Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Checkout Some Strings at Women's Park Tomorrow (7/22)

We love the tranquil vibes of Women's Park and so it's not surprise that an event like this appeals to us:

Grant Park Music Festival Strings Quartet Project Inclusion 

July 22nd -  6:30pm - 7:30pm (Thursday)

Facebook Event Link: 

Grant Park Music Festival brings free string quartet performances to cultural centers, parks, and community venues throughout Chicago, featuring the rising stars in our Project Inclusion Fellowship program. Bring a blanket and join us in your neighborhood park for a free, family-friendly and socially distanced outdoor concert with a little something for everyone to enjoy - from classical to tango, jazz/blues, and modern music! Project Inclusion is a unique artist development program for exceptionally talented early career singers and string players of color aimed at increasing diversity and guiding young professionals toward successful careers in music.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Sweet Bean Opens at Roosevelt and Wabash

A mentioned a couple weeks back a new bakery has opened at 1162 S. Wabash (via Facebook Hello South Loop! Group and Savanna Moore Gardner):
I saw someone post about a new spot and I had to check it out! 

Stopped by  Sweet Bean ( Roosevelt & Wabash) today and it’s super cute with coffee, gelato & a bakery! As of right now, the bakery is Chinese themed and they are waiting for another Sous chef and then they’ll be 

Chinese, Japanese and European themed! Items on healthy seemsed a little healthier too 😍they also have a seating area.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Could Bears Affiliation with One Central Development be a Tell That They're Staying at Soldier Field?

Streetsblog Chicago has an in-depth overview of a public meeting that the One Central development team recently held.  We still question how real this project is, but one relatively small piece that we found interesting was this comment about the Bears:  

Since Soldier Field does not host retail establishments, One Central is partnering with the Bears to allow them to run several restaurants and memorabilia and gift shop for attendees and tourists. If Landmark Development is this far along in a partnership with the Bears, that calls into question the Bears’ supposed interest in relocating from Soldier Field to Arlington Heights.

It wouldn't be crazy for the Bears to keep their options open and stay engaged on both fronts.  That said, we recently pondered how the city could find ways for the Bears to generate more revenue since Soldier Field is the smallest NFL stadium.  At some point, we wonder if the city could use One Central as a carrot to keep the Bears downtown.

The plot continues to thicken.

Monday, July 12, 2021

New Event Space Called G314 Moving Into Former Vice District Brewing Space on Michigan

Looks like a new business is moving into the former Vice District Brewing space at 1454 S. Michigan:

G314Chi is a prestigious event studio located in Chicago's South Loop Neighborhood. Our studio approaches designing the perfect event with a critical eye that challenges the typical vision of a event space.

From the simplest gatherings, to the more sophisticated soiree, we are passionate about delivering a positively unforgettable experience. Our team thrives on creating client relationships that foster a connection where we are not only providing an amazing space for your event, but actually becoming a part of its success.

It's unclear who exactly this is catered to, but it appears it won't be an amenity that is constantly open to the neighborhood.  That said, as the city hopes the convention business bounces back from the pandemic these types of spaces seem well positioned to cater to these groups. 

As a reminder, Vice District Brewing closed back in 2019.  We were very excited when they opened as it brought a completely new dynamic to the neighborhood.  Unfortunately they ran into some challenges on various fronts.  It seemed like it was more of an internal issue that cause Vice's business to fail (they were also opening up other locations on the South Side) vs. the neighborhood not supporting them.  It was probably a combination of it all.

Anyway you cut it, G314 seems to be taking advantage of the space and simply updating the look (via HelloSouthLoop:

It's not clear when they're officially opening, but seems like it will come quickly.

FWIW - looks like this company also has a location in Atlanta so it appears that this is not their first rodeo.  

Regardless - welcome to the Sloop!

Friday, July 9, 2021

Time to Go to the Museums - Covid-19 Restrictions Lifted!

Yeah museums (via Sun-Times):

If it seems like forever since you visited any of Chicago’s many museums and cultural arts attractions, there’s no time like the present to check out all that the area has to offer. And with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lifted, you can do so — in person.

So here’s a look at some of the exhibits waiting to be discovered (or rediscovered) by you, your friends, your family. The museums listed have reopened unless otherwise indicated. Most require advance tickets, so check websites for more information.

