Food News

Portillo's Beef Bus Redux

Success, finally: A hot dog, Italian beef and French fries from Portillo's Beef Bus in The Colony.
Success, finally: A hot dog, Italian beef and French fries from Portillo's Beef Bus in The Colony. Hank Vaughn
As everyone and their brother knows by now, especially if your brother is from Chicagoland, Portillo’s is finally opening up shop in North Texas at the end of the year in The Colony. In order to drum up interest, hype and hunger, Portillo’s has sent its Beef Bus to various spots around town for the last few months, serving up a limited menu of mini Italian beef sandwiches and, of course, Chicago-style hot dogs.
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The future Portillo's under construction at the Grandscape in The Colony. Evidently, they're hiring.
Hank Vaughn
The first stop in July at The Grandscape was an event, and we braved 100-plus heat and five-hour lines that day but failed to grab some grub due to a combination of directionally challenged researchers as well as somewhat vague marketing at that point. (You can read The Observer’s reporting on this food and fact-finding adventure here).

The address is more clearly and accurately shared now on the Beef Bus Tour website and a bit of the novelty has worn off, so we decided to venture out again in search of All Things Vienna Beef, and, “hot dog!” as they say, we succeeded.
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Portillo's Beef Bus gives impatient sorts who can't wait for the January official opening a bit of a taste of things to come, with much shorter lines now.
Hank Vaughn
The website said the bus would be in the LSA Burger parking lot, and Google accurately directed us right to it this time. There were five or six people ahead of us, much better than July’s five-hour line. The temperature was a balmy 70 this time as well. Win and win.

Each person queuing up is given a ticket that allows one to order up to three items. We took our tickets and anxiously awaited our turn to order, using the time to decide just how wet and hot we wanted our beef.
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Each person in line can use this ticket to purchase up to three items.
Hank Vaughn
Finally, after about 10 minutes in line, our five-month-long journey had borne fruit, and we placed our order: two Italian beefs, both wet with hot peppers, and one hot dog, through the garden, of course, along with an order of fries and a couple of bottles of water that we didn’t realize were $4 EACH until after we’d paid. We tried to not let that bother us as we waited about five more minutes for our order to be ready.

The Italian beef sandwiches were smaller versions, maybe half the size of a traditional beef, but actually were just enough. They were fantastic, just the right amount of gravy, not dry, not soggy, and full of a deep peppery flavor that complemented the perfectly cooked beef and the giardiniera, with a subtle amount of spice. This really was perhaps the best beef we’ve had in D/FW.
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The Mini Italian beef sandwich with hot peppers was "just enough."
Hank Vaughn
The hot dog had the perfect snap to the link and all the right ingredients. However, it arrived looking as if the bun had been force-fed the components too hastily. It was crammed. The hog dog itself, however, was right on the mark and delivered that famous Vienna Beef experience.
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Chicago-style hot dog, dragged through the garden.
Hank Vaughn
The new location, across the street from LSA Burger at the Grandscape in The Colony, will have a soft opening at the end of the year, with the full-out grand opening occurring sometime in January. In the meantime check out the Beef Bus tour website for additional stops before then, just in case you, like us, cannot wait that long.

Pro tip: Bring your own water.

Nebraska Furniture Mart parking lot, 5600 Nebraska Furniture Mart Drive, The Colony. Wednesday, Nov. 30 – Friday, Dec. 2 and Wednesday, Dec. 7 – Thursday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

LSA Burger parking lot at Grandscape 4545 Destination Drive,The Colony. Monday, Dec. 5 – Tuesday, Dec. 6, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
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Hank Vaughn is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing and overthinking his food and drink experiences, both good and bad, from his culinary journeys with his wife across North Texas and beyond.
Contact: Hank Vaughn

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