Today, I had the opportunity to get a sneak peak at one of my favorite restaurants that originated in the Chicagoland area-Portillo's. This restaurant, one that started as a hot dog stand, has spread to California, Arizona and Florida, to name a few states. Starting on Tuesday, July 19th, Wisconsin lovers will be able to taste what I experienced today in Brookfield, Wisconsin, located on 17685 W Bluemound Rd.
When I first heard Portillo's was coming to Wisconsin, a part of me was upset because it was native to Chicago and has become synonymous with Chicago's food scene. Wisconsin has their beer and brats and Chicago has their hot dogs and deep dish pizza, and that was the end of the discussion. I also heard about this news early into my senior year at Marquette so I was a tad bit jealous that Wisconsites would be able to devour the same food I had to wait to eat when I went back to Illinois. However, I began to think about how neat it was that a piece of Illinois was going to be on Wisconsin's plate and soon began to appreciate this change.
Dick Portillo, Portillo's' founder, Keith Kinsey, Portillo's CEO, and Steve Ponto, the Mayor of Brookfield, talked about the economic impact and good Portillo's will do for the community and mentioned they are beginning to research other places in Wisconsin as potential landing spots. Unfortunately, someone asked was Dick converting to Packer nation, something that made me a bit queasy. Luckily, the owner respectfully declined. Soon after, I posed a question to Dick and Steve about research and how they decided to choose Brookfield as their first Wisconsin-based location and their response can be viewed here.
As for their menu, something you all obviously are concerned about, it ranges from their hearty italian beefs, beef and cheddar croissants and chopped salads. Something new to their menu is their bratwurst, an ode to Wisconsin and their tradition with this sausage. Thankfully, we were given the opportunity to try out an assortment of food, including Barnelli's pasta, onion rings and a daunting chocolate cake shake.
As usual, the food was fresh, the service was friendly, and this consistency in food and service stems from the company's culture that starts with Dick Portillo and trickles down to the young cashier trying to make a few dollars. Likewise, the nostalgic feel of Portillo's is unlike any other casual dining experience and is a unique feature that other places can not replicate. Although I enjoyed calling Portillo's my own when talking to those unfamiliar about this Chicago restaurant, I'm now willing to share the love, food and extra pounds that will follow after visiting Portillo's.
- Go to portillos.com/freecake to sign up to get a free slice of their chocolate cake on your birthday!
- Portillo's Employees go through an extensive 6 week process before opening up a location.
- Portillo's can be delivered anywhere in the the United States.
- It took Portillo's 6 months to get a permit to begin building in Brookfield.