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Dick Portillo

Dick Portillo is the owner of the Portillo Restaurant Group. For most of his young life, Dick Portillo's universe consisted of row houses on Mohawk Street in Chicago, known then as the Mother Frances Cabrini housing project, later called Cabrini-Green. "We didn't have material things. We never went on vacation," said Portillo, 69, whose father did everything from selling insurance to working in factories while his mother raised him and two siblings. "I don't remember being sad. We didn't have steak or fast food, but we ate. We didn't know we were poor because nobody in the projects had any money." At age 23, he found his calling -- selling hot dogs from a 6-by-12-foot trailer in Villa Park. Today, he owns a chain of restaurants with 3,700 employees. Tribune photo by Chuck Berman