Thursday, February 23, 2017

Air Aerial Fitness Opens at 1317 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
Just wanted to give an update that Air at 1317 S. Michigan Ave has opened, you can sign up for classes at
As a reminder, we first heard about this back in mid-January.  While the space they're moving into has had a bevy of local tenants who didn't last very long, we're curious to see how they do.  This is a chain with numerous locations across the country.

It's also a relatively unique type of fitness offering which could carve out a niche.

We'll see, but regardless, welcome to Air Fit Now!

(Hat tip:  LK!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Harold's Chicken Shack Relocates to 2132 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
New Harold’s opened on Michigan just North of Cermack: 
Harold's Chicken Shack
Address: 2132 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616
Phone:(312) 326-5575 
According to Google this is true.  We think there was an old shack that closed on Wabash, so we assume this is the same one, just relocated a little east.

(Hat tip:  TB!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Getting a Look at Demolition for the 56-Story Essex on the Park

With all the nice weather, we were strolling down Michigan avenue and got a chance to snap a couple shots of the wreckage at 808 S. Michigan as they prepare the site for the 56-story "Essex on the Park":

As a reminder, ground was officially broken for Essex on the Park about a month ago.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ameritalia Apparently Closes at 1303 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
It looks as though Ameritalia on Michigan, just south of 13th has closed. There was no official sign saying so, but as I walked by last night - no lights on, no signage in the windows, and upon looking inside, things were cleared out. Kinda sad but not surprising. The place I'm sure had a lot of carry-out and delivery but not enough eat-in - hardly saw customers there.

While we agree that it never seemed "busy" inside, according to yelp they had a 4.5 rating with 190 reviews.  We actually only went their once and had a mediocre experience.

As a reminder Ameritalia opened in August of 2014.  They had big shoes to fill as they were replacing the popular Panozzo's Italian Deli (which closed unexpectedly in 2013).

Anyway, never like to see local businesses close their doors.

(Hat tip:  JK!)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Work on New South Loop School Site to Begin in March

For those with kids or just interested, looks like there is some news on the new South Loop school at 16th and Dearborn (via DNAinfo):
Work on the South Loop's new neighborhood school will begin next month, city officials say.

Demolition of a vacant post office building to make way for the new South Loop Elementary School near 16th and Dearborn streets will begin in March, Chicago Public Schools officials told neighbors last week. The new school for 1,200 students is expected to open in 2019.

Friday, February 17, 2017

New 39-Unit Condo Building Proposed for 18th & State;
Is this a Good Sign for Condos in the Sloop?

DNAinfo has the scoop on a new 39-unit condo building proposed for the SW corner of 18th and State:
Episteme Luxury Homes plans a new four-story, 39-unit condo building at 18th and State Street. The proposal for 1802 S. State St. is a less ambitious iteration of a seven-story project Episteme proposed last year.
The article goes onto to discuss the difference between Condo developments and rental.

Curbed picked up on this story and thinks some of the other proposed condo buildings will be a better barometer on the market for the South Loop condos:
As far as post-recession condos are concerned, the 1802 S. State project follows on the heels of the 140-unit building at 1345 S. Wabash and is an encouraging sign for the health of the market. However, the biggest test for the area—a 74-story, 832-foot-tall luxury condominium tower at 1000 S. Michigan Avenue—is yet to come. 
Perched on the edge of Grant Park, the JAHN-designed project known as 1000M will open a sales center for its 340 residences this summer and aims to break ground in 2018. The pace of sales should be a much better indicator for gauging the South Loop’s overall demand for new condos.

Seems pretty healthy on the condo front to us...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

University of Chicago Center for Advanced Care Opening Friday

Looks like the University of Chicago's new Center for Advanced Care is set to open on Friday according to this website:
The University of Chicago Medicine invites you to join us at our new facility, The Center for Advanced Care at South Loop for a Community Open House. 
Friday, February 17, 2017
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Tours provided throughout the day! 
- Enjoy refreshments
- Tour our facility
- Meet the staff
- Make an appointment

As a reminder this is located inside the Southgate Market (home to Whole Foods, DSW, Marshall's, Michaels and World Market) at 1101 S. Canal.

This was announced back in October of 2015 so has taken some time to buildout.  This also follows a trend that we posted about doctors and hospital networks building space in the Sloop.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Burger Bar's Quality & Creativity Surprises

Burger Bar has been open at the prominent address of 1160 S. Michigan for over two years and for some reason we haven't been there.  Well that finally changed this past Saturday.

For whatever reason, our expectations for this spot have been really really low (maybe because one of us is not a big burger fan).  As a result we haven't been there and didn't think twice about potentially encountering a wait when we walked in the Saturday before Valentine's day.

We only had a party of two, but still had a 25 minute wait.  The other option was to grab a seat at the bar - which is what we opted for.

The decor is what you would expect to find at any "sports bar" in the city - TVs, lively atmosphere and plenty of beer signage.

