Portillo's in Scottsdale Has an Outrageous Chocolate Cake Shake. Yes, Folks: Chocolate. Cake. Shake.

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

The Guilty Pleasure: Chocolate Cake Shake Where To Get It: Portillo's, Shea just east of Loop 101 The Price:$3.19 small, $3.99 large (and they mean large) What It Really Costs: Hopeless addiction.

When Portillo's opened in Scottsdale, I had quite the reminder that a) There are a lot of expatriate Chicagoans in the Valley of the Sun, and b) Chicagoans are incredibly fond of their native foodstuffs. Never mind that Taylor Street in Tempe has an excellent Italian beef or that Chicago Hamburger Company does a spot-on dragged-through-the-garden hot dog; Chicagoans treated Portillo's opening here with a fervor not seen since the Valley premiere of In-N-Out Burger.

See Also: Chicago's Taylor Street Deli Combo Sandwich: A Delicious Hot Italian Mess Portillo's in Scottsdale: The Happiest Reunion Between Girl and Food

Portillo's has earned solid marks from me for turning out above-average (for Phoenix) Italian beef sandwiches. While there, I noticed that a surprising number of trays bore a slice of chocolate cake in addition to the entrées. Apparently, they're famous for this cake. I tried one, and . . . It's chocolate cake. Tender and moist chocolate cake, but it didn't quite live up to the hype.

My colleague Laura Hahnefeld clued me in to the better sweet option at Portillo's. Maybe "clued me in to" isn't the right term. It's closer to "couldn't stop fanatically raving about." And, boy howdy, was she right to rave. You see, one of the drink options (as with so many fast-food joints) is a milkshake. While they have standard chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, I couldn't imagine getting one of those when they will happily throw a hunk of chocolate cake into a chocolate shake, resulting in a chocolate cake shake.

My problem with most chocolate shakes out there is that they're just too meek. The chocolate flavor is almost an afterthought. Adding chocolate cake to a chocolate shake turns the flavor knob up to 11. It's such a brilliant idea, you'll wonder why places all over town don't do it.

On second thought, I'm kind of glad I've seen chocolate cake shakes only at Portillo's. If they were available everywhere, I'd have to be driven around on a forklift. And, now that the opening frenzy has died down a little, you can get your Italian beef and chocolate cake shake without standing in a line that wraps around the block.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.