Excitement has been building since the announcement was made that a little piece of Chicago was going to be transplanted to the heart of Westfield’s fastest-growing sector. Citizens could already smell the slow-roasted beef, hear the sizzle from the grill and feel the chill from the milkshakes.
Portillo’s opened its second central Indiana location at the corner of State Road 32 and Wheeler Road, inserting itself in an area that is quickly growing with restaurants to take advantage of the large crowds that meet at Grand Park throughout the year.
“We really liked how the community is growing,” says Marc Mathias, market manager for Portillo’s. “We see a great future with this community. We’ve seen the growth as a destination for families and we wanted to become a part of that growth.”
The restaurant’s neighbor to the east is the Monon Trail, and Mathias appreciates that proximity to allow active families to enjoy a spot to rest and nosh on the selection of food at Portillo’s.
“We want to be a part of the experience of the families coming together for the sports at Grand Park, the action of the Monon Trail – all of it,” he says.
Portillo’s is known for Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, cheese fries, chocolate cake and – let’s not forget – the chocolate cake milkshake. Mathias echoes the company website when he suggests that new customers should go for the full Chicago experience.
“Order an Italian beef, dipped, with either our sweet or hot peppers, and add mozzarella,” he says. “Our Italian beef sandwich is just the best.”
Other delicacies include the new spicy chicken sandwich with Portillo’s sauce, and crinkle-cut cheese fries.
The official opening date for the Westfield Portillo’s was November 9, but a stretch of soft openings allowed for the new Portillo’s team to work out any kinks while introducing residents to the fast-paced, fun atmosphere of the restaurant.
“We’re seeing a lot of smiles on faces,” Mathias says.
During the soft opening, the restaurant team worked with two local nonprofit groups as a means of fundraising. Open Doors of Washington Township was the first community partner. The nonprofit collected approximately $8,600 in donations, plus an additional match of $5,000 from Portillo’s.
Night two of the sneak peek was dedicated to assisting the Westfield Education Foundation, and donations totaling approximately $10,145 were added to Portillo’s match of $5,000.
“We always do a couple of practices for our openings, so we invited people from the community to come sample our food, meet our team and give the volunteers of two deserving groups the opportunity to collect donations,” Mathias says. “We match whatever the community donated, up to $5,000. We want to make sure we’re doing our part for the community.”
Mathis explains that the two organizations were considered the best fit as a reflection of what the Westfield Portillo’s staff seeks to accomplish through the years.
Even before the doors opened, the Portillo’s team reached out to the community to show that they wanted to be a part of Westfield. The restaurant team spent weeks making the rounds throughout the school system and community, drumming up interest for employees and enticing new customers.
“We want folks in the area to know that we’re here to give the kids and adults in this area opportunities to grow within the community and with us,” Mathias says.
Jessica Roberts is the general manager for the Westfield location, and she mirrors Mathias’s words.
“At Portillo’s we don’t just talk about our values, we live our values,” she says. “Our family is growing here in Westfield, and we’re so excited to be a part of this amazing community. We believe in bringing the energy, reaching for greatness, and always having fun each and every day.”
Portillo’s is now open at 870 East State Road 32 in Westfield, featuring both a drive-through and dine-in seating. Local catering will be available during the holidays. You can find a menu and learn more at portillos.com.