Fans of Chicago chain Portillo's, known for its Italian-style, gravy-dipped beef sandwiches and all-beef hot dogs, were pretty pleased when rumors started circulating that the restaurant chain would open here in Minnesota. The first local restaurant is scheduled to open in Woodbury this July.
But Maple Grove, the suburb where Portillo's had its sights set next, said no to drippy beef. Officials cited traffic and parking concerns near the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, a shopping complex that currently houses a P.F. Chang's and a Punch Pizza in addition to a number of retail outlets.
The Maple Grove City Council may have underestimated the fervor of Portillo's fans.
One Adam Wells has started a petition on Change.org entitled "Let Portillo's Bring Us the Hot Dogs We Deserve."
So far, momentum is moderate, with 29 signatures. One supporter, presumably a friend of Wells, wrote, "I feel if I do not sign this, I will not hear the end of it. Plus I like food, so that's nice."
But Wells has fire enough to make up for this tepid endorsement.
"Portillo's is a great restaurant serving great tasting quality food. I myself always make it a priority to visit whenever I am traveling to an area with a Portillo's location nearby. I believe people will come to Portillo's and stay for the shopping nearby, especially in the nicer weather months of summer and early fall."
Fair points, but Council member Karen Jaeger isn't seeing it. She says the restaurant was planned too far away from the center's retail to be a destination for the mall.
"I don’t know if it’s a destination, [maybe] If it was further up into the shopping area," she says. "I don’t think it fits putting it into a parking lot."
Petition signer Andrew Taylor claps back with his succinct take on the matter: "We deserve this."
The Maple Grove City Council is meeting again on April 17 to make the decision against Portillo's final.