Mar 14, 2024 - Food and Drink

Why is Portillo's such a big deal?

Photo of wrapped hot dogs.

Wrapped Portillo's hot dogs coming to Houston soon. Photo: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Popular Chicago-based chain Portillo's is opening two locations in the Houston area this year.

Why it matters: Apparently, Portillo's is a big deal — some even dare to say it's the best Chicago food chain.

Catch up quick: Known for its hot dogs and chocolate cakes, Portillo's will open locations in Richmond and Willowbrook this year. The opening dates have yet to be announced.

  • The chain added five locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area last year.
  • "We're thrilled to expand into Houston, and we can't wait to bring our unrivaled Chicago street food to a brand-new market in the Lone Star State," Portillo's CEO Michael Osanloo said.

To understand the hype, we reached out to our friends over at Axios Chicago.

  • Carrie Shepherd recommends the vegan hot dogs and says the "chocolate cake is ridiculously rich."

The other side: There's better authentic Chicago food.

  • "Portillos makes iconic sandwiches for a fast food crowd. So it's great — but at the end of day, you can find Italian beef and hot dogs done better at smaller spots throughout Chicago," according to Justin Kaufmann.

The bottom line: "Don't skip the chocolate cake shake. It is made with mayonnaise!" Kaufmann says.

What we're watching: If Portillo's will become a staple for Houstonians too.


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