Portillo’s to open in Champaign

April 8, 2017 by  

Champaign is all set to get a new Portillo’s.

The eatery is going in where the HomeTown Buffet formerly operated, on North Prospect Avenue. Keith Kinsey, Portillo’s CEO, said the company was already hiring crew members and managers, and urged interested candidates to apply.

Kinsey said that a new restaurant typically has 150 employees, about six of whom are managers, while the rest are crews and crew chiefs. He said the company found Champaign attractive for several reasons. First, there is a good customer mix, ranging from university students to residents and employees of other commercial ventures. Second, Kinsey was graduated from the University of Illinois, so thought it would be fun for him to come back to his old school. Finally, he noted that people have been asking for a Portillo’s in the area for years.

The restaurant’s most famous dish is its Italian beef sandwich, which it serves either on a croissant or on French bread. Portillo’s also serves a classic hot dog—an all-beef frankfurter topped with peppers, tomatoes, a kosher pickle, onions, celery salt, relish, and mustard, all on a poppy seed bun. A chopped salad is an alternative offering for people with a smaller appetite.

The target date for the opening is May 23. Restaurants often benefit by working with a flyer printing company on a handout for distribution around the time of the opening.