Here are some of the museums in the Sloop:

Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. Reopens July 3. Ongoing exhibits: “Astronomy in Culture,” “Chicago’s Night Sky,” “Mission Moon,” “Our Solar System” and more. Admission: $19-$50, $8-$39 children 3-11;

Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan. To Aug. 15: “The Obama Portraits” featuring the official portraits painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. To Sept. 6: “Bisa Butler: Portraits,” an exhibit of the artist’s quilts informed by photographs. To Oct. 18: Joseph E. Yoakum: What I Saw” speaks to the self-taught artist’s vision of drawings of mountainous terrain, arid deserts and majestic waterways. Admission: $14-$35;

Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. To Sept. 6: “Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Jane Goodall” follows the primatologist’s journey to becoming a passionate scientist studying chimpanzees in Africa. To July 18: “Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” celebrates the history, values and beliefs of the Apsáalooke people of the Northern Plains. Admission: $18-$32;

Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan at Columbia College Chicago. To Aug. 29: “Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40,” a multi-museum venture, here features the work of An-My Lê and Shahzia Sikander,” two Asian-American artists who explore their relationship to America. Admission is free;

Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. Immerse yourself in the aquatic animal world with sea otters, turtles, beluga whales, sharks, sea lions, jellyfish, reptiles and more. Exhibits include the Caribbean Reef, Abbott Oceanarium and Polar Play Zone. Admission: $4.95-$39.95;

There are a lot of other call outs in the Sun-Times article that seem interesting.  We're thinking about checking out "The Art of Bansky" exhibit on the west side.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Changes to Stalled 1000M High-Rise Gets Approved By City Council ; Aims for Fall Restart

Looks like this is going to move forward (via YIMBY):

Groundbreaking is expected to occur this fall after the Chicago City Council has approved the revised design for 1000M, a long-planned residential skyscraper at 1000 S Michigan Avenue in South Loop. Fronting S Michigan Avenue, the project site is an infill site between E 9th Street and E 11 Street. Currently a stalled construction site, the development already has caissons in the ground. Time Equities and JK Equities are the developers behind the project.

This update design is one of multiple iterations since the building was originally approved as a Planned Development in 2016. Designed by the late Helmut Jahn and his office JAHN, the 73-story tower is now expected to rise 805 feet, reduced from the previous height of 831 feet. The entirely residential building will now hold 738 rental apartments instead of 506 condominiums and offer 325 parking spaces. Additionally 356 bike parking spaces will also be provided. There will be no retail space, with a leasing center for the building taking up the open space on the ground floor.

If it does in fact move forward, it's unfortunate that there won't be any retail opportunity.  Curious why that isn't happening as we would imagine Michigan Avenue retail space is pretty valuable these days and could add to the general street vibe.  

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Bureau Pizza Co. Moving Into Former Pauly's Pizza Spot on South State

We posted in June about another pizza place moving into the old Pauly's Pizza at 719 S. State and it looks like a name has emerged on the window:

So Bureau Pizza Company looks to be the name, but beyond that we're unsure much about this spot.  Their website has pretty limited info as of now with a splash page:

The immediate thought is whether this new Bureau Pizza Co. has any association with Bureau Bar + Restaurant further south on State (2115 S. State).  Kenny Johnson, the owner of Bureau Bar + Restaurant, also had a small bar called The Bureau Bar at 75 E. 16th awhile back so maybe this is just another expansion of his operation? 

If anyone has intel let us know.

Anyway, we'll be watching this one.  It is well documented that the neighborhood - and specifically the printers row area - has a lot of options when it comes to cheesy pie.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Arlington Heights Approves Zoning Draft That Would Allow For Bears to Build Stadium

So the Bears....hmmmm (via NBC5):
As the Bears navigate a long road to possibly moving out of Soldier Field and the city of Chicago, one hurdle— albeit a small one— was cleared. On Monday night, the Arlington Heights village board voted to approve an overlay zoning draft that would allow a football stadium to be built on Arlington Park.

Last week, Bears president Ted Phillips announced that the team had made a bid to purchase the property. However there has been some debate whether the Bears are serious about moving, or are using the bid as a negotiating tactic with Chicago, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Of course Arlington Heights is going to approve this - still seems like unlikely, but....maybe?

Beyond the idea that this is a negotiation ploy, we're curious if the controversial One Central development proposal has any impact on the Bears plans.  We're not sure if they're affiliated with the project, but similar to how the Rickets (Cubs owners) have found ways to monetize Wrigleyville since the historic Wrigley Field only had so much room to "expand" and "modernize", could the Bears try to capitalize on that development?  This is just my conspiracy theory.

This story has a long ways to go, so will be curious to see how it plays out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Facade Work at Southbridge Development on South State Complete

Looks like more progress at Southbridge (via Yimby):

Facade work is approaching completion at Southbridge Phase I, which comprises of two six-story buildings located at 2310 S State Street and 2344 S State Street in Chicago’s Near South Side.

McShane Powers Joint Venture is serving as general contractor for the current phase, though it is unclear if the company will be involved in the remaining Southbridge work. Completion and move-ins are expected for later this year.

