clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Watch: Why Is the Midwest Obsessed With Portillo’s and Its Chicago Dog?

Among all the hot dog joints in Chicago, this chain has stood out for more than 50 years

All around Chicago you’ll find vendors slinging the city’s beloved version of a hot dog: an all-beef frankfurter with yellow mustard, relish, chopped white onions, tomato wedges, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt, all perched on a poppy seed bun. But of all the many hot dog joints in Chicago, there’s one chain that has stood out for more than 50 years: Portillo’s.

And even though the Chicago dog is the bread and butter of Portillo’s, the other main attraction is Chicago’s beloved iconic sandwich, the Italian beef. Comprised of roast beef and spicy giardiniera on French bread, this regional favorite is best when it’s ordered “wet,” meaning fulling submerged in beef gravy. “If you’re eating an Italian beef dry, you’re not from Chicago,” says one Portillo’s follower. Whether you love Portillo’s or feel lukewarm about it, there’s definitely a strong sense of nostalgia around this Chicago institution.

Follow Eater on YouTube for more videos | Like Eater on Facebook to never miss a video

Eater at Home

In Defense of Recipes


Great! AI Can Generate All the Diaspora Food Writing Tropes

Holiday Gift Guides

Do All Your Last-Minute Holiday Shopping on Goldbelly

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day