In the Ghettos of Chicago (yes, plural there’s more than one ghetto in Chicago) fast food tradition follows these rules:
1. bars on the windows and doors
2. bullet proof windows for cash only transactions
3. hot dog stand means just that. You can’t dine in, just take your food and eat standing up, maybe the hood of your car could be a table.
4. painted loud taxi cab yellow with red trim
5. well lighted and open late
6. menu includes Maxwell Street Polish in addition to Italian Beef, Gyros, Fish and cheese fries, Extra cheese? Extra charge!
So imagine my shock when I got off the Eisenhower and turned on to Western and saw the cinder block bunker of a hot dog stand that had been glowing neon yellow for years painted gray. The same gray as the stairs to the basement and the back porches of three flats. What could this mean?
I am so very curious, so everyday I swing by Jackson and Western to see what’s up.
It’s a sunny Tuesday and there is a Mexican guy with paints sketching on the front of the building. Graffiti artist? Muralist? Oh, sign painter…..he paints big sad eyes on the little hot dogs behind bars wearing prison stripes…IT’S FELONY FRANKS…Food so good, it’s criminal.
More weeks go by and they are not open yet. I wonder what’s happening. Johnny B is on the radio and he is interviewing the guy who’s trying to open this place. He is planning to hire ex convicts to work there. There seems to be some trouble with the alderman about getting a permit for his sign. I think I understand why the local politicians are worried. If these guys get jobs, who will deal are drugs and who will run our gangs, and who will pimp for our girls. Jay Leno quips on the Tonight Show that he can hire some of our ex governors. And maybe he can hire a few of our ex alderman too.