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Portillo’s brings Chicago flair to chicken sandwich wars with hot giardiniera

In true Chicago fashion, the new sandwiches are topped with hot giardiniera sauce.

A photo of a fried chicken sandwich
Portillo’s new spicy chicken sandwich topped with hot giardiniera sauce.

Beloved restaurant chain Portillo’s — known best for its Italian beef sandwiches and hot dogs — unveiled a new Chicago-style addition to its menu Tuesday: a spicy chicken sandwich.

Officially hopping into the spicy chicken sandwich war with other restaurant chains like Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A, Portillo’s offering provides a special twist with hot giardiniera sauce.

“Portillo’s has always prioritized quality, and this sandwich is no different. It’s spicy, crispy and brings our signature Chicago flair with the giardiniera-packed sauce,” Maria Reichl, Portillo’s VP of culinary development and field operations, said in a statement.

Unlike some of its other competitors, the fried sandwich is served on a toasted brioche bun with lettuce and tomato. The hot giardiniera sauce, which is Portillo’s classic pickled giardiniera relish mixed in with a hot, creamy sauce, is slathered on both buns. Portillo’s is hoping the sauce is enough to set its offering apart from the others, especially as the title for best fast-food fried chicken sandwich continues heat up.

The giardiniera is also available for purchase in bottles at Portillo’s locations and online at In addition, giardiniera-themed merchandise such as swimsuits, pool floats and a children’s book, “G is for Giardiniera,” are for sale via the website.