Portillo’s, the fast-casual restaurant chain known for serving Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs, is entering the Spicy Chicken Sandwich wars. And it’s bringing some Chicago zing. To set its offering apart, the chain developed a Hot Giardiniera Sauce – a creamy sauce infused with the pickled relish well-known to Chicagoans.
The Spicy Chicken Sandwich is served on a toasted brioche bun with tomato, lettuce and the new Hot Giardiniera Sauce. The sauce is also available on the side to bring the heat to more than just the sandwich – it can be used as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders, fries, onion rings and more.
“This is a delicious new addition to our menu,” says Maria Reichl, Portillo’s VP of Culinary Development and Field Operations. “Portillo’s has always prioritized quality, and this sandwich is no different. It’s spicy, crispy and brings our signature Chicago flair with the giardiniera-packed sauce.”
For a limited time, fans can get a bottle of the Hot Giardiniera Sauce to bring home. Starting today, May 18, guests can head to their local Portillo’s restaurant to purchase one of the limited-edition bottles for $5.99 each.
Giardiniera fans can also spice up their summertime activities by heading to portillos.com to order the chain’s giardiniera-themed merchandise, including swimsuits and pool floats, as well as pre-order a children’s book written by Portillo’s.
The launch campaign for the new sandwich and sauce focuses on the idea that most people – especially outside of Chicago – can't pronounce giardiniera (jar-din-air-ah). Tapping Cameo, the campaign features several celebrities such as Kenny G, Brian Baumgartner of The Office, Erin Andrews, Lance Bass, Cedric The Entertainer and a dozen others attempting to pronounce the word, often with hilarious results. “No matter how you say ‘giardiniera,'” the campaign concludes, “it’s good.” The initial video launched on Portillo’s social media pages; several more will be unveiled throughout the summer.