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Chicago Restauranteur Dick Portillo

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Chicago native, Dick Portillo talks about how he turned a small hot dog stand into a Midwest empire, why he's still so hands on nearly 50 years later and what his advice is for budding entrepreneurs.

The first Portillo's hot dog stand known as "The Dog House" opened in 1963 on North Avenue in Villa Park. Owner and founder Dick Portillo invested $1,100 into a 6' x 12' trailer without a bathroom or running water. To get the water he needed, he ran 250 feet of garden hose from a nearby building into the trailer.

By 1967, "The Dog House" was a success and was ready for a new look. After it was remodeled, it was renamed "Portillo's" and over the years has grown into a successful multi-state operation with 47 restaurants, 34 of which are Portillo's.

The Portillo Restaurant Group is the largest privately-owned restaurant company in the Midwest. Combined, the concepts have nearly 4000 employees and a total of 47 restaurants, plus a catering and shipping division and shopping center. This was all accomplished without franchising or investors.

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