Chicago-based chain Portillo's stock begins public trading on Nasdaq under ticker PTLO

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Shares of Portillo's begin trading publicly Thursday.

In July, the company announced they were taking the popular Chicago-based chain public with an IPO, or initial public offering, for its stock.

Company officials are hoping that the brand's local fan base will extend to customers in other parts of the country.

Portillo's has 67 locations in nine states right now. By taking the company public, they are hoping to raise cash to increase that to about 600 throughout the country.

"We'll see whether they'll be able to take this Chicago-style dog and burger concept from the regional market to the national market and potentially international," said Sean Dunlop, equity analyst at Morningstar.

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They're off to a promising start. There was a huge line outside a Portillo's food truck in Times Square Thursday afternoon.

"You try our food: I think that's the best marketing. We are savvy about field marketing. Getting our food into people's mouths," Portillo's CEO Michael Osanloo said.

And for some customers, that apparently translates into investing.

Portillo's stock opened at $20 a share, but quickly went up significantly. Shares are trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol PTLO.

The company hopes that trend continues, because they say it will help spread the Chicago cuisine around the country.
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