I’ve visited a few Portillo’s in the Chicago area and like the fact that each restaurant has its own theme. For example, the Vernon Hills location is decorated with gangster, 1920’s-era memorabilia, and the Forest Park location is decorated like a 1950’s diner. If you’ve never been to a Portillo’s, it can be a little confusing where and what to do upon entering the restaurant. It is a casual dining place, slightly more upscale than a fast food restaurant. There is no wait staff, so scope out the order counter.
Note: There are nine Portillo’s in the Chicago area that offer Barnelli’s, a secondary brand offered within the main restaurant. Barnelli’s serves Italian cuisine and salads. It has its own ordering station, which can divide your group up.
Portillo’s menu is rather large but many regulars know exactly what they want. I visit Portillo’s only a few times a year so I need a little extra time to study the menu. The staff is friendly and willing to offer suggestions. Once the order is placed they give you a receipt with your number; then you shift down to a second “corral” area to pick up your food. This can get very crowded depending upon the time of day.
Portillo’s offers dine in, carry out, and the most efficient drive thru service I have ever witnessed! They usually have two people taking orders, two people collecting money, and two people delivering your food to the car. The drive thru gets super busy, but their efficiency and carefully thought out the process gets an A+ from me. The only negative: I wish they would provide you with a menu instead of deciding what to order off the sign. By the time they take your order, many times you’ve driven past the sign.
All meals are cooked to order and your specifications; add or subtract the condiments you want on your sandwich. Treat yourself to one of their milk shakes. You won’t be disappointed: super thick and flavorful.
Portillo’s is one of those restaurants that no matter which location you visit, over 40 in Illinois and one coming soon to Brookfield, Wisconsin, the food quality remains consistently good.
Portillo’s offers a catering service that is wonderful for feeding the soccer or basketball team at very reasonable prices with large portions. In 2013, Portillo’s celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Cheers and congrats on the anniversary and I hope we can enjoy them for another 50!