Portillo’s Hot Dogs and Italian Beef
In my humble opinion, I don’t think we can rightly call ourselves a Chicago food blog if we have yet to make any mention of Portillo’s. Sure, we’ve written about Lou Malnati’s pizza and have watched the making of a Chicago hot dog , but until now we’ve been missing one very crucial part of the Chicago food puzzle: Portillo’s and their famous hot dogs and Italian beef.
I’m a little ashamed that it has taken me until now to write about Portillo’s, especially considering I go there fairly regularly. Known for their quality food and incredible service, I am just one of numerous repeat customers Portillo’s attracts from both in and outside of Chicagoland. Sure, they serve up a standard food fare of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches (all pictured above) – but Portillo’s always seems like a treat whenever I go there.
The fact that every time I go there I can never decide what I want is a testament to how good their food is. I’ve had their burgers, I’ve had their hot dogs, I’ve had their charbroiled chicken sandwiches AND their Italian beef, and I like them all! They even serve delicious milkshakes to accompany your meal.
Always true to its Chicago roots, Portillo’s originally opened in 1963 as a small hot dog stand called “The Dog House”. Run by Dick Portillo himself, the successful hot dog stand eventually expanded in 1967 to become a full restaurant named Portillo’s. Now the Chicago chain has 45 different locations, including a few in Indiana and Southern California. Each Portillo’s has a fun atmosphere, elaborately decorated with historical figurines and portraits.
But perhaps one of their most famous food items is one synonymous with true Chicago food culture: the Italian Beef Sandwich. What is Italian beef you ask? Typically, it’s a rump roast cooked until tender and seasoned with garlic, bay leaves and all sorts of seasonings. Serve it on an Italian hoagie roll and you’ve got a piece of Chicago for a meal! Here are some recipes: