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Michigan Just Keeps Winning (The State, Not The University): Portillo's Announces It's Opening Its First Store In The Wolverine State

MLive- - We’ve learned more about the highly anticipated opening of Michigan’s first Portillo’s restaurant. The popular Chicago-style Italian beef eatery plans to open in Sterling Heights this spring. When the announcement was first made earlier this year, the only time frame given was sometime in 2021.

The 7,900 square-foot restaurant will be located on Hall Road. We’re told the décor will be retro-inspired and feature the authenticity of the brand dating back to the 1960s, when it was founded. As a tribute to Metro Detroit, the interior will also showcase the automotive history of the area.

“We have had Portillo’s fans asking us to come to Michigan for years,” said Michael Osanloo, CEO of Portillo’s. “We can’t wait to be a part of such a great, thriving community in Sterling Heights.”

Besides its famous Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches, Portillo’s serves Chicago-style hot dogs, char-grilled burgers, cheese fries, salads, Italian sausages and more. It’s also famous for its chocolate cake and chocolate cake milkshakes.

The Sterling Heights restaurant will have seating for more than 180 guests, a seasonal outdoor patio with seating for more than 50 people and double drive-thru lanes. Once complete, the restaurant will be the first Portillo’s location to feature a garage-like environment.

Huge get for the state of Michigan here. A couple years ago they introduced Jets Pizza to the state of Illinois and as good as a franchise pizza chain that it is, this is a Scott Feldman for Jake Arrieta level one sider trade off. 

Portillo's is not just one of the best-run operations in Chicago; not just the United States; but the entire world. Earth. 

My best friend from Massachusetts' family owns like 18 McDonald's franchises. Once a year they have to come to Chicago for corporate meetings at headquarters and do you know what's on America's largest corporation's agenda every year? A trip to Portillo's for all to see in person what a marvel this sexy mfer Dick Portillo created.

Jesse Grant. Getty Images.

(getty images)

What started as this little trailer named "The Dog Shack" in 1963 for $1,100 

has grown into a company with 53 locations throughout Illinois (that each average $7-8 million in revenue annually) that Berkshire Partners bought for close to 1 BILLION dollars in 2014

There isn't a single item on their menu you can go wrong with. Everything is consistent every time you go no matter which location which is not easy to accomplish. Their systems and operations are best in service to the point McDonald's is in awe. 

(They also have one of the sneaky best breaded chicken sandwiches on the planet)

As anybody that's been to Michigan knows they are the king of "Coney's". They've got "(insert Greek name here)'s Coney Island" hot dog joints in almost every town in the state. What's crazy is some of my friends had no idea the reference had anything to do with Nathan's and Coney Island in New York. They just grew up calling Detroit style hot dogs "Coneys". Among these Coney hot dog joints they have one of the best in the country-

Lafayette Coney Dogs in downtown Detroit.

They have not only one of the best hot dogs I've had anywhere in the country, they have one of the best dining experiences you can have anywhere in the country. 

As you can see in the pic above it's a small diner that feels and smells like its been around for 150 years. They have a bathroom in the basement that you have to squeeze down a spiral staircase to get to and then crouch to hit the toilet. 

When you order, one of the nice Greek gentlemen behind the counter takes your order in his head, no pad of paper or pen, no POS system, and knocks it out on the grill. You then go and sit down and another guy brings your dogs to your table like this-

The place never closes so it's the perfect 2 or 3 am stop on your way home. These taste even better than they look when you're hammered and I'm convinced they prevent hangovers.

So the question is "can Portillo's compete in this market?" to which I reply, for the record, unequivocally, "yes".

Maybe not head to head with Lafayette, but with the Leo's and the other run of the mill hot dog joints Dick Portillo is in his own lane. 

I mean look at these works of art.

Their cheese fries are lethal and their chocolate cake AND their chocolate cake shake are out of this world.

So congratulations Michigan. Your football programs on all levels might suck, but your food does not and it's getting even better.

p.s.- call me a Dick Portillo fanboy all you want. I wear it proudly. I would kill to meet the man and pick his brain/shake his hand.