Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Well-Wentworth Connector: A New Type of Road at The 78 Development

The 78 - the new mega development planned for the gigantic vacant land south of Roosevelt - has been written about a lot.  Regardless of your beliefs on the development it surely is going to be transformative for the Sloop.

There was an old post on Curbed Chicago that we didn't link to awhile back but is pretty interesting.  It talks about the plans for the Wells-Wentworth Connector:
In Chicago, a new street main street built from scratch will consider a lot more than just cars. The Wells-Wentworth Connector will be a road for pedestrians, bikers, and new modes of transportation the city might adopt in the future such as scooters.
In a major city it’s a rare opportunity to construct a brand new road without existing infrastructure to work around or other development obstacles, but that’s exactly the chance developer Related Midwest will get with the Wells-Wentworth Connector.
Earlier this summer work on the project began which will be the main road running from north-south in the megadevelopment The 78. The road will directly and easily connect near South Side neighborhoods to the Loop for the first time.

So that sounds great, but what does it really mean.  The article goes on to provide more specifics:
The street will only have two lanes for cars and speed tables at crosswalks will reduce the risk of speeding down the straight road. A speed table is similar to a speed bump except it has a flat top. The ones at The 78 will be placed at crosswalks and reach the same height as sidewalks. This removes the dip at most other intersections in the city, and the pavers will intuitively lead people toward the riverfront and park, Pfeffer said.
The bike lane is protected by a double parkway and designed to guard bikers against hazards like dooring and cars pulling into the lane. The entire lane is 15 feet wide with 5-foot planted barriers on either side and a 5-foot space to ride.

It will be fun to see how this progresses, but it does sound like a unique opportunity.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Aaron Sorkin's "The Trial of the Chicago 7" Filming on Plymouth Ct Today

It looks like Aaron Sorkin's upcoming movie, The Trial of the Chicago 7, is filming in the Sloop today:

For those not familiar with the premise - the movie's IMDB page says:
The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
Beyond an intriguing (local) premise, the cast looks stellar:  Jeremy Strong (Kendall form the hugely popular show Succession), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eddie Redmayne.

(Hat tip:  JTS!)

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Chicago Fire's Return to Soldier Field Seems Like a Win for the Sloop Also

In case you missed this one, looks like the Sloop is going to have more events in the neighborhood starting next year (via Chicago Tribune):
The Chicago Fire’s return to Soldier Field is official.

At a news conference Tuesday morning at the iconic stadium, the Fire announced an agreement to play at the home of the Bears starting in 2020, ending a 14-season stint at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview and returning to the 61,500-seat venue in the South Loop. 
Financial terms of the deal, which runs through the 2022 Major League Soccer season with extension options for eight more years, were not disclosed. Fire owner and Chairman Joe Mansueto, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly made the announcement.
On the whole this seems like a good thing for most everyone in the equation.  Most importantly in our eyes is that the neighborhood and businesses around the Sloop will benefit from a more lively vibe and money flowing through our local establishments.

On the flip side, some of those positives could also be seen as a negatives.  More traffic, more headaches getting around, more often.  That said, still seems like the net impact is positive in our opinion.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Efforts Ongoing To Preserve Dilapidated Power Plant in the Sloop

One of the more iconic buildings in the Sloop is facing demolition.  Most would probably see this as a good thing, some not so much (via Sun Times):
An old coal-fired power plant might not be the first idea that comes to mind when Chicagoans think of buildings in need of saving in the city, but a group of preservationists are calling for just that.
Vacant since 2011, the old Union Station Power House is an example of the city’s industrial roots and a monument to its history as a mover of people and freight, according to Preservation Chicago’s Executive Director Ward Miller.
Preservation Chicago has the old “boiler plant” listed as one of the seven most threatened buildings in the city and is making a last-ditch effort to save the building by finding someone who will give it new life.
“We’re still hoping to find a developer that can reuse it and to get the city involved,” Miller said when reached by phone earlier this week. “We want more opportunity to have [the public’s] voices to be heard and determine if there is a way to avoid demolition.”
Whether its future holds a second life as a data center, an addition to the city’s expanding Riverwalk or something even more distinctive, the building should be saved for future generations to enjoy, Miller said, noting that London’s Tate Modern Museum was once the Bankside Power Station.
When seen from Roosevelt Road while crossing the Chicago River’s south branch, the boxy building’s large, twin smoke stacks rise into the sky with some of the city’s most iconic architecture as its backdrop.
Reuse would be interesting, but we just don't see it happening.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Dentart Opens Up Shop at 2106 S. Michigan

It appears that Dentart has opened up at 2016 S. Michigan (behind the tree...):

We did some googling and seems like their website says they're "specializing in Orthodontics and Prosthodontics".

While businesses moving into the Sloop is good, there is a running inside joke around the neighborhood that we have enough dentist offices, salons and spas.  Guess we need one more...

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Sign for Ming Hin on Side of 1234 S. Michigan Building

More signs of the popular Ming Hin coming to 1234 S. Michigan:

Back in September, Curbed Chicago posted about this restaurant coming to long vacant building.

Will be nice to have this building alive and active again.

(Hat tip:  JL!)

Monday, October 7, 2019

GoGrocer Opens New Location at 1401 S. Michigan

GoGrocer looks to be open at 1401 S. Michigan:

The interesting thing is that GoGrocer has a location one block north of this location (1250 S. Michigan).  While more and more people pour into the Sloop, maybe both can survive?  If it wasn't GoGrocer, it could have been another quick, small, local neighborhood convenience store.  After all Lakeview Market & Deli opened two blocks north (1118 S. Michigan) of the original GoGrocer on Michigan Ave.

