Portillos: A staple of Chicago here in Mishawaka

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On Monday, March 19, a new Portillos restaurant officially opened for business here in Mishawaka. Portillos is famous in Chicago for its Chicago-style hot dogs, though it has many other food options as well.

Staff and students alike attest that Portillos is excellent. “I'm a big fan, so any time I was in the Chicago area, I'd make sure that I arranged for a time to stop in a Portillos,” Keith Koteskey, assistant professor of Christian ministry. Portillos is one of the staples of Chicago. Sophomore Philip Arndt, whose hometown is Chicago, said as much, “When you think of Chicago, you think of two things...deep-dish pizza and Portillos. It's one of those staples.” Portillos has a few different aspects to it. The first is the drive-thru. The drive-thru contains two lines of cars, and employees take orders outside the restaurant. This system makes the drive through a quick and expedient process, according to Cheryl Neff, call center operator for Campus Safety. The second aspect is the atmosphere inside the restaurant itself. “[The atmosphere is] typically always busy,” said Arndt, “so it makes everything fast paced and exciting.” Freshman McKenna Liebenow, who also comes from the Chicago area, said, “I just love the busy atmosphere, they are talking into the microphones and calling out your orders.” Liebenow continued to explain how the employees, at least at the multiple Portillos’ she has been to, call orders by using rhymes such as “Order 48, no more wait.” It’s an interesting mix between busy and comfortable. “Everything is ordered chaos and its cool just to be a part of it,” freshman Zach Miller. “It is really chill. It's not super formal or anything.” While different locations have different environments, both Arndt and senior Josh Goodman say that Portillos has a comfortable, old-time kind of feel, which gives it the “chill” feeling that Miller mentioned.  “I know it's definitely a Chicago kind of restaurant,” Goodman commented, “and the one we went to is kind of a very retro restaurant in a sense…that was really cool, they were really committed to the theme of being like an old-school dinner.” The third and most important aspect is the food. Portillos is famous for its hot dogs, but it also serves other food that is very high quality as well. One of the most popular foods of Portillos besides the Chicago-style hot dog is the Italian Beef Sandwich. “I tried a tuna sandwich the other day, loved that,” said Liebenow. “The salads are really good, I've tried those. Everything I've tried has been amazing.” “They also have a milkshake that's called the chocolate cake shake where they actually put a piece of chocolate cake in it, blend that up with the ice cream,” Kotesky said. “It's really good. I would eat it more often if it didn't have the kind of calories it does.” Portillos has always been quite far away from the Mishawaka area. But now that it’s finally come to Mishawaka, many people on campus are excited. Koteskey talked excitedly how he will now be able to “branch out and try new things on the menu” since he is now able to go to there more often. Portillos having a location in Mishawaka opens up new options for Bethel students and staff, as well as the community of this area. Liebenow sums up the benefit of Portillos to the area like this:  “It's like a step up from fast food,” she said, “it's not a sit-down restaurant but then it's also not like McDonalds or something, it's like an in between, still cheap, but nice-ish.” People from Indiana enjoy having the opportunity to stay closer to home when eating at Portillos, and students from Chicago enjoy feeling closer to home when eating at Portillos. “I'm excited that it's in the area, because it's a little bit of home that's made its way over here,” Arndt said. (Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash)
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