Upon sitting down, we immediately were greeted by a nice bartender who was busy tending to a lot of customers.  That being said she was pretty attentive, explained their "2 year anniversary specials" and let us know that if we ordered a burger certain drafts beers were $2.  That was a nice price point for the beers, BUT the food ain't cheap.

As you would expect at a place called Burger Bar, they specialize in burgers and tend to have exotic ones if desired.  There is a mac & cheese section, some appetizers, wings and salads, but it's not a robust menu outside of the burgers (see full menu here).

One of went for the "Wild Bill" burger ($16) which consisted of grass-fed, lean bison, arugula, goat cheese, + tomato chutney on a pretzel roll.  The other opted for an zesty shrimp "alt burger" ($15) which had jicama slaw, tomato, avocado + chili-lime crema:
Zesty Shrimp "Alt Burger"

We both went for the $2 beer special and enjoyed the options that this provided.  A pretty good beer menu in my opinion, but not the star of this experience.

All in all, Burger Bar was a surprising delight that exceeded our (artificially) low bar.  The quality of the food was excellent and the zesty shrimp burger was unique and left us wanting more.

In hindsight, maybe this shouldn't have surprised us.  This restaurant is part of the Good Eats restaurant group that also owns Sociale (800 S. Clark) - which we've frequented a lot and enjoy quite a bit.

Anyway, nice job Burger Bar - we'll be back!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Progress at New Park at Prairie and East 21st

We received a bunch of emails about a new park.  One reader writes:
They are really making progress on what is looking to be a fantastic recreational park at the corner of Prairie And East 21st. Will be a nice addition to the ever growing area.

As a reminder this park was officially approved back in February of 2016 by the city's plan commission.  Below is a rendering of what the park is supposed to look like:

(Hat tip:  JT, SR, JG!)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Chance the Rapper - Former Jones Colleges Prep Student - Wins 3 Grammy's

A young(er) Chance the Rapper
in front of Jones College Prep Sign
(here is a great read on his background)
If you were like us last night, you were sitting on your couch enjoying music's biggest night - the Grammy's.  While there were plenty of things that were buzz worthy, a local boy stuck out to us.  Yes, we're claiming Chance the Rapper as a local boy.

While he might not have resided in the South Loop (he's from the West Chatham neighborhood), he spent some time here.  Most notably he spent some time at Jones College Prep (via Wikipedia):
At Jones College Prep High School, some of his teachers ridiculed his aspirations to become a musician.  Following a 10-day suspension in early 2011 during his senior year for possessing marijuana on campus, Bennett recorded his first full-length project, a mixtape titled 10 Day (also known as #10Day).  In December 2011, he released a song titled "Windows", and publicly announced his 10 Day project.
We like to think we're hip to the latest jams and while we're only being slightly sarcastic with that statement, we did highlight Mr. Chance way back in April of 2013.  Back then it was because he was generating some local buzz and snagged a slot at Lollapalooza.

Anyway, while he's been on the map for a bit now, he officially broke out last night at the Grammys winning 3 awards for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album.  Oh and he had a pretty sweet performance.

If you're not familiar, here are a couple songs.

This one is from his most recent album and is one of his more popular jams:

And if you're looking for some more ol skool work (and a video that prominently features parts of the Sloop) check this:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Sloopin Open House: Townhouse with Soldier Field View

It's been awhile since we did our weekly open house post and for some reason we feel like winter is winding down (although this past work week was pretty cold).

Today a townhouse in the Prairie District area got our attention.  This specific one is listed at $675K and is located at 312 E. 17th St.  While nothing inside the unit stands out as unique, it does look like this one had a nice remodel.  The kitchen looks lovely and the fireplace is on point:

Beyond that, some of the outdoor space has a view of Soldier Field. While it seems like you might struggle to hear cheers from Bears games (man they suck!), at least you could listen to some of the big time concerts coming this summer such as U2 and Coldplay:

If this seems interesting, head over on Sunday from noon to 1:45pm!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Looks Like it's Going to be 5-Minutes Faster to Get to the United Center via the Green Line

Looks like Sloopsters who like to take public transportation to the United Center are going to save 5 minutes (according to Tribune):
The city of Chicago on Thursday announced plans for a new CTA Green Line "L" station at Damen Avenue and Lake Street near the United Center to serve a growing residential and business area. 
The new station will fill a 1.1-mile gap between existing Green Line stations at California and Ashland avenues. In a statement, the city said the new station will improve public transit for businesses in the Kinzie Corridor, for tenants of the Chicago Housing Authority's Village of Westhaven complex and other residents, as well as for sports fans coming to the United Center for Blackhawks and Bulls games.
While we're certainly advocates for a more robust el system, this one seems slightly unnecessary.  As someone who has made the walk from the Ashland/Lake green line stop to the United Center, it's not that bad right now.  And judging by our Google Map search, this really saves 5 minutes of walking time:
So in terms of being a convenience for commuters, we question if this is that much of an improvement.  That being said, we imagine this will bolster development in the area.

Regardless, it's now going to be (5 minutes) faster to get to the United Center from the Sloop - not a bad thing if you ask us.