for any of you whom are familiar with Chicago, I'm excited for this one. We don't have a good Chicago dog here.
Portillo's planning expansion into Arizona
Phoenix Business Journal by Adam Kress, New Media Editor
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 12:46pm MST
Related:Commercial Real Estate, Retailing & Restaurants, Food & Restaurants View photo gallery (6 photos) All photos provided by Portillo's
A view into the kitchen of a Portillo's Hot Dogs in Illinois. The company is planning several Phoenix-area locations.
New Media Editor - Phoenix Business Journal
Email | Twitter The Portillo Restaurant Group is planning an expansion into Arizona, bringing a Chicago institution to the Valley in the form of hot dogs and Italian beef.
The Chicago-area restaurant company is scouting locations in Tempe, Chandler and Scottsdale for new Portillo’s restaurants, and founder Dick Portillo said he’s bullish on the expansion.
“We ship a lot of (mail-order) food to Arizona, and I got emails all the time from people asking us to open there,” Portillo said in an interview earlier today. “I think we have a lot of fans there, and I want to be proactive on this.”
There are 31 Portillo’s Hot Dogs locations nationwide, with all but three in Illinois. The company has one Indiana store, and in 2005 branched out into California with two locations. Portillo’s specializes in Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef, but also offers made-to order salads, burgers, desserts and beer.
The company is in discussions with officials at both Tempe Marketplace and Chandler Fashion Center to open locations at each. Portillo’s was close to securing a location at Paradise Valley Mall, but the deal fell through this week. In all, Portillo would like three or four Phoenix-area restaurants.
“I have people looking at other locations in Phoenix and Scottsdale,” Portillo said. “Once we get approval from any location, we could be open in about eight or nine months.”
Portillo said he’s looking for at least 7,000 square feet of space for new locations, which must have a drive-through and ample parking. He would build the new restaurants.
“We’re drawing up plans as we speak even though a location isn’t locked down,” Portillo said. “We plan to move quickly.”
Each Portillo’s location seats at least 200 people in a fast-casual setting. The restaurants all are designed and decorated slightly differently, but food always is prepared along a long counter where diners get a view. The restaurants employ at least 120 people each and draw their biggest crowds around lunch.
Dick Portillo is the sole owner of the Portillo Restaurant Group, which includes 47 restaurants, a catering and shipping division and shopping center. It has nearly 4,000 employees, but it all started in 1963 from Portillo’s hot dog stand in Villa Park, Ill., known as “The Dog House.” The then-23-year-old invested $1,100 into a 6-foot by 12-foot trailer without a bathroom or running water. To get the water he needed, he ran 250 feet of garden hose to a nearby building.
“It’s been the American Dream,” said Portillo, now 72. “We’re the highest-grossing fast-casual restaurant in the country and did more than a quarter-billion dollars in sales last year. We bring a lot of energy and a lot of sales tax dollars to where ever we go.”
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Last edited by combusean; Feb 6, 2012 at 6:27 PM.
Reason: cleaned up bad copy paste