Stop a local in the Chicago area, inquire about the closest Portillo’s restaurant, and you’re almost certain to get directions to the Chicago-based chain’s nearest location (alongside some ordering suggestions). With its signature Vienna beef hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, Portillo’s is a Windy City icon, a beloved local favorite that many current and ex-Chicagoans speak about with reverence for its quality food, efficient service, and lively atmosphere.
Lent is a boon for business at seafood restaurants as Catholic customers look for nonmeat options for Friday dining. But for quick-service restaurants with core menu items that are primarily red meats, Lent can be a challenge.
Some quick serves, however, are starting to see the season—between February 22 and April 5 this year—as an opportunity to innovate their menus.