Portillo's Restaurants

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Portillo's Restaurants
investment company, Berkshire partners
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1963 in Villa Park, Illinois[citation needed]
Headquarters Oak Brook, Illinois, USA
Key people
Dick Portillo, Founder
Keith Kinsey, CEO
Website portillos.com

Portillo's, which is the main entity within The Portillo Restaurant Group 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 and another two locations in Arizona.


Portillo's specialty item, the Beef n' Cheddar Croissant

The Portillo's menu includes a variety of items, including Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef, hamburgers, sandwiches, ribs, and salads, as well as beer and wine. One popular item is the Beef n' Cheddar Croissant, which consists of Italian beef and shredded cheddar, and they suggest adding sweet or hot peppers, on a 10" croissant.

They also boast dessert items such as very popular chocolate cake (notable for the rumor that mayonnaise as an ingredient) and milkshakes, and a mix of the two, the famous Chocolate Cake Shake, which is basically a piece of the chocolate cake blended in with a chocolate shake.

The chain's main competition is mostly local, privately owned stores, most of which also specialize in Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs. The largest competitors of Portillo's in the Chicago metropolitan area are Scooby's Red Hots and Buona Beef.

Outside Illinois[edit]

Portillo's in Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Portillo's has been operating in Southern California since October 11, 2005, at the Buena Park Downtown shopping center in Buena Park, near Knott's Berry Farm, and they also opened a location in Moreno Valley, California, in 2008. Another two locations exist in Arizona in Tempe and Scottsdale. A location also exists in Merrillville, Indiana, though this is still well 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.[1] Portillo's also delivers part of its menu to all 50 US states in a united venture alongside Eli's Cheesecake and Lou Malnati's pizzeria.[2]

Due to a dense population of transient Midwesterners in the Arizona market and the previous success of other Chicago-style eateries in that area, such as Rosati's Pizza, Portillo's launched two restaurants in Arizona. Portillo's first location in Arizona opened in 2013 at the southwest corner of N. 90th St. and E. Shea Blvd in Scottsdale, followed by a location in Tempe. Both locations are near the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs.[3]

Portillo's plans to open its first Florida location in 2016 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.” [4]

Honey Jam Cafe[edit]

In 2010, Portillo Restaurant Group launched the Honey Jam Café concept.[5] Unlike the other three concepts which focus on fast casual food, Honey Jam is essentially an upscale pancake house similar to Walker Brothers Pancake House in both ambiance and menu. They feature unique pancake and waffle combinations and specialty items such as a baked apple pancake and white chocolate raspberry Belgian waffles, and offer patrons who order coffee a cup "to go" after receiving their check. The concept's name, according to the menu, is derived from the owner's pet name for his wife, "Honey", and the first letter of his three children's first names comprising the acronym "JAM". The concept is positioned as a breakfast and lunch cafe, thus it closes at 3 pm.[6]


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