The founder of Portillo’s, Dick Portillo, opened the first ever “Dog House” (as it was called back in the day), in 1963. He purchased a 6’ x 12’ trailer in the Chicago-area that had no bathroom and no running water. With a little hard work and determination Dick quickly transformed Portillo’s into a popular stop amongst the local community. Four years later the company had profited enough money to move locations into a building that had both a bathroom and running water. Soon after they perfected their operations strategy they were able to open their first Drive-Thru in Downers Grove, IL, and shortly after became known for their quick drive-thru service.
It wasn’t long before they started opening up new locations in Illinois, California, Indiana, Arizona, Florida and Wisconsin. Word spread fast and pretty soon Portillo’s added a catering component to their list of services as well as a Nationwide shipping service to all 50 states.
Portillo’s has officially announced plans to open its 50th restaurant next July in Minnesota, representing the chain’s seventh state. CEO Keith Kinsey spoke with Nation’s Restaurant News stating, “It’s a growing city, a growing economy,” confirming the company’s belief that Minnesota is the perfect next step for Portillo’s. What’s interesting is that their mail-order business is what encouraged them to look into Minnesota as their next location. Through this service the company is able to identify markets where there is already an established customer base and brand awareness, ensuring their success. The opening of the Minnesota location will signify a major achievement for the chain, representing their 50th location!