Major victory for democracy: Portillo's Chicago-style dogs coming to Maple Grove

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Chicago-style hot dogs might be back on the menu in Maple Grove. Portillo's Instagram

If you had trouble sleeping Monday night, bothered by a mysterious light emanating from the western Twin Cities suburbs, do not fear. 

What you saw glimmering on the horizon was merely the city of Maple Grove's announcement that it would forever shine like a beacon unto the world, especially when it comes to Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches.

The Maple Grove City Council voted Monday to approve a Portillo's restaurant at the local Shoppes at Arbor Lakes mall, the Star Tribune reports. Monday's vote ends months of anticipation and weeks of anger, after council members initially voted down the new business, citing concerns with parking and traffic.

The city's balking was met with derision from hungry citizens -- one started a Change.org petition calling for citizens to get "the hot dogs we deserve" -- whose growling stomachs were finally heard on Monday. One woman told the council she thought Portillo's coming to town would be "the best thing that could happen at Maple Grove," a statement which might say more about her expectations of the city than about Portillo's food.

The council voted 4-to-1 in favor of allowing the Portillo's to bring a 9,000-square-foot operation (plus a drive-through) to the west metro. (Another Portillo's, the chain's first in this state, is set to open in Woodbury in mid-summer.)

Michael Landstad, a general manager at the Shoppes mall, says a spacious "destination restaurant" like Portillo's could become an "anchor tenant" for malls, currently suffering with the slow disappearance (or, worse, ghostly presence) of big department stores. (Then again: Maybe you can find fries somewhere inside a Sears?)

Council member Karen Jaeger switched her hot dog vote from "nay" to "yay" on Monday, but said she's still worried people would be "angry with congestion" once the restaurant is built.

With little context to go on, we must assume Jaeger was referring to the mall parking lot, and not the cheese fry-laden stomachs of her constituents. 

The city is scheduled to take a final vote on Portillo's on May 1. 

 


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