Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Mei's Asian Small Plates & Dumplings Now Open at the SE Corner of 11th and Wabash

We've received some emails about a "new" restaurant opening on the corner of 11th and Wabash where the new Hilton Garden Inn is:

What's interesting is that there is a restaurant called Mei's Kitchen at 1108 S. Michigan at the bottom of the Best Western.  Are these two associated?  We would imagine yes.  Did the restaurant at 1108 S. Michigan relocate here?  Maybe?

Anyone have more info?

We've never been to the one on 1108 S. Michigan, but it's been open as long as we've been in the Sloop.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Another Sign Roots Pizza Moving Forward - Job Postings for Sloop Location

In case you were still questioning whether Roots Pizza was coming to the Sloop, a reader provides some more evidence:
Randomly saw this on Indeed, so I guess the new roots is still happening...
Join the leadership team at Roots Handmade Pizza. In 2019, Roots has two locations and will be expanding with 2 more locations in the heart of Chicago (Old Town, Printer's Row). We are looking for solid, driven individuals who are looking for growth potential. If this is you, we would like to meet with you. Prospective employees will go through the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group's Manager Training Program and be a part of a growing division in the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group.

As a reminder, we checked in on this about a month ago when we read a random sentence in an article about Roots opening in the Sloop in presumably February 2020.  We think the location is going to be the high-profile SW corner of Dearborn and Polk at this vacant lot:

(Hat tip: JD!)

Friday, June 14, 2019

Sumi Japanese Restaurant Open at 1303 S. Michigan

Maybe this is old news, but apparently Sumi Japanese Restaurant is now open at 1303 S. Michigan!  We see people inside eating:

Has anyone been yet?  Good?

Currently has 4.9 rating on 9 reviews on Google.  They have a nice website with some delicious looking pics.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Huge Milestone for the South Loop's Portion of the Chicago River

A great sign for the underutilized South Loop portion of the Chicago River (via Curbed):
The revamped eastern segment of the Chicago Riverwalk isn’t the only new waterfront improvement headed downtown. Crews are putting the finishing touches on a quarter-mile-long pedestrian path between Harrison Street and the River City Apartments along the river’s south branch.
Masterplanned by Perkins+Will and designed by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, the new riverwalk is part of the larger Southbank development from Lendlease. It will offer a waterfront viewing platform, a kayak launch, natural landscaping along the river’s edge, and the potential for a future water taxi stop.

A stone amphitheater at the adjacent Southbank park can host small public events and concerts, according to a statement from the developer. Although privately funded and maintained, these open space amenities will be available to the public when it is completed later this year.
Beyond this the post talks how the future of the South Loop portion will be extended:
The upcoming Southbank riverwalk offers a preview of what a revitalized south branch of the Chicago River could look like in the future. The first segment will be eventually joined by a new pathway crossing in front of the Riverline development to the immediate south. Just beyond that, a 100-foot-wide public riverwalk is planned at the sprawling mixed-use megadevelopment known as The 78.
Great stuff!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Chicago Food Truck Fest Coming to Wabash (Between 16th & 18th) on June 22/23

Looks like a food truck fest is coming to Wabash:
Chicago Food Truck Festival in the South Loop food trucks powered by Chicago Food Truck Festival Location:
Between 1800 & 1600 S Wabash Ave., Chicago, IL 60616
Entrance: 1800 S. Wabash, Chicago IL 60616
Dates: June 22nd & 23rd, 2019
Time:11am to 8pm ​ 
If you're curious about this you can head over to their website, but here is a list of all the foodtrucks:

  • Piko Street Kitchen
  • Yum Dum
  • Decadent Flavors
  • Harold's
  • Island Noodles
  • Chesa Gluten Free
  • Cupcakes for Courage
  • Lucy's
  • Pierogi Wagon
  • Ms Titles Cupcakes
  • Bills Grill
  • Bopar
  • Lobster Claw
  • Soul Katina
  • Caponies Express
  • I94 Ribs
  • Big Mama's Kitchen
  • Fresh off the Grill
  • Fido to Go
  • Beaver's Donuts
  • Giordanos Food Truck
  • Good Burger
  • Auntie Vee's
  • Big Wang's Food Truck
  • The Happy Lobster Truck
  • Five Squared
  • Jerk Chicken Truck
  • Five Squared
  • Marios Taco's
  • Cute as a Cupcake
  • Lawrence Fish & Shrimp
  • Whadda Jerk
  • Aztec Daves
  • Cheesies
  • Mexi-Tacos
  • Coastline Cove
  • El Campeon
  • Loop Juice
  • Mr. Quiles
  • Hotdog Fiend
  • Tamale Spaceship
  • The Cajun Connoisseur
  • Victor Love's
Does anyone have any favorites of the list above?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Two Sloop Bars Register On Eater's "15 Hottest Rooftop Bars & Terraces" List

The buildout of terraces and rooftops is a trend most Chicagoans love.  For the Sloop, unfortunately we didn't really have many options, but in the past year that has changed and Eater has taken notice as two Sloop spots register on their list of the "15 Hottest Rooftop Bars & Terraces":
13. SX Sky Bar808 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605
The team behind perhaps the city’s most popular rooftop bar — Londonhouse — debuted this swanky nightlife-driven terrace on the fifth and sixth floors of the Hotel Essex in the South Loop. Fancy expensive cocktails, snapper sashimi, a dance floor, and views of downtown landmarks are on offer.

14. VU Rooftop Bar133 E Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60616

The South Side got its first rooftop bar when this year-round spot opened in fall 2018 near McCormick Place. VU Rooftop Bar has terrific views from the 22nd floor, three bars, a karaoke room, firepits, and retractable windows for the colder months.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Grail Cafe Coming to Printers Row

Looks like Printers Row is getting cafe - yay!  A reader writes:
I'm not sure if you’re aware of this yet...

