Portillo's Restaurants

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Portillo's Restaurant Group, Inc.
Company typePublic company
GenreFast casual
FoundedApril 9, 1963; 61 years ago (1963-04-09) in Villa Park, Illinois[1]
FounderDick Portillo
HeadquartersOak Brook, Illinois, United States
Number of locations
Key people
Michael Osanloo, CEO
RevenueIncreaseUS$517 million (2021)[2]
OwnerBerkshire Partners (72%)
Number of employees
About 6,000[3]

Portillo's Restaurant Group, Inc.[4] is an American fast casual restaurant chain based in the Chicago area that specializes in serving Chicago-style food such as hot dogs, Maxwell Street Polish, and Italian beef. The company was founded by Dick Portillo on April 9, 1963, in Villa Park, Illinois, under the name "The Dog House".

In addition to 46 locations in the Chicago metropolitan area and Northern Illinois, the chain also has six locations each in the Phoenix metropolitan area and the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex; four locations each in central Illinois and the Indianapolis metropolitan area; three locations each in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area,Tampa metropolitan area, and Greater Orlando; two locations each in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, Madison metropolitan area, Metro Detroit, and Southern California; and one location each in the South Bend metropolitan area, Fort Wayne, the Quad Cities, and Tucson.


Portillo's was founded in 1963 by Dick Portillo.[5] After returning from serving in the Marines, Portillo gathered money from his savings and an investment from his brother Frank to open a hot dog stand.[6] They bought a 12-foot trailer that had no restroom and no running water. They named it "The Dog House".[6] The Dog House operated on North Avenue in Villa Park.[7] At first the stand lost money and a solution was needed. Portillo snuck into one of the back rooms of a competitor and wrote down where they were purchasing their product.[6] He continued the process of learning by visiting different competitors. By 1967, The Dog House, now in good financial standing, was upgraded to a larger trailer and was renamed "Portillo's".[8] In 1970, he partnered with Harold Reskin and opened up his second location in a shopping mall that Reskin owned.[6] Between 1972 and 1989, he opened up a second restaurant under the name "Barney's" that specialized in BBQ meals. In 1983 Portillo's opened up its first drive thru in Downers Grove.[9][failed verification] In the 90's Portillo's had profited by more than $50 million with 25 stores around the Chicago area.[6] In 1993, he experimented with a few ideas by combining his concept stores Barney's and Barnelli's with a Portillo's restaurant. In 1994, the first Portillo's within Chicago city limits opened at the intersection of Clark and Ontario St.[6][10] In 1995, Portillo opened Key Wester Fish & Pasta House in Naples, Florida.[6] In 1996, Portillo brought the Key Wester Fish & Pasta to Naperville. In 2000, Portillo opened another concept restaurant called Luigi's House.[6] The Portillo's chain grew again in 2010 with Honey-Jam Café.[11]

In 2014, Portillo sold Portillo's to Berkshire Partners. The new owners are planning to open five to seven restaurants each year. Portillo has been buying the land for new sites, which he then leases back to the company.[3]

The company filed to go public in 2021.[12] Its initial public offering sold 28% of the company as stocks traded on the Nasdaq as of October 21, 2021, with private equity firm Berkshire Partners retaining the remainder of the ownership.[13]

A Portillo's Chicago-style hot dog

Outside Illinois[edit]

Portillo's had licensed restaurants in Tokyo, Japan, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Japanese locations all eventually closed.[14]

Portillo's first California location opened on October 11, 2006, at the Buena Park Downtown shopping center in Buena Park. The second California location opened in 2008 in Moreno Valley.

Portillo's opened its first Florida location in 2016 in the Tampa suburb of Brandon, Florida, and a second location that same year in the University Square neighborhood in Tampa. The chain generated publicity with a tongue-in-cheek open letter on its website on June 16, 2015, the day after its hometown NHL team, the Chicago Blackhawks, beat the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the 2015 Stanley Cup. The stunt received newspaper coverage in both cities. "It's official. Portillo's is coming to Tampa in 2016. Tampa residents spent years peppering us with requests to build a restaurant—you really put us in a pickle. So we're thrilled we're finally making our way to Florida," Portillo's letter said, showing the chain's ironic humor. "Let's be frank: No matter whose jersey you're wearing, everyone will be welcome. We hope you don't have a beef against us or our hometown team."[15] The locations in Tampa and Brandon have a 1930s Prohibition theme.[16]

The Minneapolis-St. Paul region's first location opened in Woodbury in mid-summer 2017. Shortly thereafter in early fall 2017, the chain's first restaurant in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area commenced operations in Fishers.[17] Many former Chicagoans have moved to both regions. In 2018, Portillo's opened its second and third restaurants in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area (Maple Grove and Roseville, Minnesota)[18] as well as its third and fourth Indiana locations (Mishawaka and Indianapolis)[19][20] in 2018.

Portillo's in Davenport, Iowa

Portillo's opened its first restaurant in the Madison, Wisconsin, area and in the Davenport, Iowa/Quad Cities area (the first location in Iowa) in early 2019.

