paid a living wage almost twice the federal minimum wage. They provided stable full time work and excellent benefits, including healthcare. I imagine they went a bit further than Felony Franks in the wage and benefit column, which is most likely why it was ultimately not financially feasible. It’s really too bad they couldn’t make it work. I followed their news closely, and they clearly did quite a bit of good for the community and especially some of their employees. They even chose a coffee shop model because they wanted a place where the community could hang out, and host community focused events, such as ArtLoveMagic’s Art & Coffee. Sorry to link your competitor, but this article is quite a bit more in-depth than the one I found from DMag:

    http://www.dallasobserver.com/2009-07-16/restaurants/it-s-a-grind-in-deep-ellum-is-more-than-just-a-coffee-shop-it-s-a-sanctuary-for-second-chances/1/

    And, one for you as well:

    http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_Magazine/2011/July/Can_a_Coffee_Shop_Pay_14_Dollars_an_Hour.aspx