Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Akhirah's Moving to Pilsen at the End of March?

A reader writes:
I’m devastated to learn from the staff that Akhirah’s Praline Candy store at 1845 South State Street will be moving out of South Loop and to the Pilsen area.
Such a great little coffee shop with so much more than Pralines …  wonderful French Roast coffee, chicory coffee, beignets, and delightful mini sized desserts.  My heart is breaking!!  This sad news seems to be “word of mouth”  as I don’t see it on their Facebook page.

For those who aren't familiar Akhirah's opened in 2016 at 1845 S. State.  There was a point when they were going to close down, but apparently that didn't happen. 

Maybe they're moving now?  We shall see.

(Hat tip:  MW!)

Friday, February 14, 2020

NBA All-Star Weekend = Poop on the Streets?

A reader writes to the 3rd Ward Alderman Team:
For some reasons, all the trash cans on the street corners in our neighborhood have disappeared. They were collected by what I think was a Streets and Sanitation truck a day or so ago. What is going on? Are we getting these trash cans back? Obviously, our neighborhood needs trash cans. It is especially important for dog owners like ourselves who need to dispose of pet waste. Unfortunately, if these trash cans are not returned, I fear that trash, including pet-waste bags, is going to be thrown on the ground, and nobody wants that. Can you please let us know what is going on and when we can expect to see the trash cans back?

Response:
Thank you for your email.  As you know, the NBA All Star Weekend is upon us and Wintrust Arena is one of the main venues for the weekend activities.  Celebrities, national and local government and elected officials, and NBA officials and athletes are attending and the City is responsible for securing the area.  The trash cans were removed as a precaution to insure the safety of all visitors and residents of the area.  The cans will be returned to their locations at the end of the weekend.  
The 3rd Ward Team

We haven't heard of trash cans being removed before, but we did post about Mail Boxes being removed due to protests or sealed up for Lollapalooza:

Understand security measures taken for high-profile attendees (sounds like Obama is going to be in the city), but wonder how they will feel about poop bombs on the street.  Watch where you're walking.

(Hat tip:  AB!)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The 78 To Kick-off Construction of First Phase Within a Year

Sounds like The 78 is getting another step closer to actually breaking ground on buildings (via Chicago Tribune):
The 78 megadevelopment along the Chicago River in the South Loop will start construction in the next year with a nearly 3 million-square-foot first phase that will include apartments, student housing, retail space and a long-discussed University of Illinois-led innovation center.
Related Midwest, the developer behind the $7 billion riverfront project, on Wednesday confirmed details of the first phase of the 62-acre project that will eventually stretch from the South Loop to Chinatown and bring as many as 10,000 homes to the new neighborhood.
The U. of I.-led Discovery Partners Institute has signed a letter of intent to begin building its research facility within the next 12 months on land donated by Related Midwest. Other buildings will be under construction within the next year.

The article really focuses on the Discovery Partners Institute being the initial catalyst.  Not shocking as it's a tenant to build around.  That said, at some point you have to take the "if you build it they will come" mentality and it sounds like we're almost to that point.

The other interesting (and unsurprising) point to us was where they will be starting:
The more than $2 billion first phase also will include 1.5 million square feet of loft-style and high-rise office space; 700,000 square feet of apartments and student housing; and 100,000 square feet of fitness, retail, hotel, restaurant, retail and cultural space. Related said it plans to complete the first phase, mostly at the north end of the site, by 2024.
It's a big site so guess it makes sense to start further north where there is more action and closer proximity to downtown.  That said...how are they dealing with the extra traffic?  Roosevelt can be such a pain - this only seems to be exacerbating the problem.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Tejas Yoga Moving to 1345 S. Michigan

Tejas Yoga is moving:

This yoga studio is a favorite in the Sloop and nice to seem them moving into some new digs.  For reference they're currently at 1300 S. Wabash on the second floor above BMO Harris bank and the former Subway.

Best of luck!

(Hat tip: MP!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Israel Idonije Opens RSTR Gym at 1325 S. Michigan

It looks like a new gym owned by former Bear Israel Idonije has opened a new gym called RSTR at 1325 South Michigan Avenue. 

So what is this?  According to their website:
WE ARE RSTR (re•store)
We believed that a commitment to health and wellness is the most important investment you can make in yourself. Everyone's Journey towards achieving the best version of themselves Physically and Emotionally is different. When it comes to RESTORING self, some lift, some run, others meditate, massage and the list goes on.  We believe every individual's journey of TRANSFORMATION begins with a Restoration plan.

Of interest we've been told that "Israel is currently teaching classes Monday to Friday as well as on Saturdays."

So there you have it.

(Hat tip:  TM!)

Monday, February 10, 2020

Lao Sze Chuan Another Popular Chinatown Restaurant Expanding North into the Sloop

Wow another Chinatown restaurant making its way north into the Sloop:

Lao Sze Chuan is a popular, Chinatown staple that we love but moving into this location seems strange to us.  Its had challenges keeping tenants (Mai Tai closed at this location last year) and isn't a strip known for restaurants.