Portillo's added a new location in Sterling Heights, Michigan, in Metro Detroit which will be the first location within Michigan. It opened in March 2021.[21][22]

Portillo's announced a new location in the Orlando, Florida, area, located at the corner of Palm Parkway and Daryl Carter Boulevard in Lake Buena Vista. It opened in June 2021.[23]

In December 2021, Portillo's submitted plans to build a new restaurant at Santan Village in Gilbert, Arizona.[24]

In April 2022, Portillo's opened their fourth location in Florida. It is located in St. Petersburg, featuring a 50s theme, and is their third in the Tampa metropolitan area. A location in West Kissimmee was announced the same month and is their second in the Orlando area, and fifth overall in Florida. In December 2023, the sixth Portillo's in Florida, and third in the Orlando area, opened in Clermont.

In January 2023, Portillo's opened its first location in Texas. It is located in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex suburb of The Colony, at the intersection of SH 121/Sam Rayburn Tollway and Destination Drive at the Grandscape complex.[25]

In February 2023, Portillo's opened the fifth and sixth locations in Arizona, located in Tucson and Gilbert.

In March 2024, the company announced it would open two new restaurants in the Houston area—one in Richmond at The Grand at Aliana and the other at the Willowbrook Mall.[26]

Honey Jam Cafe[edit]

In 2010, Portillo Restaurant Group launched the Honey Jam Café concept,[27][28] an upscale pancake house similar to Walker Brothers Pancake House in both ambiance and menu[29] as a breakfast and lunch cafe.[29] The Batavia, Illinois location closed in 2019.[30]


  1. ^ "Our Story | Portillo's". Portillos.com. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  2. ^ "P.F. Chang's chief executive Michael Osanloo named Portillo's CEO". Restaurant Business. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Why Portillo's new CEO won't mess with success". Dailyherald.com. 3 April 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  4. ^ "Portillo's Restaurant Group, Inc". Encyclopedia.com. International Directory of Company Histories. 2006. Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  5. ^ "A piece of Portillo's history can be found in Rockford". wrex.com. WREX. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "History of Portillo's Restaurant Group, Inc. – FundingUniverse". www.fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  7. ^ "Portillo's - History, Tradition and .... Hot Dogs!". The Chicago El Stop Food Hunt Project. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  8. ^ "Spotlight on Portillo's | The Dish | Tastes of Chicago". www.tastesofchicago.com. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  9. ^ "History | Portillos". jobs.portillos.com. Archived from the original on 2015-10-30. Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  10. ^ "History of Portillo's". portillos.com.
  11. ^ "How Dick Portillo built a hot dog stand into an empire". Daily Herald. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  12. ^ Patton, Leslie (27 September 2021). "Hot-Dog Restaurant Chain Portillo's Files to Go Public on Nasdaq". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  13. ^ Zumbach, Lauren (October 21, 2021). "For loyal Portillo's customers, IPO puts a new item on the menu: shares in a favorite company". Chicago Tribune.
  14. ^ "FindArticles.com - CBSi". findarticles.com. Retrieved 27 December 2017.[dead link]
  15. ^ "Iconic Chicago restaurant consoles Lightning fans in Tampa location announcement". Tampa Bay Tribune. 17 June 2015. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  16. ^ "All Locations". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Tuohy, John. "How to order from the menu at Fishers Portillo's grand opening". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  18. ^ "Nice to Meat You, Maple Grove. Portillo's is opening January 23rd!". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  19. ^ "Mishawaka, you're in luck! Portillo's is coming in 2018". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  20. ^ "Nice to Meat You, Indianapolis. Portillo's is coming this year!". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  21. ^ https://www.portillos.com/michigan/ Portillo's: Portillo's is Motoring into Michigan!
  22. ^ Haddad, Ken (Jul 7, 2020). "Chicago-based Portillo's opening first Michigan restaurant in Sterling Heights". WDIV. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  23. ^ "Portillo's is Coming to Lake Buena Vista, FL!". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  24. ^ Frigerio, Josh. "Chicago restaurant Portillo's submits plans to build restaurant in Gilbert". Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  25. ^ "Portillo's Announces First DFW Location Will Be in The Colony". Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  26. ^ Klein, Danny (2024-03-07). "Portillo's Headed to Houston Market in 2024". QSR Magazine. Retrieved 2024-03-07.
  27. ^ "What's the big idea? Breakfast". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  28. ^ Placek, Christopher (December 21, 2017). "Honey-Jam Cafe opening in Arlington Heights as replacement for Aurelio's". Daily Herald. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  29. ^ a b Williams, Amy E. (2010-11-08). "New restaurant in Batavia will serve up breakfast, lunch items - Daily Herald". Prev.dailyherald.com. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  30. ^ "Honey-Jam Cafe in Batavia closes". www.kcchronicle.com. Archived from the original on 2019-03-06. Retrieved 2019-03-04.

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