UPDATE: Construction Begins at Portillo's Site

By: WIFR Newsroom
By: WIFR Newsroom
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UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Construction has begun on a restaurant many of us have been waiting years to open in the Stateline.

Machines started moving the dirt around the new Portillo’s site near the corner of East State and Mulford.

The 8700 square foot restaurant will have a double drive through and about 100 parking spots.

It could be open by June.


UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The construction of Rockford’s first Portillo’s is unanimously approved by Rockford City Council.

Builders say they would like to get their permits as early as Tuesday for the project. The 8,500 square foot restaurant will sit at Mulford Rd. and East State next to the Mulford Village Mall. Developers say they'll spend around four million dollars to build the restaurant. It will have two drive thrus with 120 workers. Work could start December first. The grand opening should be next June.


UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- While some are excited about the menu,others are looking forward to how many jobs a new Portillo's will bring to the table..

In a story you'll see only on 23 News,...we have a first look at what the restaurant is expected to look like once it opens near the corner of Mulford and State Streets.

These are some of the renderings the Portillo's teams showed the city's zoning board Tuesday night. The 8,700 square foot restaurant will have a double drive through and around 100 parking spots.

The plan passed but the zoning board had some tough questions for the developer making sure the site has enough green space, spots for bikes, and access for walkers.

Sherri Abruscato, Chief Operating Officer of The Portillo Restaurant Group, Inc., says she would like to start work December 1st.
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"We build a beautiful building to last and what we are going to bring to the community is a win-win for everybody. Were going to invest about $4.2 million and were going to hire anywhere from 120 employees so were very excited to be here," Abruscato said.

A city council committee will vote on Monday. The grand opening should be in June.

Aldermen say the company tried moving here about five years ago but the plan didn't work out. Developers are confident it will this time, they say they've even ordered the steel already for the building.


UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – We now know where Portillo’s is planning on opening in Rockford. City leaders tell us the popular Chicago hot-dog spot wants to break ground near the former K’s Merchandise on North Mulford Road.

“There will be a lot of cars and activity and foot traffic," says Frank Gallagher, owner of Legacy Designs and one of the tenants at the Mulford Village Mall.

The bulldozers next to Frank Gallagher’s business will soon make way for Rockford’s first Portillo’s.

“Activity is always great, puts energy into the system,” says Gallagher.

Energy will definitely be high once Portillo’s opens at the Mulford Village Mall next to the old K’s Merchandise at Mulford and State.

Owner Mokhtar Mohamed says the mall is less than half full. He hopes Portillo’s can help fill more of these empty stores.

“I have potential to grow, to improve the mall. I believe Rockford will come back, this intersection will come back,” says Mulford Village Mall owner Mokhtar Mohamed.

With the addition of Portillo’s a new call center in the Former K’s and other development, city leaders have high hopes for this corridor.

“That corner struggled for a bit, we certainly need development in all sectors of our city,” says 1st Ward Aldermen Tim Durkee.

The drive-thru restaurant still needs to be approved by the Rockford Zoning Board and City Council.

In the meantime, Gallagher and plenty of others are dreaming of their first order.

“The chocolate cake is to die for, it’ll be fun," says Gallagher.

“Like everybody else, Italian beef," says Mohamed.

“A real live Chicago hot dog and Italian beef, there will be no ketchup on the hot dogs, that’s in the ordinance," says Durkee.

The grand opening for Portillo’s is supposed to be in June 2015. The closest one to us at the moment, is in Sycamore. The Rockford zoning board will review the application for the drive-thru restaurant on November 18.

Portillo’s originally opened back in 1963. It has about 38 restaurants nationwide, with 10 more opening soon. Portillo’s serves Chicago-style food, including hot dogs and Italian beef.


UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) – After waiting for years, we’re learning more tonight about the future of Portillo’s in Rockford.

Patty Sullivan of the Portillo Restaurant Group says the company is actively working on a location right now in Rockford are looking forward to signing the agreement soon.

We’ll keep you posted on where and when the restaurant will open.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Chicago-style restaurant chain Portillo’s could soon be opening a restaurant in the Stateline.

A representative with the Portillo’s Restaurant Group has confirmed it is looking at locations in Rockford.

Currently, the closest Portillo’s to the Stateline is in Sycamore.


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