Although the hospitality industry continues to struggle, Portillo's, a Chicago-area restaurant chain unveiled plans for a Springfield location, its fourth in central Illinois.
The restaurant, known for their Chicago-Style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, announced plans to open in Springfield in late 2021 at the site of a closed pharmacy at Veteran’s Parkway and Lindbergh Boulevard, on the southwest side of town.
Ward 10 Ald. Ralph Hanauer, who represents the area, said he has no concern about the restaurant opening up, even during the pandemic.
“I’m excited about them announcing that they’re still interested in Springfield in the midst of this pandemic,” Hanauer said. “I’m a big believer that we have to start opening things up.”
With a lot of traffic coming from Veteran’s Parkway, and the long line Portillo’s would bring, Hanauer said if there’s a problem with the traffic flow, it would be left up to the state transportation department and the traffic engineer in Springfield to control the lights.
The Springfield location joins the brand’s other central Illinois restaurants in Peoria, Champaign, and Normal. Sara Wirth, a spokesperson for the company, said it has received many requests from Springfield residents about the restaurant setting up shop in the capital city. Wirth said the restaurant will be prepared to open in late 2021, even if the coronavirus pandemic continues.
“We are still doing well as a restaurant brand, and in states where it’s been allowed, we’ve opened our dining room with limited capacity,” Wirth said. “And what I’m excited about is that we’re actually starting to hire people.”
The restaurant will feature seating for nearly 200 guests, a seasonal outdoor patio with space for about 50, and double drive-thru lanes.
The interior will pay homage to historic Route 66 - a unique feature for the Springfield location.
Construction is set to begin in spring of next year.