Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Chain Gang Chili Dog & Accomplice Fries

The Chicago hot dog stand is a long-standing part of the fabric of the city, with variations but also basic characteristics. On the inside, Felony Franks is mostly undecorated, like any good hot dog stand. Before I went, I was expecting more cheesy prison-themed decoration than the place actually has. The prison theme is mainly in the naming on the menu, which is on the wall.

In case that's hard to read, it includes felony franks, misdemeanor wieners, pardon Polish sausages, probation burgers, guilty gyros, mobster mozzarella sticks, handcuff tamales, and a selection of sandwiches -- burglar beef, jailbird chicken breast and fraudulent fish -- among other items.

I had a chili dog, which wasn't bad, though I can and do make better chili dogs myself. Supposedly it's called a "chain gang chili dog," but I didn't actually see that name on the menu. Just a misdemeanor wiener with chili, then. When ordering I didn't use any of the too-cute names, nor did the cashier ask me "to plead my case." That phrasing is on a sign taped to clear plastic wall (bulletproof, I've read) behind which the employees work. It says: ORDER HERE and say, "I'm ready to plead my case." She just asked what I wanted to order, and I told her.

Fries came with the chili dog. They were fresh, not frozen, and better than the dog, and probably better than I can make. Lemonade was my drink. The entire tab was less than $5. My order came to me via a small revolving platform, like a revolving door, next to the register, so that at no time was the cashier exposed to the customers. I don't think the separation of cashier and customer is part of the theme; it's part of the neighborhood.

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