Takeout Tastes: Portillo’s

Menu+items+from+Portillo%27s+Hot+Dogs.

Quinn White

Menu items from Portillo’s Hot Dogs.

Portillo’s is an Illinois restaurant staple that’s been serving up food since 1963. With 38 locations in Illinois — and 22 locations in other states including California, Arizona, Florida, Indiana and more — finding someone from the state who hasn’t heard of Portillo’s is rare.

As someone who grew up in and around the city of Chicago, I’ve had my fair share of Portillo’s from adolescence to current adulthood and boy do I love it. I’ve tried a variety of beef sandwiches across the city and always find my cravings for Italian Beefs lead me to the dual-colored bags of Portillos.

Although I do order food delivery quite often, I have never ordered Portillos to my house until this edition of Takeout Tastes — a subseries where I test my favorite Chicago restaurants for delivery. Before, I always opted for either dine-in or pickup and was never disappointed when the bag’s journey from restaurant to home was in my control. However, ordering Portillos for delivery was a disappointing experience and something I’ll stay away from in the future; here’s why. 

Full order

  • Big beef sandwich with sweet peppers 
  • Large fry with cheese sauce 
  •  Side of Au Jus

Review

Two of the major keys to successful food delivery are insulation and securing the items of food in a proper manner so that the customer receives hot, un-spilled food. However, Portillo’s packaging missed the mark for delivery. The beef was wrapped in tinfoil paper but was freezing cold upon arrival, along with the uncovered fries. The most heartbreaking part of all was opening the bag to reveal a completely decimated cheese sauce cup. 

The flavors, as always, were on point and consistent with my experiences eating at Portillo’s. However,  everything arrived cold and trying to reheat an Italian beef and fries without ruining them is more difficult than one may think. If you do decide to reheat delivery food though, stick to the oven — it’s worth the extra work to skip the microwave. 

Ordering Portillos through Uber Eats was disappointing because of the lack of package insulation and my cheese sauce fail. However, the flavors were delicious, which saved the experience from being a total disaster. Portillos is a major yes — but stick to pickup or dine-in (when dine-in is a safe option).