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PORTILLO'S

Portillo's Madison will open March 4.

Madison's long-awaited Portillo's restaurant will open at 10:30 a.m., March 4, a company spokeswoman said Monday.

It will be the chain's 59th location, and its third in Wisconsin.

The fast-casual restaurant, 4505 East Towne Blvd, will be 9,000 square feet and have a 50’s diner theme, two drive-thru lanes, seasonal outdoor seating, and beer – "a must in the land of breweries and cheese!" an announcement on Portillo's website said.

The Oak Brook, Illinois company is known for its loaded Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef, chocolate cake shakes, chopped salads and cheese fries. Its Wisconsin locations -- the others are in the Milwaukee suburbs of Greenfield and Brookfield -- are also serving a "Badger Brat."

The Wisconsin-only brat features sausage from Usinger's in Milwaukee, said Ana Espinoza, who does public relations for Portillo's.

The restaurant is still looking for cooks, prep cooks, cashiers and managers. When construction began on the restaurant in July, the company expected to open in the fall.

Portillo's Madison will hold sneak peek meals for local fans who have opted into restaurant updates. Those will take place before March 4, Espinoza said.

Founder Dick Portillo invested $1,100 and opened his first Portillo's hot dog stand, "The Dog House," in 1963 in Villa Park, Illinois. In 2014, after growing Portillo's to 38 locations, Dick Portillo sold the company to Berkshire Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm.

In 2016, Wisconsin’s first Portillo's opened in Brookfield at 17685 W. Bluemound Road.

Read more restaurant news at go.madison.com/restaurantnews.

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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.