History of Portillo's

At Portillo's, we attribute much of our success to our hard-working employees and to you, our loyal customers. Thank you for your support.

  • 1963

    Dog House

    The first Portillo's hot dog stand known as "The Dog House" opens in 1963 on North Avenue in Villa Park. Owner and founder Dick Portillo invests $1,100 into a 6' x 12' trailer without a bathroom or running water. To get the water he needs, he runs 250 feet of garden hose from a nearby building into the trailer.

  • 1967

    New Look

    By 1967, "The Dog House" is a success and is ready for a new look. It is renamed "Portillo's" and moves to a new building.

  • 1983

    First Drive-Thru

    Portillo's first drive-thru opens in Downers Grove, IL. Almost immediately, Portillo's becomes known for speedy drive-thru service.

  • 1985

    Featured in Forbes

    Founder Dick Portillo is featured in Forbes Magazine as an "Up and Comer" for leading Portillo's to success in the Chicagoland area.

  • 1993

    Barnelli's is Introduced

    The Barnelli's Pasta Bowl concept is introduced inside an existing Portillo's restaurant. The concept features a variety of pastas with homemade sauces, gourmet salads, and hand-made sandwiches.

  • 1994

    First Chicago Opening

    After years of requests from fans, Portillo's opens in Chicago at the intersection of Clark and Ontario Streets. Many of the items inside the store are purchased from the original Chicago Stadium, including the original Chicago Blackhawks 1938 Stanley Cup banner.

  • 1994

    Entrepreneur of the Year

    Dick Portillo is named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine.

  • 1999

    Portillo's Home Kitchen

    Portillo's Home Kitchen Catering begins. Catering deliveries are made for the first time the next year.

    Learn More About Our Catering Services

  • 2000

    Nationwide Shipping

    Portillo's begins shipping food to all 50 states. Residents in states outside of Illinois finally have a way to enjoy Portillo's food without taking a long road trip.

  • 2005

    Portillo's in California

    Portillo's expands outside of Illinois for the first time with a restaurant in Buena Park, California. Later, in 2008, Portillo's opens in Moreno Valley, California.

  • 2006

    Portillo's in Indiana

    Portillo's opens its first restaurant in Indiana by opening in Merrillville.

  • 2013

    Portillo's in Arizona

    Portillo's opens in its fourth state: Arizona. The line of people outside the building before the grand opening in Scottsdale exceeds 500 people. The Portillo's in Tempe opens just a few months after Scottsdale.

  • 2015


    With several new restaurants planned for the Chicagoland area and beyond, it's a great time to be a Portillo's fan. Under Dick Portillo's continued guidance, we're committed to bringing our quality food and service to new markets around the country.