The Peoria City Council Tuesday is expected to set in motion a process whereby a Portillo’s Restaurant will open next year in the city. Developer Willie Torchia has acquired the land at Sterling Avenue and Baumann Way, in front of the Westlake Shopping Center. He will spend about 700-thousand dollars to prepare the site and construct a building to lease to Portillo’s. He is asking the city to create a Special Service Area tax, where Portillo’s will add one additional percent to the tax rate on their sales. That money will reimburse Torchia for development costs. City manager Patrick Urich says the city will put no money into the arrangement but will reap tax benefits.
The council tomorrow night will vote to set a date for a public hearing on the project, the first step toward creating the Special Service Area. If all aspects of the project move forward, the 200-seat restaurant could be serving Italian beef sandwiches and hot dogs as early as next spring.