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.