portillo's hot dogs.

i started this blog to show the world (yes, the world!) that you can be vegan and still eat great food at restaurants. it's not all cooked kale and sauteed tofu. although, i personally wouldn't mind that.

as we've seen over the past eight months, i've eaten at tons of amazing chicago (& elsewhere) restaurants. and i'm just now getting to one chicago staple : portillo's hot dogs. portillo's has several locations all over the chicagoland area. my office loves to order lunch from their downtown shop. i think it's the beefy fries that get everyone at work so excited.

anyway ... portillo's is (probably) my least favorite of our lunch places, simply because they just do not have a lot of vegan stuff. here's what a portillo's rep said when i emailed about their menu : "the only item available that would be strictly vegan would be our garden salad ordered with no cheese and the house dressing. our other salads can also be made without dairy or meat as well as our grilled vegetable sandwich without cheese. however, i would ask a manager to take your order to insure no meat or dairy products were included." ok, at least they're honest.

so that's what i get every time we order portillo's. here it is ...

gourmet garden salad :
crispy chilled romaine & iceberg with a wide array of garden fresh vegetables (no cheddar cheese).
 so sad.

here is my list of complaints :
- crispy chilled romaine & iceberg lettuce = meh lettuce, obviously from a bag. [note : i am well aware that plenty of restaurants (read : most) use lettuce from a bag. but this is just so obviously from a bag ... that i find it unappealing.]
- it costs $6.75. i can barely bring myself to order this at that ridiculous price.
      - the portillo's rep noted that other salads can be prepared without the meat or dairy ... again, then you're paying $10 for bowl of meh veggies. and i don't think i'd trust a grilled vegetable sandwich, that is probably cooked on the same griddle as other, non-veg items. no, thank you.
- their house salad dressing is vegan. but it's not good. the third ingredient is sugar. blech.
- their menu really doesn't have that much vegetarian stuff either. what gives?

basically, portillo's needs to get on board with the rest of the world (yes, the world!) and offer some more vegan items ... yes, you can get away with a quick meal here ... but come on, portillo's. give the (vegan) people what they want. expand a bit. then, we'll (i'll) be back.


  1. haha I hate when my office orders from Portillo's! It's always a struggle as to what to order. So glad I stumbled across your blog - it's wonderful!

    1. so glad you enjoy reading!!

      i know ... portillo's is the worst for vegans. would it be really that hard to add one thing??

      oh well. maybe someday !

      thanks for stopping by. ;)

  2. I have a theory that there are hundreds of vegans who have found this blog post to be very helpful, but haven't left a comment. Anyway, I'm vegan and I find this post to be helpful. And yeah, Portillo's needs to get with the program, how hard would it be to just add a couple of options that vegans (or even vegetarians) could choose? Portillo's: It's your loss!

    1. stu, i've got to agree with you ... this post has had almost 6,000 views ... so i think it's safe to say, plenty of vegans have avoided portillo's because of it! ha!!

      thanks for stopping by. ;)

  3. Thank you so much! I'm trying to figure out where to eat with my family and this made our decision much easier


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