Portillo’s Opening Quickly in Joliet – Shaw Local

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Portillo’s opened its first modern take-out restaurant Tuesday in Joliet, a historic moment that Mike Portillo said was something of a throwback to the early days of the company’s development.

Portillo, son of founder Dick Portillo and vice president of restaurant support for the company, drove a 1970 Chevy Chevelle down one of three drive-thru lanes to mark the opening of Portillo’s Pick Up at 1444 N. Larkin Ave.

The Chevelle’s year symbolized the Joliet restaurant’s place as number 70 in the Portillo chain. The vintage model matches the restaurant’s racing theme, which is designed to get food to customers quickly.

Michael Portillo (right) and Portillo contest winner Frank Ramsey of Romeoville wait in the drive-thru for the opening of the new Joliet Portillo location in North Larkin.  Tuesday, February 1, 2022 in Joliet.

It’s a new concept, but Mike Portillo said he was reminded of his father’s decision to install the first drive-thru in a new Portillo being built in Downers Grove in 1983. The building was underway construction when Dick Portillo noticed how busy his future was. customers appeared to be as they moved to and from their cars in the mall around the restaurant.

“He said, ‘We have to make this restaurant convenient for customers,’ Mike said, recounting a conversation between his father and the architect, who reminded him that the building was already two-thirds complete. said, ‘I know. That’s why we need to implement this drive-thru now.

Michael Portillo, Vice President of Restaurant Support, was on the front line for the opening of Joliet Portillo's new location on North Larkin.  Tuesday, February 1, 2022 in Joliet.

So it was done.

The Downers Grove restaurant became the busiest in the chain. These days, the Shorewood Restaurant on Route 59 is the busiest restaurant, Portillo said.

Portillo’s has become an innovator in drive-thru, adding second drive-thru lanes and putting employees out to process customer orders as quickly as possible, Portillo said.

The Portillo Pick Up in Joliet adds another innovation – a third lane for pre-order pickup designed to give customers their food as soon as they arrive if they order ahead.

Known for their fast delivery, Portillo staff wear shirts resembling race car crews as they open the new Joliet Portillo location in North Larkin.  Tuesday, February 1, 2022 in Joliet.

Tuesday’s customers included Frank Ramsey of Romeoville, who won a gift card giving him free weekly meals for a year.

“Absolutely, as long as I can remember,” Ramsey said when asked if he was a regular Portillo customer.

He grew up with the Downers Grove restaurant, having lived in Westmont, Ramsey said.

Portillo customers invited customers to drive vintage cars in the drive-thru on day one, and the very first customers did.

Ed and Debbie Galvan give their drive-thru order for the opening of the new Joliet Portillo location in North Larkin.  Tuesday, February 1, 2022 in Joliet.

Ed and Debbie Glavan of Joliet were in a light blue 1975 Oldmobile Cutlass Supreme just behind Portillo’s Chevelle as business started rolling at the restaurant.

Debbie said she liked the idea of ​​the restaurant being all about take-out orders.

“With all of COVID-19, it’s best not to go inside, I think,” she said.

Portillo’s, which started in 1963 as “The Dog House” in a trailer in Villa Park, now has operations in nine states, including Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California , Florida and Arizona.

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