Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Hotel & Arena on Cermak a Step in the Right Direction for the Neighborhood


Yesterday we posted about some retail openings on Cermak and today we post about Blair Kamin's take on the new Marriott Marquis and the Wintrust Arena.  All in all, he's not super impressed with the architectural additions, but did note that simply building these structures were a step in the right direction for the area (via Chicago Tribune):
However one comes down on the issue of whether the hotel and arena were worth building, it’s likely that they will advance McPier’s goal of creating a vibrant convention and entertainment district. But achieving that goal will require the endurance of a marathon, not the short-burst energy of sprint. There are good steps here and they could some day help lead to a buzzing South Loop version of the city’s revitalized Near West Side. But it will take much more, particularly the restoration and re-use of historic buildings in the nearby Motor Row district, to make the area around McCormick Place walkable and an authentic part of Chicago — in short, a place with a there there.

We were recently down in the area and while it still lacks the buzz of Roosevelt or some of the streets north of that, it does feel like it's moving in the right direction.  We'll see if it can be sustained.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Steve's Bite Opens at 80 E. Cermak



Looks like a new diner type of restaurant has opened at 67 E. Cermak (between Michigan and Wabash).  We can't find much online in the form of a website or yelp reviews.  A reader sent us the following pic of their menu:

Additionally, we noticed that Chef Luciano has done some additional renovations and has opted for a very clean, modern look for their restaurant.

This stretch of Cermak continue to evolve.  Should be curious if the momentum continues.

(Hat tip:  NL!)

Monday, October 16, 2017

No Sloop Restaurants Earn Michelin Bib Gourmand Ranking

The Michelin Bib Gourmand rankings are out again and again no South Loop spots make the grade.  If you're not familiar with these rankings, here is how they're classified (via Eater):
The Bib Gourmands reward "quality restaurants that have menu items that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (excluding tax and gratuity)." Restaurant owners, including the owners of San Soo Gab San, have said the honor often attracts new customers.
As far as we can tell, the last restaurants in the South Loop to earn the classification was Kurah and Opart Thai during the 2015 awards.  Why they fell of in subsequent years - your guess is as good as ours.

As of now, it doesn't seem like the Sloop has many "Bib's" on the horizon.  Maybe Lobo Rey could be considered for next year?  Outside of that not sure...

The "Bib's" are awarded the week before the more prestigious Michelin stars come out.  So expect to hear some news on that front this week.  The venerable South Loop fine dinning spot Acadia likely will earn stars again.  For the past two years, it has earned two-stars which puts it in a rarefied dinning class in the city.  Curious to see if they can make it three years in a row.


Friday, October 13, 2017

In Case You Missed It - Jamacia Jerk Villa & Bar Opens on Motor Row

A reader writes:
Jerk Villa finally reopened and I haven't seen it mentioned.

Judging by Yelp, it appears that it's actually been open since late June.

As a reminder, the original Jerk Villa was located at the NE corner of Cermak and State and was destroyed during a huge fire on December 31st, 2014.  This new location has been rumored for awhile and glad to see it finally open. 

(Hat tip: JH!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dollop Coffee Co. Coming to New High-Rise at 801 S. Financial

Looks like the neighborhood is getting a popular, local coffee shop chain - Dollop Coffee Co:

It appears that this is going in the new 33 story high-rise dubbed Alta Roosevelt at the corner of Polk and Financial.

Probably smart move by Dollop.  There is going to be a lot of new people buzzing around with all the development in this area.

(Hat tip:  SL & SE!)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Not Just Cookies Moving into Retail Space at 901 S. Plymouth Ct. in November


A reader forwards us an interesting email from the property managers at 901 S. Plymouth Ct:
Hello 901 Residents,

As we prepare for the new commercial lease beginning in November with Not Just Cookies, a retail space for their bakery, 901 Cleaners have begun the process of moving their items from the space. They expect to be finished and no longer open and accepting packages as of October 8th.

If you have clothes at the cleaners currently, please plan to pick them up at earliest convenience, and note that further clothing drop offs will not be accepted.

Not Just Cookies will also be accepting packages when they move into the space, and we will post their hours once confirmed, but they are to have more consistent weekday and expanded weekend hours than the cleaners.

In the interim, we will be working with staff on accepting deliveries and storing packages for pickup onsite during business hours, and will have further details shortly on the process that will be in place in the down time between tenants while some light remodeling is being done.

Again, further details are to come and door drops with said info will be made early next week, but we look forward to the positive change.

Best regards!

Very interesting!  Seems like there are some unknowns still, but if this is a legit bakery it's something that the neighborhood has been craving for some time.  That being said, we're pretty sure the retail space is relatively small, so uncertain if this is just a retail spot for the distribution of Not Just Cookies.

