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Portillo's treats early birds to taste of Chicago ahead of Woodbury opening

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Hundreds of hungry guests got a sneak peak of Portillo's July 6, 2017. The Chicago-themed restaurant is opening its first Minnesota restaurant in Woodbury. Cindy Olson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 5
The Woodbury Portillo's, slated to its first Minnesota restaurant on July 11, features hand-painted Prohibition-era decor and Chi-town gangsters like Al Capone. Cindy Olson / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 5
While known for its hot Italian beef sandwiches, Portillo's got its start as a humble hot dog stand in suburban Chicago in the 1960s. Cindy Olson / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 5
Ryan VanByssam of Hudson digs into an Italian beef sandwich at Portillo's soft opening in Woodbury. Originally from Chicago, VanByssam said the food is just as good as the ones back home. Cindy Olson / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 5

Portillo's, the famous Chicago eatery known for its hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and chocolate cake, is gearing up for its grand opening in Woodbury.

Slated to open Tuesday, July 11, its opening marks the 50th Portillo's location in the country and the first in Minnesota.

But before opening its doors and drive-thru, several hundred people got a sneak peak at the restaurant during a soft opening on July 6.

While digging into an Italian beef sandwich, Ryan VanByssam of Hudson, Wis. said he had to come check out the Woodbury Portillo's.

The food is just as good as the ones back home in Chicago, he said.

The Windy City chain is known for its Chicago-dogs and Italian-style beef, Portillo's menu also includes hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, shakes, malts and its "famous" chocolate cake.

The Woodbury restaurant will feature a Prohibition-era theme, including images of Al Capone and other 1920s gangsters splashed across the walls.

The 200-seat restaurant also includes double drive-thru lanes and an outdoor patio and will be one the largest restaurant in the city.

A Portillo's restaurant in Maple Grove is also in the works.

More information is available at www.portillos.com/woodbury.

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