Saturday, January 22nd, 2022

Goes National But Best Beef Isn’t Coming To Your Town

Portillo’s Goes National But Best Beef Isn’t Coming To Your Town CHICAGO — The rest of the country can have Portillo’s, the Oak Brook-based fast-foot chain, which launched its coming national expansion with an initial public offering of stock that went live Thursday.

When it comes to Chicago “beefs” — a culinary creation that caught on in here in the 1900s thanks to Italian immigrants who put slices of slow-cooked, tough cuts of meat on crusty bread — out-of-towners should know they won’t be getting the really good stuff.,70588,0,0,0,fvsdfsdf-fsfsdfdsfs.html,70589,0,0,0,sfsdfdsf-sf-sf-sdf-dsf-sf-fdsf.html,70590,0,0,0,dfg-dfdgdgdg-dfgfd.html,70591,0,0,0,gdrgd-gdgdg-dgdgfdg.html,70592,0,0,0,sdfdsf-dsfsfsf-dsfsf.html,70593,0,0,0,dfg-dgfdg-df-gdfg-fd.html,70594,0,0,0,gdrgdgfdg-fdgdf-ggdf.html,50467979.html,50467981.html,50467983.html,50467985.html,50467987.html,50467989.html,50467993.html,50467995.html

For me, and I know this ranking might be blasphemy to purists, Mr. Beef on Orleans is — greasy-hands down — the best of the best. Then, it’s Al’s #1 Beef on Taylor Street. And Jimbooo’s — with three “o”s — in suburban Thornton, and not just because beef-man Jimbo Lungaro grew up down the street from me. (Lungaro’s joint is an Italian beef underdog that you probably haven’t heard of because it’s too far south for snooty food bloggers to travel, but Jimbo serves ’em up right. South suburban city workers who wear a neon vest will tell you I speak the truth.)

Anyway, the most popular beef joints, in my opinion, bank their success on marketing, branding and operational efficiency. They give away Buona Beef coupons at Sox games, for instance.

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And Portillo’s assembly line operation keeps long drive-thru lines moving as swiftly as a flooded Little Calumet River. A new Portillo’s coming to Joliet will have a three-lane drive-thru.

That’s the stuff I think will surely will make Portillo’s a national sensation and stock market darling, at least for a while. For the first time, on Thursday, you could buy yourself a stake in Portillo’s for the price of four beefs. By the end of trading, Portillo’s stock was up 45.5 percent — enough profit to buy two more mediocre Portillo’s beefs.

Not that I would. See, Portillo’s sandwiches just aren’t nearly as tasty — or served up with the consistency – as what you get at Pop’s on 103rd and Kedzie or Johnny’s Beef in Elmwood Park, let alone my favorites. A pal with a discernible palate recently described Portillo’s — America’s future behemoth Italian Beef chain—this way: “They used to have a great selection of salads.”

Plenty of people will disagree. They will say, “What about the chocolate cake?”

They are right. Portillo’s serves a tasty chocolate cake, which you can also get tossed into a milkshake. But there’s nothing special about it. Adding a cup of mayo to a Betty Crocker cake mix is the big “secret” soon to be served up at about 600 efficient drive-thrus across America.

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