Upon searching the web, information was a little spotty.  Their website seems up-to-date, but doesn't have a ton of information.  Here is how they describe themselves:
Not Just Cookies - NJC is a cookie company providing, natural desserts superior in quality and taste. Our cookies and pies are made with the finest ingredients. We offer select gluten free and vegan desserts that our rich in taste. Not Just Cookies is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). NJC was created ten years ago by Johnathon Bush.

It also seems as if Mr. Bush started the business in 2006 when he was 13.  So we guess that means he's in his mid-20s? 

Anyway, curious to hear more about this one!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pazzo's Appears to Be Coming to 825 S. State (Former Jimmy Green's Bar & Grill)

Looks like a new restaurant is heading to South State street:

We're not familiar with Pazzo's, but it appears they have a restaurant/event space at 311 S. Wacker and a closed restaurant at 23 E. Jackson Blvd.  From looking at their website and yelp pages it looks like a moderately priced traditional Italian restaurant.

Has anyone been?

Seems like a good addition to the neighborhood.

This stretch of South State has seen a lot of activity recently and with Pazzo's, the entire block appears to be leased.  Just north of Pazzo's will be Taco Madre (which you can see in the pic above).  Additionally, South Loop Market is moving in at the corner of State and 9th.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

It's Chicago Marathon Weekend!

It's Chicago Marathon weekend and the race is coming to the Sloop on Sunday (via Tribune):
On Oct. 8, for 26.2 miles through 29 neighborhoods, about 40,000 participants and about 1.7 million spectators will descend on the city for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Officials encourage the use of public transportation to get to the course and transit agencies will beef up service. The route begins and ends in Grant Park, passing some of the city's main landmarks along the way. See the map below for when streets, which will be closed for most of the morning, will reopen, on a rolling basis.

The course

Description: The fast, flat course is home to four world records, several national records and countless personal bests. There is only one slight incline in the final mile of the course on Roosevelt Road. (Note: The route is subject to change.)

Start times:

Wheelchair race: 7:20 a.m.
Handcycle: 7:21 a.m.
Athletes with disabilities: 7:23 a.m.
Three waves of runners start at 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and 8:35 a.m.
Duration: The course is open for six hours, 30 minutes. Registrants must be capable of completing the full distance, start line to finish line, within this time requirement (approximately 15 minutes per mile). Participant net times greater than the event time requirement will not be recognized as official.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Las Vegas Shooter Had Hotel Room in Sloop During Lollapalooza


As the investigation around the Las Vegas shooting tragedy continues, a chilling piece of information hits close to home (via Chicago Tribune):
The mystery over mass shooter Stephen Paddock deepened Thursday with news he rented rooms at Chicago's Blackstone Hotel overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park in August, two months before he opened fire at a country music concert in Las Vegas.

Paddock reserved two rooms on the park side of the hotel with a clear view of the outdoor festival, but he never showed up, according to a law enforcement source, who asked for anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly disclose the details.

Pretty scary stuff.

This story reminds us of the Obama election rally in Grant Park in 2008.  Security was very tight obviously, but we were concerned about the vulnerabilities.  Here is a picture from a post we did on November 2nd 2008.

While they had bullet proof glass protecting Obama, it still felt risky:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ko Me Japanese Eatery Appears to Be Making Progress at 1303 S. Michigan

Looks like we have a name for the new spot at 1303 S. Michigan:
This was in the window of the old Ameritalia restaurant on Michigan and 13th...

So we know it's going to be called Ko Me and we now know it's going to focus on some trendy stuff (hello Ramen and Poke Bowls!).  Word was that this restaurant was from the Kai Sushi peeps when we posted back June.

Seems interesting to us.

As a reminder, the most recent restaurant in this space was Ameritalia - which closed in February.  This was proceeded by the popular Italian Deli Panozzo's which closed way back in 2013.

(Hat tip:  HL!)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

More Renderings Revealed for Post Office Rennovation

More deets and renderings for the Post Office renovation (via Curbed):
Developer 601W Companies and Mayor Emanuel are taking the wraps off of the Old Main Post Office renovation this afternoon by revealing new renderings and more details on the $600 million project. While the renovation of the hulking 2.8 million square foot building has been underway for about a year, today signals the beginning of a major marketing push to attract interest and leases for future office tenants.
Originally built in the 1930s to help serve Chicago’s mail order behemoths such as Sears and Montgomery Ward, the Art Deco giant is currently being transformed by a team of 200 construction workers representing 27 different contractors, 601W reveals in a press release. Simply titled The Post Office, the upcoming development will feature large spans of office space for 21st century businesses.

Monday, October 2, 2017

62-Year-Old Woman Fights Off Potential Kidnapper


WTF (via chicagotribune.com):
A man tried to pull a 62-year-old woman into a car in the South Loop neighborhood Sunday night, but she was able to fight him off, police said. 
The woman was in the 200 block of West 19th street just after 8 p.m. when the man drove up in a light-colored sedan and tried to pull her into the car, police said in a media notification.

Stay safe and be vigilant!