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Portillo’s Beef Bus whets appetites ahead of Texas opening

First Lone Star State restaurant, scheduled for Q4, will cover 7,900 square feet and feature two patios


Portillo’s Inc. will be entering the Texas market in the fourth quarter, but as it breaks ground on its first unit in the state it is building brand awareness and whetting the appetites of future customers with its Beef Bus.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based Portillo’s, which has 71 units and went public last year, uses the Beef Bus, which has its own @BeefBusOfficial Twitter and Instagram handles, introduce the Chicago-based menu to locals.

Derrick Pratt, Portillo’s chief operating officer, said, “We've learned that overtime the best way to introduce Portillo's to fans again — and to people who will soon be fans — is to get our food in their mouths.

The Beef Bus, which was introduced in the Chicago area in 2019, made it to New York for sampling when the company made its initial public offering and has been to the Florida and Arizona markets.

“This week we're heading all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex,” Pratt said, with various stops scheduled June 11 through June 23.

The Beef Bus offers a limited selection from Portillo’s menu, including the Chicago-style hot dog, the Italian Beef Sandwich and Polish sausages.

He noted that Texas is the largest market for shipping Portillo’s products from its website. “Texans love Portillo's,” he added.

The Beef Bus’ debut in the market Monday was in the Grandscape development in The Colony, Texas, about 15 miles north of downtown Dallas, where it plans to open its first store in the state. Portillo’s is under construction about a half block from the Beef Bus site.

The new restaurant will incorporate elements of the surrounding community as part of its décor, including a vintage Toyota vehicle a nod to the nearby North American headquarters of automaker Toyota.

The 7,900-square-foot restaurant will seat more than 180 indoors and provide exterior seating for more than 80 additional guests on two air-conditioned patios.

Portillo’s has restaurants in nine states.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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