We went to the website, but it has little information.  We've always thought that Dearborn was a prime strip for more restaurant/bar options.  Hopefully this is a sign of more to come.

Anyone have any scoop?

(Hat tip: S!)

Friday, June 7, 2019

One Central Development Faces Questions & Resistance from Local Politicians and Residents

Third post this week referencing the One Central Development!  Lots of interest in this development since it is rumored to cost $20 billion and could reshape the neighborhood.

The two stories of interest we read yesterday was one from the Chicago Sun-Times where our new mayor took a firm stance with the developers:
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday she essentially read the riot act this week to the Wisconsin developer of One Central, a massive project proposed for just west of Soldier Field.
She’s not happy with the way Landmark Development is running roughshod over elected officials and the neighboring residents they represent.

She doesn’t like the fact that developer Bob Dunn went to Springfield “under cover of darkness” to slip authorization for a $3.8 billion transit hub — a key to the project — into the state capital bill.

That transit hub, built over the rail tracks just west of the football stadium, would serve as the base for a string of up to 10 skyscrapers. But Lightfoot is not at all certain the transit center should be a priority for the city of Chicago, given the city’s other more pressing mass transit needs.

“I don’t like the way that they are conducting themselves. And I made that clear in no uncertain terms,” Lightfoot said of the City Hall meeting Tuesday, where she made an appearance “for about three minutes.”

The other story was in Crain's and takes stock of the community meeting that Alderman Dowell and the developer held on Wednesday night.  It's a good read, but here is our favorite blurb:
Dowell, whose ward includes the development site, hosted an initial community meeting on One Central in March, after Landmark Development unveiled its preliminary plans. Last night’s meeting was touted as the beginning of a community engagement process that will last several months.

“I just want to say again, as I said in the meeting on March 13, this project is in its infancy. It is not a done deal,” Dowell said at the beginning of the meeting, to some applause. “There have been no backdoor deals. My office, nor the office of the city of Chicago, nor CTA, nor Metra have signed off on this project or have given its approval.”

Though the General Assembly recently signed off on a deal that would allow the developer to secure as much as $5.1 billion in equity and financing costs, the Chicago City Council still needs to approve a zoning change for the project.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Don't Forget! 35th Annual Printers Row Lit Fest is Here this Weekend

Our favorite local fest is here (via WBEZ):
Dates:Saturday, June 8 10am-6pm
Sunday, June 9 10am-6pm
The 2019 Printers Row Lit Fest, presented by founding organization the Near South Planning Board, returns to its roots to bring you the 35th annual book fair, with a bigger footprint along South Dearborn Street from Polk Street to the newly named Ida B. Wells Drive (Congress Parkway). This year’s fair includes more book dealers, all-free programs, a kids favorite book character costume parade, and much more.

Valerie Jarrett and Alex Kotlowitz, 2019 Winner of the Harold Washington Literary Award, will be featured in this year’s festival programming, with many more to be announced soon. The growing list of sponsors for the 2019 Printer's Row Lit Fest includes Wintrust, Chicago Tribune, WBEZ Chicago, Poetry Foundation, Newcity, American Writers Museum, Make It Better, and Chicago Public Library.

 For more info head on over to the Lit Fest website.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Local Representatives Caution State/City Lawmakers on the One Central Megadevelopment

Unsurprisingly, the One Central development - that over the weekend got a shot in the arm with potential of billions of dollars from the state - has been met with some local opposition (via Crains):
Perhaps pushed by neighborhood opposition, four lawmakers who represent the South Side lakefront have written Gov. J.B. Pritzker urging him to go slow on finalizing any deal for an up to $5.1 billion state investment in the proposed One Central megadevelopment on air rights west of Soldier Field.

In a letter dated May 31—the date the General Assembly authorized state officials to negotiate a contract finalizing a One Central deal without coming back to lawmakers—Sens. Mattie Hunter and Robert Peters, and Reps. Kam Buckner and Lamont Robinson all cited strong local concerns about the size of the project, which eventually could cost $20 billion or more.
It doesn't sound like the lawmakers are saying "no", but they are asking for the process to be inclusive of local input - which seems reasonable.  They are also subtly telling state/city lawmakers to slow down.

This is a story that isn't going to stop, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.  As always, local residents have varying motivations for support and opposition.  It ranges from people who might get their views blocked (and home values impacted) to people who simply don't want more congestion to people who would love more "action" in the neighborhood.

Stay tuned.

(Side note:  we wish they had a better rendering of the development.  Is it us or does the image above look cartoonish?)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Teriyaki Madness - "a Japanese Chipotle" - Moving in at 829 S. Wabash

Teriyaki Madness, a fast-casual Asian restaurant chain, hopes to open 20 locations in the Chicago area, starting with a store in Lombard on Monday and the first of three planned downtown spots this summer, serving made-to-order bowls of meat, rice and vegetables.

Three franchise owners are on board for Chicago-area stores, including one at 829 S. Wabash Ave. in the South Loop this year, two in yet-to-be-announced locations and another in Cherry Valley near Rockford in 2019 or early 2020.

The openings play into the Denver-based company’s plan to grow from its current 55 stores to 500 over the next five to seven years. Teriyaki Madness lets guests choose their protein, rice or noodles, and vegetables, dished up in huge portions.

Nik Patel, who with his wife, Rita, owns the Lombard location, describes the concept as “a Japanese Chipotle.”

We've never heard of this place, but according to Yelp it's pretty popular (4.5 stars).  It looks more like a Panda Express style restaurant than a Chipotle, but what do we know.

As a reminder the 829 S. Wabash location is in the East/West University building and was home to Au Bon Pain for 3 years.