Portillo's Hot Dogs. Some Say They're the Best

Very good...with two important qualifications

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By David Hammond

Whenever my two brothers from Seattle come to town, they have two things on their minds: Italian beef and hot dogs.

For hot dogs, my brother Kim prefers Portillo's. He used to go to the original location in Villa Park with his then-girlfriend-now-wife when they were in high school.

It's amusing to me that the place is pronounced Pour-till-o's rather than the more Spanish-sounding (and the owners are Mexican) Pour-tea-o's. No one would ever go there, of course, planning to have Mexican food.

With hot dogs on the brain, Kim and I went to the location on Roosevelt last week, and I thought the dog was very good, with two important qualifications.

The tomatoes were mealy, but that's forgivable, as we're many months from tomato season. Still, I had the distinct suspicion that these tomatoes had been refrigerated, which is a sure way to wreck them.

Less forgivable is the bun, which like those at too many hot dog places, was horrible: mushy, card-boardy, falling apart and clearly, painfully over-steamed.

The wiener itself was pretty good: nice snap on the casing, light garlicky flavor, fine. The bun, however, disgraces the dog.

Before I declare any hot dog the best, I need to be comfortable with all components, and I have to say, the poorly prepared bun at Portillo's breaks the deal, at least for me.

Do you have a superior place for Chicagoland's favorite sausage? Do tell.


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Posted: March 28th, 2013 10:29 PM

I like Pete's myself. Fast, friendly and good food. I don't like tomatoes, so I always ask for Cucumbers! Ketchup, YES I said Ketchup & Mustard with Cucumbers. Been to Gene & Judes.....NOT impressed. I've had Johnny's in Elmwood Park, not impressed and I wouldn't eat at Lucky Dog if it were free.

anneE from oak park  

Posted: March 28th, 2013 8:23 PM

Pete's makes a great Chicago dog!!!!

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2013 9:50 AM

Three words: Gene's. And. Jude's.

Chinese foodie  

Posted: March 28th, 2013 3:32 AM

Tasty Dog is pretty good, but to tell you the truth, I've had pretty good hot dogs from the vendors at Home Depot.

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