Essay On The History Of The Hotdog

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Founded in 1963, Dick Portillo invested $1,100 in a small trailer in Villa Park, a town originally developed as a home for the employees who worked in the Ovaltine plant.

Called “The Dog House,” Portillo’s first place didn’t have a bathroom or running water, not really the way you see a hot dog empire starting.

Portillo’s was my dinner twice a week when I was a child, and I like to think I turned out okay.

I’m not saying those hot dogs and crinkle-cut fries are my version of Proust’s madeleine, but they come pretty damn close.

But sure enough, three years later, when they moved into an an actual space where people could sit down or use the restroom, something must have clicked.

Flash-forward to 2017: Portillo’s has over 35 locations in the Chicagoland area, California, Arizona, Minnesota, and Florida. Where other locals like Wolfy’s and Gene & Jude's or Al’s Italian Beef stayed local, Portillo’s branched out, moved beyond the city limits, and in 2014, the company was sold by Portillo to the equity firm Berkshire Partners in a deal that was reportedly worth close to

Flash-forward to 2017: Portillo’s has over 35 locations in the Chicagoland area, California, Arizona, Minnesota, and Florida. Where other locals like Wolfy’s and Gene & Jude's or Al’s Italian Beef stayed local, Portillo’s branched out, moved beyond the city limits, and in 2014, the company was sold by Portillo to the equity firm Berkshire Partners in a deal that was reportedly worth close to $1 billion.

I pointed out houses Frank Lloyd Wright designed, the place where I saw Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton driving in his black Lamborghini, and the parking lots of my teenage years where my friends and I would chug lukewarm beers and skateboard until the cops showed up.

But I also spent a good portion of the drive telling her about all the spots where we used to get hot dogs.

To some locals, it confirmed what they believed all along: Portillo’s was always corporate, a tourist trap.

They were just looking to sell out to the right buyer, and finally did when the price was right.

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Flash-forward to 2017: Portillo’s has over 35 locations in the Chicagoland area, California, Arizona, Minnesota, and Florida. Where other locals like Wolfy’s and Gene & Jude's or Al’s Italian Beef stayed local, Portillo’s branched out, moved beyond the city limits, and in 2014, the company was sold by Portillo to the equity firm Berkshire Partners in a deal that was reportedly worth close to $1 billion.I pointed out houses Frank Lloyd Wright designed, the place where I saw Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton driving in his black Lamborghini, and the parking lots of my teenage years where my friends and I would chug lukewarm beers and skateboard until the cops showed up.But I also spent a good portion of the drive telling her about all the spots where we used to get hot dogs.To some locals, it confirmed what they believed all along: Portillo’s was always corporate, a tourist trap.They were just looking to sell out to the right buyer, and finally did when the price was right.To me, it was the same old place that I always end up whenever I go back home.I went to Portillo’s after hockey practice, on my way to my grandparents’ house, and to pick up my mom who worked there part-time for a brief period after her and my father divorced.There’s enough room in this world for big and little Chicago hot dog places so as long as they don’t get too fancy, and Portillo’s has always executed that perfectly, just on a larger scale. The sale means expansion is on the horizon, and that has had mixed results for Chicago-based companies.Sure, Ray Kroc took the Mc Donald brothers idea from California and opened his first store in Des Plaines, Illinois.There’s so much to look around at, the people that work there are all in oxford shirt and a tie, but there isn’t a uniform look or feel to the restaurants; they don’t feel sterile.The whole experience from having somebody write your order on a white paper bag to the meal itself honestly feels as intimate as any little shack on the North or South Side.

billion.I pointed out houses Frank Lloyd Wright designed, the place where I saw Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton driving in his black Lamborghini, and the parking lots of my teenage years where my friends and I would chug lukewarm beers and skateboard until the cops showed up.But I also spent a good portion of the drive telling her about all the spots where we used to get hot dogs.To some locals, it confirmed what they believed all along: Portillo’s was always corporate, a tourist trap.They were just looking to sell out to the right buyer, and finally did when the price was right.To me, it was the same old place that I always end up whenever I go back home.I went to Portillo’s after hockey practice, on my way to my grandparents’ house, and to pick up my mom who worked there part-time for a brief period after her and my father divorced.There’s enough room in this world for big and little Chicago hot dog places so as long as they don’t get too fancy, and Portillo’s has always executed that perfectly, just on a larger scale. The sale means expansion is on the horizon, and that has had mixed results for Chicago-based companies.Sure, Ray Kroc took the Mc Donald brothers idea from California and opened his first store in Des Plaines, Illinois.There’s so much to look around at, the people that work there are all in oxford shirt and a tie, but there isn’t a uniform look or feel to the restaurants; they don’t feel sterile.The whole experience from having somebody write your order on a white paper bag to the meal itself honestly feels as intimate as any little shack on the North or South Side.

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