Editorial: Bring Portillo’s to Champaign

The front of Portillo's Hotdogs in Vernon Hills, Illinois on Sunday, May 1st, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Jerry Zhang
The front of Portillo’s Hotdogs in Vernon Hills, Illinois on Sunday, May 1st, 2016.


Dear Mr. Keith Kinsey, CEO of Portillo’s,

We recently learned that your company is certainly opening a restaurant in Normal, and merely considering a Champaign location.


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You’re an Illini. You certainly know that Illinois State University can’t have something we don’t.

Sure, we’ll still have every possible advantage otherwise, but what’s a better degree and a cooler student body compared to a Portillo’s on campus? Nothing, Keith. Nothing.

Ninety-nine percent of our student body seemingly grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and nothing makes kids feel at home like fries from their favorite local fast food joint. Don’t believe us? A Facebook event titled “Rally for Portillo’s” has swept across campus this week, with over 250 students either expressing interest in or planning to attend a pro-Portillo’s demonstration Thursday on the Main Quad.

Capitalizing on that passion by opening a Portillo’s in Champaign should be a top priority for your thriving business.

We hope you’ll consider this the Editorial Board’s official endorsement of that noble cause.

With that, we’d like to offer you a few pointers. As an alumnus, you’re obviously familiar with the beautiful, sprawling campus and the spectacular student body, but we’ve got to admit, things have changed a bit since you graduated in the `70s.

As any good business owner, CEO or regretful student living across the street from Red Lion knows — location is everything.

And after hours of deliberation, we’ve chosen our favorite spot: 512 E. Green St.

This is an address near and dear to our hearts — it’s our office building. A little selfish? Maybe. But there are few people, or restaurants, we’d share our home with, and you’re one of them. Located right in the middle of Green Street’s abundance of restaurants, business would be booming. And we can almost guarantee a good percentage of that business will come from hungry Daily Illini staffers. (We’d love to talk to you about loyalty cards sometime.)

But our plan for a Portillo’s to rule Champaign wouldn’t solely be one of selfish desires. We also think we could help you customize your menu to best fit our Illini-crazed populace. Students and alumni would definitely love to order the Dick Butkus Polish Sausage, the Lovie Chicken Club, the Red Grange Chocolate Cake or even the Steven Salaita Garbage Salad.

And if you can’t make it work 20 feet underneath our beloved newsroom, we do have one last idea for a Portillo’s location — somewhere near Memorial Stadium. As you may have heard, another big Chicago name is one step ahead of you and has already made the move to Champaign.

With Lovie leading the Illini, we’re thinking students might actually go to football games this year. And what better way to get over a loss, or celebrate a win, than with a beef sandwich and a cake shake?