DOWNTOWN — Portillo's takes the cake.
A new analysis of online data has revealed Portillo's as the preferred regional food chain of Illinois.
Website Wisely analyzed Facebook audience data for over 300 regional restaurant chains across the country and tallied up "likes" by state to determine which diners and drive-thrus reigned supreme within state lines. The analysis did not look at national chains like McDonald's.
Wisconsin-based Culver's won out nearly all of the Midwest, including its home state, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota. But it lost in Illinois, where it took second place to Portillo's, which originated in suburban Villa Park in 1963.
The most popular regional chains by state. [Wiseley]
After those two favorites, data showed hungry Illinoisans sought out (in order): Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, Potbelly, Giordano's, Shake Shack, Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Gino's East, Blaze Pizza and Twin Peaks.
Illinois' passion for the classic grease joint's Italian beef sandwiches, hot dogs, sausages, salads and pasta isn't completely shocking considering some fans have gone to great lengths to get recipes for some of the chain's famous desserts, like the man who was willing to shell out several hundred dollars to get another taste of its coveted lemon cake.
And for those who've left Illinois or live in a state without a Portillo's, its new subscription service allows admirers craving the chain to order it straight to their front door.