If you ask Keith Kinsey, CEO of Portillo’s, what makes this Chicago-based chain a favorite among many, he will tell you that there are three specific factors: the food, the venue and the people.
Portillo’s is known first and foremost for their hot dogs and Italian sausage, topped with fresh vegetables and your choice of fixings. Aside from these signature items, there’s much more, from burgers to sausages and even meat-stuffed croissants. If you are looking for a healthier choice, the menu also includes a variety of salads including the chopped salads which Kinsey calls “phenomenal.” “We have a full line of menu items from the indulgent to healthy foods,” Kinsey says.
When it comes to venue, Portillo’s strives for intimacy with the community. Although Portillo’s is a national chain, they make sure to incorporate memorabilia from each location into that particular restaurant. For the Woodbury location, the first in Minnesota, there are plans to include pieces of our state’s history especially in terms of grains and agriculture. Kinsey says, “We are always making sure that we come back to the community we are in.”
While the food and the venue speak for themselves, it’s the people of Portillo’s that really make this operation come together. “We hire about 200 people,” Kinsey says. Working at an establishment like Portillo’s develops life skills, and these individuals are what link Portillo’s to the community in an extremely genuine way.
Local resident Colleen Cullen is excited about the arrival of Portillo’s. “Portillo’s became a family favorite in the three years we lived in Chicago,” Cullen says. “By combining the convenience of fast food with the freshness of items made to order, they serve Chicago-style comfort foods in a fun and friendly atmosphere. We love the burgers, Italian beef, Chicago-style hot dogs and salads. And their chocolate cake is amazing.”
Portillo’s groundbreaking ceremony occurred in January; they plan to officially open in July on Radio Drive near Cabela’s.