Portillo’s Restaurant and Fall Milkshake Review – It’s Not All About Pumpkin Spice

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Portillo’s Restaurant, the popular American fast casual restaurant chain based in the Chicago area, introduces some new, seasonal fall menu items! Portillo’s is best known for its Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, char- grilled burgers, chopped salad, cheese fries, homemade chocolate cake (made in-house daily) and chocolate cake shake.

The new salted caramel milkshake (Photo: portillos.com)

The restaurant itself boasts quite the history. In 1963, founder, Dick Portillo, invested $1,100 into a small trailer to open the first Portillo’s hot dog stand in Villa Park, Ill., which he called “The Dog House.” Fast forward and Portillo’s has grown to include 67 restaurants across 9 states. Portillo’s also has a large catering business, Portillo’s Home Kitchen, including a food shipping service to all 50 states via the website.

It is Portillio’s unrivaled Chicago-style street food that makes their fans obsess. All of their menu staples are all made from high-quality ingredients with care and attention. The food is all made to order, which sends it out hot, fast and fresh.  

Order up at the counter

The Skokie, IL location of Portillo’s is one of my favorite places to dine, located right by the Old Orchard Westfield Shopping Center. The senior manager for off-premise dining, Dino Northway, welcomed my guest and me with a smile, while giving us a history of Portillo’s and its latest menu offerings. 

Portillo’s serves seasonal milkshakes throughout the year. To celebrate the beginning of fall, we got to sample the new salted caramel shake, which was creamy, sweet and savory. It’s not all about pumpkin spice! We also tried their famous chocolate cake shake, which has wonderful chunks of cocoa and cakey goodness in the bottom of the cup (why not have dessert as an appetizer?).

Delicious new fall shake (salted caramel) and the famous chocolate cake shake

According to Portillo’s, the salted caramel milkshake is made with the restaurant’s classic vanilla ice-cream and swirled together with gooey salted caramel. Consider it the perfect way to kiss swimsuit season goodbye and say hello to sweater weather! The new limited-time only shake flavor will be available beginning September 7th, exclusively at any Portillo’s restaurant location and via the Portillo’s Delivery App.  

After the marvelous introductions to the milkshakes, my guest and I ordered dinner. Having a meal at Portillo’s is an enjoyable time when you want a quick, satisfying meal with high quality and fresh fast food Chicago style food options. There is plenty of seating with both booths and tables available. The Skokie location is a nice open, roomy space with quite the sensory adventure for your eyes. The walls and ceiling are decorated with old black and white photographs and movie posters, classic black and white checkered tablecloths, antique toys and wood furniture, signs, license plates, half a chunk of an old train locomotive hanging from the ceiling, and the American Flag.

Dining interior of Portillo’s
Dining interior of Portillo’s

The menu has a wide range of food, drink, side, and condiment choices, which are also reasonable in size and price. The food is delicious and the drinks are very refreshing. For dinner, my guest ordered the char-broiled chicken sandwich, seasoned with a blend of secret spices, and served tender and juicy. It was topped with mayo, lettuce, and tomato on a fluffy brioche bun. The sandwich came with the perfect side of fries. Being a vegetarian, I appreciate that Portillo’s offers food options for myself, such as various sandwiches, pastas and salads. I had the grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich, which was very tasty and satisfying, complete with grilled, marinated Portobello mushroom caps, red onion, tomato, and mozzarella cheese, served with basil pesto sauce on toasted tomato Focaccia. There was also a side chopped salad which had fresh vegetables and a variety of salad dressings.

The char-broiled chicken sandwich with a side of fries
The grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich

Portillo’s Skokie location is my favorite place to take family, friends. This is the place to go for a fun, delicious dining experience if you’re in the mood for yummy Chicago-style food. Gear up for fall and don’t forget the new salted caramel milkshake for dessert when you order (or does the dessert come first?)…

Photos: Jennifer Lunz unless otherwise noted

For more information on Portillo’s, locations and the menu, please visit their website. You can also order from the Portillo’s Delivery App

Portillo’s Skokie Location

9400 Skokie Blvd.

Skokie IL 60077

847-933-0700