Our-history - Our Story | Portillo's
  • 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.

  • 2016

    Portillo's Expands to Two New States

    We open two restaurants in the sunshine state: Brandon and Tampa, FL. We also open a restaurant in Wisconsin for the first time, with our new location in Brookfield. We debut the "Badger Brat" in WI, a unique item only available at Portillo's in Wisconsin.

  • 2017

    Portillo's opens 50th location

    We expand to Minnesota, opening our 50th location in Woodbury, a suburb of St. Paul. We also open our second Wisconsin location in Greenfield, and added two locations south of Chicago in Champaign, IL, near University of Illinois and Normal, IL, near Illinois State University. We also launched delivery in November, making Portillo's available on demand at most locations nationwide.

  • 2018

    Wins TripAdvisor Award

    Our Chicago location at 100 W. Ontario was named top dog in the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice® awards for U.S.-based Fast Casual Restaurants!

  • 2019

    Opens 60th Location

    Opened first restaurant in Iowa. We have to give many franks to the Bring Portillo's to the Quad Cities Facebook page for inspiring us to build a restaurant in the QC. Thousands of group members made us feel like a pretty big dill by peppering us with requests to open in Davenport.

  • 2020

    Announces New Beef Bowls

    Added new low-carb option to our menu in the fall - Beef Bowls! We offer an Italian Beef Bowl, a Chicago Combo Bowl, and an Italiano bowl.

  • 2021

    Goes Public

    Portillo's launches Initial Public Offering (IPO) and debuts on the Nasdaq as $PTLO. Fans around the country can now be shareholders of Portillo's.

    Launched our first Spicy Chicken Sandwich in May 2021. Our new Spicy Chicken Sandwich is served on a toasted brioche bun with tomato, lettuce and our new Hot Giardiniera Sauce. The sauce is a hot giardiniera relish mixed into a creamy, hot sauce that can also be used as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders, fries, and onion rings!

  • 2022

    New Frontiers

    Opened our first-ever pick up only location in Joliet, IL.

    Launched our first plant-based menu item - the Garden Dog! The Garden Dog is made with 100% plant-based protein and is crafted for Portillo's by Field Roast.