|Founded||1967 in Villa Park, Illinois|
|Headquarters||Oak Brook, Illinois, USA|
|Key people||Dick Portillo, Founder, Owner, President|
Portillo's is a chain of restaurants that specialize in serving Chicago-style food. Portillo's is located primarily throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, and also has two locations in southern California.
Owner and founder Dick Portillo opened his first restaurant from a trailer with no running water in 1963 in Villa Park, Illinois. Several of the later locations were built on property that was formerly the home of closed down Dog n Suds drive-thrus. Today, each location has different themed decor that reflects Mr. Portillo's love of history and of Chicago. By design, no two Portillo's are exactly alike.
Portillo's also has implemented a unique drive-thru system, where the traditional menu-board and speaker system is replaced during peak hours with as many as five to seven employees, who take customers' orders, collect money, and run food out to the respective vehicles. This system, which operates during all but the most severe of weather conditions, is intended to speed up the drive-thru process and increase the accuracy of the orders themselves.
The Portillo Restaurant Group is the largest privately owned restaurant company in the Midwest . It owns and operates four different restaurant concepts, which include Portillo's, Barnelli's, Key Wester Fish & Pasta House / Hemingway's Bar, and Luigi's House, as well as a catering division, Portillo's Home Kitchen. The Portillo Restaurant Group is based in Oak Brook, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. Frank Portillo, the older brother of Dick, is the president of Chicago-based Brown's Chicken.
The Portillo's menu includes a variety of items, including Chicago-style hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, ribs, and salads, as well as beer and wine. They also boast dessert items such as chocolate cake and milkshakes. One popular item is the Beef n' Cheddar Croissant, which consists of Italian beef, shredded cheddar, and sweet peppers on a 10" croissant. The chain has chosen not to post any nutritional content of their menu items either in-store or online.
The chain's main competition are mostly local, privately owned stores, most of which also specialize in Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs. The largest competitor of Portillo's in Chicagoland is Al's Beef.
Portillo's has been operating in Southern California since October 11, 2005, at the Buena Park Downtown shopping center in Buena Park. A location also exists in Merrillville, Indiana, though this ostensibly is still within the firm's home market of Chicagoland. Portillo's had licensed restaurants using its recipes and themes in Tokyo, Japan, in the late 1980s and early '90s. However, the Japanese restaurants did not fully follow the same tradition as the Chicago area stores, and all eventually closed. Portillo's also delivers part of its menu to all fifty US states.