A trip to Chicago would not be complete with out a visit to one of the 30 Portillos located in and around Chicago. Portillos built their business based on their all beef, great tasting hotdogs. It is that quality that brings them the high success they enjoy today. The buildings are decorated in old fashion decor. Neon lights, old juke boxes, James Dean posters, vinyl booths and '60s music adorn many of the stores.
While the price has gone up over the years, this eatery is worth the few extra bucks. Their Italian beefs are made on fresh bread brought in daily. The hotdogs are still all beef and are definitely the best in town. The fries are crinkle cut and 9 out 10 times perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They offer ketchup to pump into small cups or you can go the cheese route. The cup of hot gold might not be real cheese but darn it's good. The menu has expanded over the years. Good choices are the combo beef and sausage, broiled chicken breast on croissant, and the onion rings. A recent addition to the Portillos family is Barnelli's Pasta Bowl, which serves up Italian dishes and chopped salads.
For that something sweet, you cannot beat their chocolate cake. Only your mother might be able to top this dessert. (And even then, it would be a close call.) Portillos is also one of the remaining few fast food joints to offer malted milk shakes. For those who can't choose, just combine the two for their chocolate cake shake.
And for the over-21s, Portillos serves beers on tap for dine in. A typical meal of a hot dog, fries, and a drink can run you upwards of $7. So save your pennies: it's worth it.
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January 28, 2006
From journal Nothing Shy about Chi-town
March 28, 2005
From journal Visiting the windy city