Monday, March 5, 2012

Portillo's - Vernon Hills, IL

Bacon Burger

When I headed to Chicago I wasn't really sure where to go. Luckily my Facebook and Twitter followers are always there for me when I need them. Such is the case with @NSFeedMe from Twitter who recommended for me to try a long standing Chicago favorite called Portillo's. I dont really want to give a history lesson on this place, but it was opened in 1967 by Dick Portillo and was originally called The Dog House. Now skip forward some decades and they have now expanded locations out to California and Indiana.

When I entered Portillo's I noticed many things. First there was the Italian influence and the 1920's bootlegger/gangster decor. The second thing was that there were two lines: one for the grill, where you can get your hamburgers, hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches amongst other Chicago favorites and the second, a separate line for the Barnelli's Pasta Bowl which serves pastas with homemade sauces, salads, and pizza. Of course I went to the grill side to get a burger. You order and pay in one place, then take your receipt down to the other end to grab a tray and wait for your food to be ready. It turns out it doesn't matter whether you have a tray or not, because no matter what you get your food in a to-go bag. While waiting for my number to be called I checked out all the celebrity memorabilia covering the walls.

Burger - Bacon Burger (Added cheese) $4.63 - 1/3 lb of Char-Broiled Juicy Beef with mayo, bacon, American cheese, lettuce and tomato

The burger was tasty. It was cooked to medium with a nice crusty exterior. It may have been a little light on the juiciness factor, but the tomato and mayo helped in that matter anyway. The vegetables tasted fresh, the bacon was crispy, and the cheese was melted nicely. What really stood out for me was the bun. It was soft, white, and chewy. There is just something about the burger that screamed old school, but in a good way. Most likely it was because they have been making this same burger for over 40 years now with no real change. It was just a well crafted burger, kept simple.

Side - Cheese Fries (small) $2.19

The fries were crinkle cut, well salted, and served with the cheese sauce on the side. The cheese sauce itself was a little loose and not as thick and creamy as I would have expected. However the fries were piping hot, crispy, and delicious.

Drink - Chocolate Milkshake $2.99

You can't go wrong with ordering a milkshake from this place either. It tasted of real ice cream; standing tall, thick, and extra chocolaty.

Conclusion: Portillo's offers a wide array of menu options. I hear the dogs and Italian beef sandwiches are killer. The burger is not too shabby itself. The whole meal was quite satisfying and not too bad on the wallet. Definitely worth the stop!

Portillo's (Vernon Hills) on Urbanspoon

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