For years, there was only one Portillo's location within Chicago city limits, forcing residents and visitors to make the trip to River North to get their hot dog, cheese fries and chocolate cake shake fix. After the chain was purchased by investment firm Berkshire Partners in 2014, it has slowly expanded its footprint in Chicago, opening a second restaurant on Taylor Street just north of the Roosevelt Collection in 2016. Now, a third Portillo's location is on its way to the city's Northwest Side.
Originally proposed at a community meeting in October 2018, Chicago's newest Portillo's will be located on the southeast corner of Addison Street and Kimball Avenue, on the border of Avondale and Irving Park. The 9,000-square-foot restaurant will take the place of a single-story building that was being used by a taxi company and will boast a parking lot with room for more than 120 cars. After several community meetings, 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa approved a zoning change for the property (which is located in a manufacturing district), allowing the restaurant to be built.
Like all Portillo's locations, the dining room will boast a retro theme, combining elements of the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression and the New Deal. The 280-person dining area will be decorated with brewery memorabilia, posters of gangsters, photos from the World’s Fair and an antique truck from the 1920s. The new outpost will also offers patio seating and a double drive-through (which should come in handy, thanks to the restaurant's proximity to the Kennedy Expressway).
The Northwest Side's first Portillo's is slated to open before the end of the year, and we're hoping it can coexist with the hot dog cart inside the Home Depot across the street.