Portillo’s reputation definitely preceded its arrival. Months before the grand opening in Fishers, Indiana (right off Exit #205, next door to IKEA), I heard stories of the legendary chocolate cake, the crave-worthy shakes, and the very long, but worthwhile wait times. For the uninitiated, Portillo’s is a Chicago chain featuring hotdogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and salads. Oh, and chocolate cake. Several other states have the Portillo’s experience, but their newest location is Indiana’s one and only (but not for long as a second location is already planned).
I stayed away for the first couple weeks because I heard stories of the hour-long wait just to order in the drive-through. Portillo’s offers a variety of ways to access their food, including order ahead via an app AND delivery! I took advantage of none of these convenient options and trekked out in the snow to visit during my Christmas break. I didn’t think many other people would be at the restaurant while the outside temperature was in the negative degrees, but I was wrong! The restaurant was packed and Husband and I waited a good 30 minutes to order and another 30 minutes until our food was ready.
I ordered a char-broiled cheeseburger ($5.29) with onion rings ($2.39) and a chocolate cake shake ($3.55). Husband ordered an Italian beef sandwich ($5.75) with cheese fries ($2.45) and a strawberry shake ($3.79). I know, I know, this is NOT healthy food, but we were on vacation, so I didn’t care AND we had a gift card. 😉
So, let’s start with the good parts. Hmmm…were there any? The restaurant was clean, I guess. It’s a very casual atmosphere with open seating and no table service. And we got food and ate it. That’s about all the good because I thought our visit was pretty rough. I expected the wait, but that wasn’t the bad part.
Here are the bad parts: The food wasn’t very good. We picked it up the moment our number was called and it was already lukewarm. I expected very hot food with such a large amount of orders being placed. Our containers of onion rings and fries were only 1/2 full. My shake cup was covered in spilled ice-cream and I had to wrap it with paper towels to avoid getting covered in a sticky mess. Also, they were out of napkins at all stations, so paper towels all the way! But basically, the food wasn’t very good. I know it’s not fine dining, but I’d take burgers and fries at Steak ‘n Shake or Five Guys over this any day!
Maybe you need to be from Chicago to like it? Or maybe you need to just not be Lindsay? Because EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO LIKE IT!
So, I guess you do you, Portillo’s, because it’s apparently working. You’ll just be doing it without me.
Overall Rating: 2/5
9201 E 116th St, Fishers, IN 46037
Open Daily: 10:30AM-10:30PM