Skip to content

Why the hype for Portillos? Here are 10 reasons why Chicagoans love it (and you will too!)

Chicago-based fast food chain Portillos was first opened by Dick Portillo in 1963 as a small hot dog stand called “The Dog House.
Screen Shot 2022-03-10 at 3.36.06 PM
Interior of a Portillos restaurant. | Courtesy of Portillos

Chicago-based fast food chain Portillos was first opened by Dick Portillo in 1963 as a small hot dog stand called “The Dog House.” The first location actually didn’t have a bathroom or running water, so Portillo connected it to a 250-foot garden hose from a nearby building. From its humble beginnings, the brand has become a Chicago mainstay and has won the love of native residents and tourists alike.

And now, Portillos is coming to Texas! The brand will open their first Texas location at the Grandscape in The Colony this fall.

Here are 10 reasons to get hyped for the Texas debut of Portillos!

1. The famous Chicago-style hot dog

Photo courtesy of the Portillo’s website

It’s not a Chicago hot dog if it doesn’t have everything on it. The classic Portillo’s hot dog is topped with mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, sliced tomatoes, a pickle and peppers, all wrapped in a steamed poppy seed bun. 

2. The Chocolate Cake Shake

Photo courtesy of the Portillo’s website

Yes, you read that right. Portillo’s actually puts a slice of their legendary chocolate cake into these blended milkshakes, making this a treat you can’t get anywhere else. Speaking of the chocolate cake, it’s baked fresh in-house on the daily and frosted with two pounds of chocolate frosting. Yummm. 

3. The Italian Beef Sandwich

Photo courtesy of the Portillo’s website

The homemade Italian beef sandwich is slow-roasted for four hours, thinly sliced and served on freshly baked Turano French bread. It’s made with all the ingredients and careful attention of a gourmet sandwich at a fine Italian restaurant, but with the efficiency of an American fast food joint.

Try a standard sandwich, served with just a touch of Portillo’s signature gravy. Or get it dipped in gravy, or completely dry. Customer’s choice!

4. Barnelli’s Pasta

Photo courtesy of the Portillo’s website

The Barnelli’s Pasta Bowl concept features a variety of pastas made with homemade sauces and served alongside gourmet salads and hand-made sandwiches. Portillo’s takes no shortcuts in the pasta making process, from the slow simmer of sauces on the stove to the rise of handpulled dough.

According to the company’s website, people are at the heart of Portillo’s. They show it by providing their employees with a number of benefits.

5. The generous employee benefits

Paid vacation time, 401(k) benefits and the Heart of Portillo’s Fund are mainstays for employees with Portillos. In addition to other financial benefits, Portillo’s launched their own fund to provide emergency assistance to eligible team members facing financial hardship due to unavoidable circumstances.

6. Top tier health insurance

Includes paid parental leave, short term and long term disability, life insurance, vision and dental coverage, a monthly Gympass membership and other holistic programs for wellness. 

7. Everyday is payday at Portillos

Portillos offers competitive hourly pay and compensates their employees at the end of each day they come in. Employees even earn $3 more per hour on major holidays.

8. Speedy drive-thru experience

A team member comes out to take your order and payment before you even reach the menu board – if you’ve ever been to Dutch Bros, you know how convenient this is – so that you can be on your way in no time.

9. Famous fans like "The Office" star Mindy Kaling

Photo courtesy of the Portillo’s website

10. ... and Guy Fieri!

Photo courtesy of the Portillo’s website

Read more about the Portillos opening at Grandscape!