A Day for the Dogs: Portillo’s Celebrates Grand Opening
A taste of the Windy City has blown into the northwest suburbs. On Tuesday, Portillo’s had a ribbon cutting and grand opening for its new Maple Grove location.
Portillo’s now has 52 restaurants. The chain has come a long way from humble beginnings in 1963 when it started as a small hot dog stand in suburban Chicago.
“We’re glad to be here,” said founder Dick Portillo. “Come and give us a chance. Give us a try.”
Day one drew a huge crowd as people flocked there to eat. Some city council members had expressed concern about the traffic impact, but there were no issues Tuesday and Maple Grove Mayor Mark Steffenson believes traffic won’t be a problem in the future.
“From what we saw last fall, last summer with the outpouring of desire to have this here, we certainly know that there is a lot of people in the community that want to come to Portillo’s,” said Steffenson.
Portillo’s has a throwback look with plenty of nostalgia. Some believe it could drive more traffic to neighboring bricks-and-mortar shops.
“We will draw more people than pretty much anybody in this shopping center,” Portillo said. “We feed thousands of people a day.”
Crystal resident John Pedersen is among them. Pederson has logged many miles pursuing Portillo’s signature hot dogs and other food items.
“I’ve been going to Portillo’s for about 20 years,” Pedersen said. “Started going in Chicago. I’d go to Chicago twice a year just to eat.”
Pederson was the first person to get served in Maple Grove and was thrilled to be part of it all.
“I have never gone to a grand opening,” Pedersen said. “I said ‘this is one I am not missing.'”