I've lived in Kalamazoo for more than three decades, but for anyone like me, you can't take the Chicago out of me. Many Chicago food places here have come and gone in those 35 years, but this news is big. Chicago "food" restaurant chain, Portillo's is going public, and the plan is to eventually expand to 600 locations.

Two thoughts come to my mind first. The first: there are two places in town with legit Chicago dogs, Lake Burger on West Main, and Ray-Ray's on Miller Road has a complete line-up, with not only Chicago hot dogs, but they also do a great Italian Beef, and sausage and meatball sandwiches, too. My other thought is, I hope Portillo's plan on going public and national doesn't do to them what Krispy Kreme's expansion did to that company (case in point, you see the former Westnedge Avenue location is now a Panera Bread.).

But for everyone with Chicago roots, or with a jones for Chicago food, having a Portillo's nearby would be nice. The hot dogs are good, the Italian Beef is decent, and if you're not in Chicago, it will take care of your need for a fix.

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Some background if you're from out of town: Most Chicago hot dog places in Chicago are small mom-and-pop joints. Portillo's started out that way, but grew, and eventually was sold to investors and are now in something like nine states, including Florida. Those investors are taking the company public, and this story says, at least locally, Portillo's does better business than current rock star, Chick-Fil-A.  That remains to be seen, on a national basis.

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