Portillo's Restaurants

  (Redirected from Dick Portillo)

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".

Portillo's Restaurant Group, Inc.
FoundedApril 9, 1963; 58 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
RevenueUS $339 million (2017)[2]
OwnerBerkshire Partners
Number of employees
About 4,600[3]

Outside of Chicagoland and Northern Illinois, the chain also encompasses four locations each in central Illinois and the Phoenix metropolitan area, three locations each in the Indianapolis metropolitan area and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area; two locations each in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, Madison, Wisconsin metropolitan area, Southern California, and the Tampa metropolitan area; and one location each in Metro Detroit, South Bend metropolitan area, Fort Wayne, Orlando Metropolitan Area, and the Quad Cities.


Portillo's was founded in 1963 by Dick Portillo.[5] After returning from serving in the Marines, Portillo gathered money from his savings and from 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 the beginning stages, the stand was losing money and Portillo needed to find a solution. Portillo went to do some research one day on how other competitors were operating and 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 was in good 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 expanded 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] The Batavia, Illinois location closed just three years later.[12]

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.[13]

Outside IllinoisEdit

Portillo's first California location opened on October 11, 2005, at the Buena Park Downtown shopping center in Buena Park. The second California location opened in 2008 in the Inland Empire city of Moreno Valley. Portillo's also has four locations in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area in Arizona (Tempe, Scottsdale, and the most recent being in Avondale and Glendale), two in the Milwaukee metropolitan area (Brookfield and Greenfield), and one in the Northwest Indiana town of Merrillville, though the latter is still well within the firm's home market of the Chicago Metropolitan Area.

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." [14] Both Tampa and Brandon, FL locations are themed 30's Prohibition.[15]

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.[16] Many former Chicagoans have moved to both regions.

Portillo's opened its second restaurant in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area (Maple Grove), as well as in late 2018 in Roseville, Minnesota[17] as well as its third and fourth Indiana locations (Mishawaka and Indianapolis) [18][19] in 2018.

Portillo's had licensed restaurants in Tokyo, Japan, in the late 1980s and early '90s. The Japanese locations all eventually closed.[20]

Portillo's opened its first restaurant in the Madison, Wisconsin area in early 2019.

Portillo's opened its first restaurant in the Davenport, Iowa/Quad Cities area in early 2019, marking its first location in Iowa.

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]

Honey Jam CafeEdit

In 2010, Portillo Restaurant Group launched the Honey Jam Café concept,[24][25] an upscale pancake house similar to Walker Brothers Pancake House in both ambiance and menu[26] as a breakfast and lunch cafe.[26]


  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. ^ "Honey-Jam Cafe in Batavia closes". www.kcchronicle.com. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  13. ^ Patton, Leslie (27 September 2021). "Hot-Dog Restaurant Chain Portillo's Files to Go Public on Nasdaq". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  14. ^ "Iconic Chicago restaurant consoles Lightning fans in Tampa location announcement". Tampa Bay Tribune. 17 June 2015.
  15. ^ "All Locations". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  16. ^ Tuohy, John. "How to order from the menu at Fishers Portillo's grand opening". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  17. ^ "Nice to Meat You, Maple Grove. Portillo's is opening January 23rd!". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  18. ^ "Mishawaka, you're in luck! Portillo's is coming in 2018". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  19. ^ "Nice to Meat You, Indianapolis. Portillo's is coming this year!". Portillo's. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  20. ^ "FindArticles.com - CBSi". findarticles.com. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  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. ^ "What's the big idea? Breakfast". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  25. ^ Placek, Christopher (December 21, 2017). "Honey-Jam Cafe opening in Arlington Heights as replacement for Aurelio's". Daily Herald. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  26. ^ 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.

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