All Aboard the Beef Bus, the Truck Bringing Chicago Staple Portillo's to You

The beloved Midwestern chain will bring classics like Italian beef and Chicago-style hot dogs to cities nationwide.
Chicago, US
portillo's chicago beef bus
Image via Portillo's 

Like Bears football, brutally frigid winters, and shooting back Jeppson's Malört at a neighborhood bar, beef is especially central to being a Chicagoan. Two of the city's most iconic dishes, the Chicago-style hot dog and the Italian beef sandwich (order it hot and dipped), are both meaty culinary miracles that you can order at Portillo's. Think In-N-Out for people who can recite "The Super Bowl Shuffle" and have strong feelings about Rahm Emanuel. The Midwest fast casual chain also has locations in Arizona, Florida, and California now has a new food truck, affectionately called "the Beef Bus."


According to the Chicago Tribune, "the restaurant chain began promoting the truck this week—along with a campaign where people can ask the Beef Bus to bring Chicago’s favorite fast foods to their town next." So far, over 63,000 votes have been cast for St. Louis, Missouri while more than 80,000 people are clamoring for the Beef Bus to stop in for Louisville, Kentucky. Per the Tribune, the truck will feature "a limited menu of Portillo’s favorites: Italian beef ($7), with sweet peppers, hot peppers or mozzarella cheese ($1 each); hot dogs ($4); crinkle-cut fries ($3) or cheese fries." While any city will have some Chicago-centric restaurant selling what's billed as "Chicago-style hot dogs" that are usually lacking or worse, come with ketchup on them, Portillo's is the genuine article and it's great that people who don't live near the city can try these meaty masterpieces for themselves.

Chicagoans are very sturdy people who are typically filled with some awe-inspiring combination of meat, cheese, and hot peppers to keep warm during the winter months and the other months that have Cubs and Sox Baseball. "The Beef Bus" has a modest mission of bringing the beef to the rest of the country, a noble endeavor that should be applauded in the same way as when Bulls won six NBA championships in the '90s. While Chicago's political machine has historically lacked transparency, voting for where "the Beef Bus" goes next seems relatively straightforward. Just go to Portillo's website and cast a ballot for where you'd like the roving meat vehicle to drive to next. The Wienermobile must be shook.