Quad Cities Welcomes Portillo’s

When you travel the world, it’s no secret that people will ask you where you’re from. If you say Moline, Davenport, Rock Island, Silvis, East Moline, or Bettendorf or anything beyond the Midwest, the natural response you will get is, “Oh, is that near Chicago?” As you attempt to explain that you live nearly three hours from the city, you finally just give in and respond that it is close to Chicago. While we face these travel frustrations and own where we’re from, we can’t help but wish that a little bit of Chicago cuisine could move just a little bit closer to home. Dish-deep pizzas, Italian beef, Chicago dogs and more. But what if our wishes had finally come true? The long-awaited Portillo’s has been packed in Davenport. 

Portillo’s originated in 1963 in Villa Park, Illinois, when Dick Portillo had returned from the Marines and decided to open a 12-foot trailer based hot dog stand. What started as a dream became a well-loved empire and success story. While the popular place has over 60 locations around the United States, the Chicago-origin restaurant had yet to come to the Quad Cities until this year. Speculation and excitement started with the opening of the Peoria and Bloomington, Illinois, locations in early 2018, so much that a campaign was started to bring the famous Italian beef and burgers to the QC area.

The Quad Cities location did not disappoint. Filled with diner-like decor, I did miss the brick-and-ivy theme of some of the suburban Chicago locations; however, I found the retro diner style a nostalgic nod to my love for Happy Days and I thought the design was clever. Who doesn’t love a 50’s diner?

As avid baseball fans, my husband and I loved the Field of Dreams portrait, a true nod to Iowa’s role in the movie. It’s noted that Portillo’s often tries to vary the design of their stores for each location — a special mark to set each location apart from the other. The delicious beef and salty fries warmed my heart and I enjoyed having the treat without a two- to three-hour drive. My husband’s chocolate cake shake and my brother-in-law’s Italian beef were a big hit at our dinner table. While we don’t typically go out to eat regularly, we all agree that we will have to hit up Portillo’s at least once a month. What would we do without the heart-warming and delectable delights that a nearly 60 year old business continues to excel at?

The Davenport Portillo’s is located at 2741 East 53rd Street. Currently the hours are 10:30AM to 10:30PM, but the possibility of late night hours are under discussion, according to the WQAD feature published on June 13th.

So partake in the culinary bliss that is Portillo’s. What started as a dream for both Portillo in 1963 and Quad Citizans in the last couple years has become a sensational reality. For more information, visit the Portillo’s website or call 563-823-9500.

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About the author

Katy Williams Henderson A life-long Quad Cities resident, Katy is a Preschool through 4th Grade ESL Teacher at a local elementary school. She attended St. Ambrose University, graduating in May 2018 with a B.A. in Elementary Education with ESL and Reading concentrations and an English minor. She is working on a Master's in Early Childhood Education. She loves running, traveling, cooking, working with kids, spending time with her husband and her family and friends, education, and putting a pen to paper. Her writing credits include the Dispatch-Argus Newspaper, Radish Magazine, Midwest Writing Center and being a writing tutor at SAU and now for The Princeton Review's Tutor.com.

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