Restaurant and food review of Portillo’s of Madison, Wisconsin

Portillo’s provides Chicago-style decorum at their food chain specializing in ’50s-era regalia.

Portillo’s of Madison, Wis., a cleverly hidden gem, is located by JC Penny at the East Towne Mall. Those who are visiting from out of town will surely miss out by not stopping here.

Customers and founders all love the menu items at Portillo’s, but the Styrofoam cups are a setback from an era that America drifted away from due to environmental toxicity. The food is great, but the Styrofoam coffee cups must go.

The Portillo’s Aroma, the Atmosphere and the Best Place to Get a Coffee.

The first item that caught the eye was the “#1 Italian Beef—Extra Gravy, Peppers and Onions.” The second item of interest was the mention of coffee as an option, which are the items for review. The minute the customer steps through the revolving door, the smell of coffee and slow cooked peppers meet them like a stewed chili and coffee sensation often experienced in grandma’s kitchen. Portillo’s has a ’50s era décor.

Menus are available at the front entrance for future visits. Portillo’s prides itself on Italian Beef, but offers hotdogs, burgers and more…

The staff was friendly and lines were short, but the wait was met with lots of confusion. Customers were angry orders were unorganized.

For a holiday rush, Portillo’s counter and staff were reasonably consistent with wait time. The ordering wait time was approximately ten minutes, but worth the wait.

Order #127 was a #1 Italian Beef with extra gravy, hot peppers, small fry and a coffee. Total price: $11.06. Prices are on the steep side and menu was hard to read.

Customers have a hard time knowing where to stand. The wait is unpredictable and the staff had several patrons upset.

The Wait:

For customers who may have disabilities, Portillo’s ranked at the bottom for waiting accommodations.

  • Wait time was over fifteen minutes and luckily found a place to sit.
  • Be prepared for a longer-than-average wait time and aggressive customers who experience staff confusion with orders.
  • Patrons exchanged hostile rhetoric while they waited.
  • Be prepared for a possible hostile experience with both staff and guests.

The Review:

The moment finally arrived when number 127 was called and the anticipation was over. Portillo’s overall handled order in a timely manner due to the amount of holiday rush. As a veteran with a disability, my opinion of the ordering process is my main concern. Veterans who visit the Portillo’s in Madison, WI, should make note before stopping to find their table before ordering to avoid lack of accommodations. The food is divine, the coffee will knock you off your feet, but the manner from which the customer is met to recall the days of yesteryear with hand-to-hand combat tactics learned in the military, I suggest you try using the drive-thru instead.

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