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South Loop Portillo's Opens Tuesday; Here's A First Look Inside (And Out)

 Here's a sneak peek at the new Portillo's opening Tuesday in the South Loop. 
South Loop Portillo's
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SOUTH LOOP — Portillo's is headed south.

The new South Loop Portillo's is opening Tuesday at 520 W. Taylor St. The second city restaurant in the suburban chain, the new Portillo's is surrounded by a huge parking lot and features a rooftop patio with skyline views. 

"For many, many years people have asked us to move south," said Nick Scarpino, a Portillo's spokesman. "We feel like we had to open down here."

The new two-floor restaurant at Taylor and Clinton streets seats about 240 people and, like its River North predecessor, will serve beer in addition to Chicago-style fare. Its decor includes memorabilia from the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago and a 1928 Ford Model AA truck. 

The restaurant, which was first announced last fall, is replacing a parking lot. Because of its long drive-through lines, the chain only considers large sites that are two acres or larger, Scarpino said. That means the next city Portillo's may not arrive for awhile. 

"Our founder used to say 'long lines don't impress me, long lines that move fast impress me,'" Scarpino said.

Portillo's, known for Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs, hosted a private reception Thursday in advance of its Tuesday opening. One of the guests was Adam Soko, a food writer from Pilsen who was raised in the Northwest Suburbs. 

"I grew up on Portillo's," Soko said. "The fact this has a parking lot is sweet. I don't have to schlep up to River North anymore."

Check out the slideshow above or scroll down below for more looks at the new Portillo's before it opens:

[all photos by DNAinfo/David Matthews]


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