This stretch of the Sloop has been vacant for awhile and certainly has an infamous past with the Harold Ickes homes.  It will be interesting to see if this development with change the general vibe in the area along State.  

It sure seems like there is momentum south of Cermak, but it still has a long way to go.

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Monday, June 28, 2021

Apolonia in Motor Row Earns Praise from the Tribune

Despite some delays in decorating the restaurant, Apolonia, one of the new highly anticipated restaurants in Motor Row (2201 S. Michigan), earns praise from the Tribune's food critic:
Though not all the details line up yet at Apolonia (decorations in the dining room), after two visits, I felt the kitchen was improving rapidly in real time. Gillanders noted the cucumber-and-watermelon salad has inspired other dishes going on the menu soon, which is genuinely exciting.
The review is a good read if you can access the Tribune behind their paywall.  One thing that got our attention was this description of bread!
Without Apolonia, we wouldn’t be collectively devouring the restaurant’s most popular dish, the black truffle puff bread ($16). Developed by pastry chef Tatum Sinclair, this unusual creation looks like a piece of permanently inflated pita bread.

But its shape comes from the incredibly high hydration level of the dough. I’ve been baking bread for years, and most loaves I work with hover around 70% hydration level, which essentially means that for every 100 grams of flour, there are 70 grams of water.

This one has a hydration level of 110%, a ridiculously high amount of water, which makes the dough sticky and particularly hard to work with. But drop it in bubbling oil, and the dough puffs up dramatically. After a few seconds, it’s finished in the wood-burning oven.

Fresh out of the oven, it’s smeared with funky shaved black truffle and toasted garlic, and then showered with salty Parmesan and fried parsley. Crackly on the outside, but soft and forgiving within, part of me wants to compare this to some platonic ideal of a breadstick — which sounds like a burn, but I mean it in the best way possible. I’d bet most people would stay in just about any room to eat this.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Indoor Pools Across the City Won't be Open This Summer Due to Lifeguard Shortage

In case you missed this one, looks like Ping Tom Parks indoor pool will be closed as is the case for all indoor public pools across the city (via Block Club):

People who like to swim at the Chicago Park District’s indoor pools will have to look elsewhere this summer.

The Park District’s outdoor pools open to the public Friday. But its indoor pools at places like Welles Park, Independence Park and Portage Park will likely close Wednesday and stay shut during the summer because there aren’t enough lifeguards to oversee all the city-run beaches and pools, officials said.

“The Chicago Park District, like many organizations across the country, [is] experiencing the impact of the national lifeguard shortage,” said Michele Lemons, the park district’s director of communications. 

The Park District manages 49 outdoor pools, 28 indoor pools and operates 14 Chicago Public School pools that offer community programs.  


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Using Tik Tok to Tell Chicago & The Sloop's History

We're fascinated by new technologies and the creativity it unleashes.  Don't believe us, this here blog was birthed from a similar sentiment.

Along those lines, today we stumbled upon a video on WGN about a local man who uses Tik Tok to tell Chicago's history:

A Chicago TikToker is sharing facts and history about the city in videos that have now gone viral.

Shermann Thomas’s 8-year-old daughter was posting dance routines on the app when he suggested she post facts about Chicago instead. She wasn’t interested in the idea so he started posting his own. His first viral hit was a minute-long history on Lower Wacker Drive and from there, his account continued to grow.

The life-long resident is telling the city’s stories and reaching a younger audience by posting short videos that he heavily researches.

“History matters and it’s not this boring stiff thing that we are used to,” he said.

Sure enough many of his videos touch on South Loop topics such as this one about Clark House:


Chicago’s oldest house. ##Clarkehouse ##Chicago ##chicagohistory ##fyp ##historytok ##chitown

♬ Spongebob - Dante9k
Sure, the content isn't ready for 60 minutes quite yet, but we still find it interesting. Further more, maybe some of you haven't checked out Tik Tok. As a person who is paid professionally to understand the media ecosystem, we've been blown away by Tik Tok's platform.  Maybe this gives you a chance to play around with it?  

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Sweet Bean Sign Appears on Former Bongo Room Space (Roosevelt and Wabash)

One Asian restaurant closes, another (but very different) appears to be opening (via Eater):

South Loop: A “coming soon” sign for a new Japanese-Taiwanese cafe called Sweet Bean is visible in the window at 1152 S. Wabash Avenue, and operators have put up several job postings on Culinary Agents. The space previously housed a South Loop outpost of popular breakfast and brunch mini-chain Bongo Room, which closed in 2019.

Very curious to see what comes of this.  It's a very high trafficked corner of the neighborhood, so will be curious to see what type of reception it gets.

That said, a "Japanese-Taiwanese cafe" has us intrigued.

Here is a pic from the Hello South Loop facebook page a neighbor posted

(Hat tip: AH!)