Just came back from Portillo's in Buena Park.
Being a former resident of the Chicago 'burbs, this Portillo's is pretty much the same as the Chicago ones. The only thing missing is the Connie's pizza at the front entrance and Barney's ribs.
Each Portillo's restaurant has it's own theme. The Buena Park location has but what else ? A 1930's Prohibition Chicago Theme. Steel "El" train girders decorate the structure along with a train car dinner for the drive through window. If you sit outside, it does give the feel like you're sitting underneath the train tracks.
Upon entering the restaurant it was confusing to find where to order. To the immediate left of the entrance is the catering counter. There are no signs pointed to the ordering counter which is situated in the back corner of the restaurant. What makes it even more frustrating is that the menu is behind the counter so if you're waiting in line you can't see it until you get closer up.
As far as the food goes, don't get me wrong because I've spent many a lunch time afternoons at the Naperville,IL and Batavia, IL locations; Portillo's isn't really the epitome of Chicago food. BUT, it's good none-the-less and it sure is a welcome sight in Southern Calif.
I ordered the 'Big Beef' Italian Beef sandwich with hot peppers and a small order of fries this time around. The bread was fresh and toasted. The beef was very good, it wasn't the greatest Italian Beef Sandwich I've ever had (that I leave to Chicago's Buona's Beef) But still the texture of the gravy sopped bread was exact and the giardiniera (hot peppers) was good. The beef needed a little more flavor but overall it definitely passable. The fries were nice and hot which is a absolute must with Italian Beef sandwiches.
My overall tab with a small diet coke was $8.73. Not bad. On my next visit I plan to try the Chili dog and the other veritable Mid-west standard fare, Cheese fries.