As a reminder, this was once an upscale bar called Square One.  That bar closed up shop in the spring of 2018 and has remained vacant since.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Sage Room Poised to Take Over Former Velvet Lounge Space at 67 E. Cermak

We were recently on Cermak and noticed some movement at the former Velvet Lounge space (67 E. Cermak):

We're not sure what the story is here, but the green painted brick nicely changes up the look of this long drab retail complex.

We did some searching and of course they have a Facebook page - although it doesn't really have a ton of info.  It does have some tantalizing photos though:

If these pictures turn out to be true, the Sage Room could be a great addition to this area of the Sloop!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Beetlejuice Pop-Up Bar Coming to Motor Row Just in Time for Halloween

This could be fun (via Eater):
Chicago’s throwback pop culture pop-up bar bubble shows no signs of bursting anytime soon. The Bassline at 2239 S. Michigan Avenue will host the latest, based on Tim Burton’s classic 1988 movie Beetlejuice, which starred Michael Keaton as the crude and comedic spirit. House of Beetle will offer themed cocktails, scavenger hunts, live entertainment, and more, according to a news release and Block Club. It’ll run from October 17 through November 1 and tickets and more information are available on its website.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Molly's Cupcakes Brings An Alternative Option to Night Time Activities

Dessert options in the Sloop have always been spotty.  Yes, most restaurants have options but sometimes it's nice to just go somewhere else for dessert.

An ice cream shop is usually the defacto "dessert" spot in a neighborhood, but for some reason the Sloop doesn't have a real spot that focuses on the cool treat.  Yes, we have a couple Baskin Robins scattered throughout the neighborhood, but that's not really the vibe we're talking about. 

Gordo's Ice Cream in Printers Row is one option that has certainly scratched the sweet tooth itch for the neighborhood.  If you're really twisting our arm you could maybe argue that Stan's Donuts on Roosevelt or Little Branch Cafe are options - although they're not open late for a post meal dessert.  

Which brings us to the new Molly's Cupcakes at 1150 S. Wabash.  While Molly's has had immense success across the city, we were curious to see how it would do in the Sloop.  It's been open for just over a month now and judging by our first visit this past Saturday night, the neighborhood is ready to support their delicious doughy business.

On Saturday night around 10pm, it certainly didn't have a line out the door, but was busy. 

There were college kids playing board games on the swing chairs at the front of the establishment.  A multi-generational family sitting at the communal tables enjoying the unique cupcakes.  A middle aged daughter with her mom plotting which desserts they were going to try and a group that appeared to be on a double date nerding out on the ridiculously over-sized chalkboard:  

All that said, it was nice to see a variety of neighbors doing something at night in the Sloop that didn't rely on alcohol.  While we certainly appreciate imbibing in the Sloop and around town, options are critical to a thriving neighborhood and it appears Molly's may in fact provide a new option for residents.

Welcome to the Sloop Molly's!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Donate Your Lightly Warn Shoes at FFC Gym (1151 S. State) Until October 11th

A reader writes:
Please list if not already listed
Used and new shoes needed
Tennis shoes mostly
All local FFC participating

So we looked a little more into this and found this on their website (via FFC website):
From September 9 – October 11, all FFC locations will be accepting donations of gently used gym shoes to benefit Share Your Soles, a local organization that distributes shoes to people in need locally, nationally and internationally! Tell your friends and family – you don’t need to be a member to donate!

Seems like a good cause!

(Hat tip:  SB!)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Michelin Guide Again Recognizes Acadia with Two Stars for Fifth Straight Year

In case you missed it Acadia - the Sloop's most prestigious and high-end dinning establishment - was awarded two stars from the annual Michelin restaurant review (via Crain's):
Twenty-five Chicago restaurants earned a prestigious Michelin star in the 10th edition of the local guide.  
That’s an increase from last year’s total of 22, with five new restaurants earning one-star status. The one-star list includes Kikko (chef Noah Sandoval's new place), Mako, Next, Omakase Yume and Yugen, all in the West Loop, reinforcing the neighborhood’s reputation as a top culinary destination and reinforcing Japanese omakase as a dining trend.
Alinea retained its top Michelin rating of three stars, with Alinea chef Grant Achatz and partner Nick Kokonas adding Next to their list of Michelin-awarded restaurants. Next is known for its revolving menu with multiple themes throughout the year. It's been a puzzling omission from the Michelins for many years.
Alinea    Lincoln Park       
Acadia    South Loop
Oriole    West Loop   
Smyth    West Loop   
Band of Bohemia    Ravenswood
Blackbird    West Loop   
Boka    Lincoln Park   
El Ideas    Pilsen
Elizabeth    Lincoln Square
Elske    West Loop   
Entente    Lakeview   
Everest    Loop   
Goosefoot   Lincoln Square
*Kikko    West Loop 
*Mako    West Loop 
*Next    West Loop 
North Pond    Lincoln Park 
*Omakase Yume    West Loop
Parachute    Avondale 
Schwa    Wicker Park 
Sepia    West Loop   
Spiaggia    Gold Coast   
Temporis    Noble Square 
Topolobampo    River North   
*Yugen    West Loop
(first-time Michelin winners denoted by an asterisk)

While it's certainly nice to have such a well regarded restaurant in the neighborhood (literally considered one of the top 4 restaurants in the city) - many would like more, moderately priced Michelin worthy restaurants in the Sloop. 

Michelin also bestows Bib Gourmand ratings to local restaurants that are rated as a quality meal at a reasonable price (approximately $40 per person).  Some Sloop restaurants such as Mercat a la PlanxaKurah, City Tavern received this recognition in the past, there aren't any in the Sloop currently.

For the closest options you could travel to Chinatown or Pilsen, but it sure would be nice to have one or two in the Sloop!  The only new place that seems like it has a chance at a bib gourmand designation is Habror - the new restaurant slated for the old Gioco space.  Maybe?