Portillo's is coming to town

…and I know nothing about Portillo’s. Looks interesting, though, what do you all think about Portillo’s?

The only Portillo I know is Michael P - ex Member of the British Parliament and one time UK Defence Secretary. Now spends his time doing TV documentaries taking various railway journeys - for which I like him a lot more than his time as a politician

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I liked their Chicago style hot dog and Italian beef sandwich back when I visited what I believe is their flagship location in Chicago a few years ago. I’m not an expert on either subject though.


chicago dog and italian beef sandwich – yum

Don’t forget giardiniera on the italian beef sandwich

What is giardiniera? - News - News | Portillo’s (portillos.com)


Well, that’s two Portillos that I don’t know. But if his shows ever end up on PBS, Netflix or BBC America, I’ll give it a looksee.

Wow, that looks good, very good.

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Where are you?

Portillo’s is a local Chicago chain known for their hot dogs, italian beef sandwiches, and the ‘chocolate cake shake’, which is what it sounds like: a slice of chocolate cake shoved in a cup w/ icecream and milk and syrup and blended.

For a long logn time, they were biggest franchised spot for hot dogs, and they stayed true to their roots by using Vienna hot dogs, a local Chicago brand that, IMHO, is the king of all frankfurters. Natural, snappy casing, all-beef, just the right spices and salt level, etc…

However, Portillo’s is trying to go national, and in doing so, has abandoned Vienna. They have their own dogs manufactured now, presumably because Vienna isn’t going to build another factory out west and shipping isn’t feasible. So you get what I consider an inferior hot dog. When I go back home to Chicago to visit family, I won’t go to Portillo’s for my hot dog fix any more.

Their Italian beef is still pretty good. The hot dogs aren’t bad. But to someone who cares, they aren’t real Chicago hot dogs.


Southern AZ- Tucson

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I love Portillo’s for their Italian beef but I agree with @Lectroid that the hot dogs are meh. Make sure you get the giardiniera - it makes the whole sandwich. I like mine dipped. Super messy but totally worth it.




I prefer the Giardiniera sauce, especially on fries and their onion rings.


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Eater Dallas weighs in on their new location…

Interesting on the substitute weiners - that’s what Nathan’s did too, I think I read.

A correctly made CSD is great; many outside Chicago are probably not put together right. Well, I can say that for here, anyway. Places promising the real thing haven’t lasted here but local places have copy-cat versions. There’s a hot dog university to teach operators how to do it since it’s a got a lot of ingredients.

I think the CIB is a much better choice. Never had a good Maxwell St. Polish and there are places here that offer copy-cat versions, too.



Chicago hot dog “with everything”- a definitive guide:

1 Vienna all beef frankfurter. Simmered in water (NOT boiled, not grilled.)
1 S. Rosen poppy seed bun
Yellow mustard
diced white onions
emerald green relish
tomato slices
celery salt
pickle spear (they might ask you if you want it on the side)

also available by request:
pickled sport peppers

Ketchup is not included. It’s on the table for your fries. put it on yourself if you want it.

if you want it grilled, you order a char-dog. Jumbo dogs may be offered. Polish sausage or bratwurst are assumed to be grilled. The same ‘with everything’ list applies.

If you ask for a cheddar dog, it will likely be smeared with pub cheese, most likely Merkt’s brand. This is also what you’ll get for cheese fries.

source: my first job was at Poochie’s Hot dogs in Skokie IL (still there, I think but with new owners). I also rotated through Mages’ Dogs, also in Skokie, during high school. Now gone. And good riddance. Marty Mages was an asshole who paid kids under the table to cheat on his taxes. But, I was high score on the Pole Position machine there 'til they swapped it out for a Mario Bros. machine…