Yes, Virginia, Portillo’s is coming to Rockford

Online Staff Report

In the spirit of the holidays, the City of Rockford is celebrating the gift of its first Portillo’s Restaurant, set to open in June 2015 at 6090 Mulford Village Drive.

Portillo’s had a limited opportunity to start construction in 2014, and the city’s development team responded quickly to make it happen,” said Rockford Ald. Joseph Chiarelli (R-14), as he thanked the staff for their seamless handling of the development opportunity.

The city worked closely with Portillo’s and First Midwest Group to advance the project by concurrently completing the zoning, subdivision and construction/building permit processes.

The building permit was issued for Portillo’s Restaurant Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, 45 days after Portillo’s filed its zoning petition for a special-use permit on Oct. 16, 2014. This placed Portillo’s on the November Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting, which led to the Nov. 24 approval of the project by Rockford City Council. As a result, Portillo’s is under construction and scheduled to open June 2015.

Todd Cagnoni, director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Rockford, said: “The efforts of our staff reflect the goals of our city to create economic wealth and opportunity within the community and are a result of the Process Improvement Activities the development team completed. The city recognizes that one way to assist in investment is a streamlined development process.”

The city revamped its development process in recent years by utilizing Value Stream Mapping (VSM) as a tool in their administrative offices in the same way that companies have successfully used it in their production facilities. The exercise allowed the city’s development team to visualize the processes, point to problems, and focus direction for transformation. The team then developed a plan for implementing continuous improvement and benchmarking the development process for accountability.

Rich Pozzi, property and project manager for Portillo’s, said: “The city has been great to work with and we are extremely pleased on how the process progressed. It is hard to believe we were able to get the project advanced so quickly, it is a real win-win situation.”

Portillo’s is a chain of restaurants specializing in Chicago-style food, such as Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches. The chain is located primarily throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, and also has two locations in southern California and two in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The chain, founded in 1963 in Villa Park, Illinois, has its headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. Visit for more details.

Posted Dec. 23, 2014

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