Portillo’s comes to the QC

Katherine Hogan

This summer, a Portillo’s restaurant will be opening in Davenport, Iowa. Portillo’s is known as a Chicago staple that sells Italian beef, burgers, salads, Chicago-style hot dogs and chocolate cake. The Davenport location will have some vegetarian options as well as some limited pasta options. Portillo’s food will also be able to be ordered online at their website or through the Door dash app.
At this point in the Davenport construction, there are some things to finish up on the inside of the building, though at a glance it looks fairly complete. They also still need to lay some concrete in part of the parking lot, do some landscaping, as well as exterior painting.

Mikaylo Kelly / Observer Staff
A construction worker makes progress on finishing the interior of Portillo’s on Tuesday, April 16.

Jeff Deppe, Director of New Restaurant Operations, commented on why Portillo’s chose to open a location in the Quad Cities.
“There has been a lot of hype around getting us out here and that is one of the main reasons why we look at places like this because that brand recognition is what we are looking for,” Deppe said.
Mikaylo Kelly / Observer Staff
Jeff Deppe, Director of New Restaurant Operations, listens to reporters at the media preview at Portillo’s hosted on Tuesday, April 16.

He adds that the Davenport Portillo’s has a large following on Facebook, which adds to the excitement of the near opening.
“We are probably hoping to get at least one more location out here,” Deppe said. “We really feel like a community like this, with this amount of people we have in the community, can support more than one restaurant. With all the build-up from this location alone, I feel that we will need a second one to handle the volume.”
Mikaylo Kelly / Observer Staff
Locals try Portillo’s classics at a media preview on Tuesday, April 16.

Deppe adds that they will open as many Portillo’s in the Quad Cities as the community and Portillo’s can handle. Portillo’s typically gets a lot of business from college students, who contribute to a lot of the fanfare and social media influence.
Portillo’s is also looking to employ quite a few students and are depending on local college and high school students to be a part of their employee base. Hiring has already started and Portillo’s Davenport location is looking to hire 200-250 employees. Deppe also comments that Portillo’s will partner will schools and businesses through fundraising and catering events to help support the community.
Eliot Kmiec, an Augustana senior, remembers going to Portillo’s when he was in high school.
“They’re famous for the Italian beef sandwiches among other things, and every location I’ve seen always has lines going around the corner at meal times,” Kmiec said. “I’m glad there will be one here [in the QC] personally since I didn’t get to go much when I was at Augie.”
Courtney Baker, a junior, is also happy that there will be a Portillo’s in the Quad Cities area next year, even though she had previously been unaware that one was in the process of being built.
“I love the food—I grew up in Chicago on Portillo’s,” Baker said.
The grand opening will take place in June 2019. This Davenport location will be the first Portillo’s location in Iowa and the 60th Portillo’s opening as a company.