All that said, Lao Sze Chuan has had numerous locations throughout the city - so the move isn't completely a shock.  As of now they have Chinatown and another location up in Uptown.  There was also a location on the Mag Mile for a little bit, but that appears to have close.

More interesting to us is that this is the third Chinatown restaurant spill north into the Sloop.  Ming Hin opened a huge, sparkling two story restaurant at 1234 S. Michigan and just two weeks we posted about My Place opening in the former Lobo Canteen restaurant at 1307 S. Wabash.

(Hat tip: MM!)

Friday, February 7, 2020

Xiang Hot Pot Looks to Be Coming Soon to 2201 S. Michigan


According to Eater Chicago:
Chinese hot pot chains are snapping up locations across the U.S. — and locally in Chicago — and now a New York-based company is leaping into the fray. Xiang Hot Pot, which operates locations in Brooklyn and Queens, is “coming soon” to the South Loop, according to its website.
Hot pot devotees should be able to try a selection of classic and non-traditional ingredients at the new Chicago location. And the company’s signature gimmick — edible teddy bears made with mala soup and butter that dissolves (slowly, it seems) into steaming broth — could be available too. Reps have not yet responded to a request for more information.
Xiang Hot Pot is slated to open in the space above S.K.Y. chef Stephen Gillanders’s forthcoming restaurant Apolonia inside a Hilton Hotel, he said. The building at 2201 S. Michigan Avenue, near Wintrust Arena and McCormick Place, also houses the second Fatpour Tap Works, a Starbucks, and VU Rooftop Bar.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Pier 1 Imports is Officially Closed at 1014 S. Canal

Just to close this one out, Pier 1 Imports is officially closed at 1014 S. Canal.

We posted about this back in early January and snapped the pic below. It is completely empty and all signage is removed:

Our 2020 business counter is updated with this closure.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Chicago Tribune Food Critic Suspects Moody Tongue is Going to Get a Michelin Star

So it sounds like Moody Tongue is a winner (via Chicago Tribune):
The only brewpub in America with Michelin-star recognition is Band of Bohemia. I strongly suspect that, in the next Michelin Chicago Guide, the Ravenswood restaurant will have company.
Moody Tongue, in its spacious new South Loop digs, combines a serious, large-scale brewing program with the cuisine of chef Jared Wentworth, who, through his stellar work at Longman & Eagle and Dusek’s Board & Beer, has had considerable success in capturing the Michelin Man’s attention.

The review goes into deep detail and likely will leave your jaw dropped:
Wentworth offers two menus at Moody Tongue. There’s a 12-course tasting, priced at $155 (which includes beer pairings), and an a la carte menu. My guess is that most people will pick a la carte, especially the first time out, so I’ll start there.
The menu reads simply — few terms will induce head-scratching — but the dishes are executed with precision and uncommonly pretty presentation. Grilled octopus arrives as five medallions dabbed with saffron-lemon aioli, arranged in a slight curve on a bed of slow-simmered eggplant and chickpeas, and chunks of morcilla sausage. Beet tartare is magazine-cover pretty, a tall disk of smoked beet topped with spruce-infused ricotta, gelled egg yolk and mustard seed.
Celery root rotollini features pasta rolled tall and filled
with celery root and ricotta. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bread plays a large role in both menus; Wentworth is playing off the beer-is-liquid-bread saying. Crusty, toasted sourdough plays nicely with that smoky beet tartare; chicken liver mousse is paired with a yummy pecan toast. And the mussels, mentioned previously, are matched to wide slices of toasted baguette smeared with black-garlic aioli.
I’m particularly fond of the rotollini, contributed by sous chef Emily Phillips. The pasta pieces are like oversized tortellini, rolled tall and filled with celery root and ricotta. Brown-butter solids are scattered at the base, while Parmesan foam and slivers of black truffle sit on top.
Main courses include an exceptional dry-aged pork chop with pears, cabrales cheese and fennel conserva, and an imaginative bouillabaisse with prawns, mussels, striped bass, and a scallop-mousse and king crab cannelloni. What’s rapidly becoming a signature entree is the skillet-fried chicken with black-truffle cavatelli; it’s a good chicken, but it didn’t curl my toes the way the pork and bouillabaisse did.
The tasting menu gets off to a rousing start with a trio of single bites: A puffy gougere topped with smoked-bass mousseline and arctic-char roe, an oyster with kalamansi vinaigrette and a tall samosa of butter-crisped phyllo filled with ground lamb, topped with a dab of yogurt and finger lime.
In rapid succession come chawanmushi topped with lobster and shaved truffle, and a fanciful nigiri of madai (sea bream) draped with lardo and topped with sea urchin, wrapped in braised kombu (in lieu of nori).

And look at the beers - this looks like fun, can't wait to try this place:


Monday, February 3, 2020

Opart Thai Houses License Appears to Be Revoked

We received various emails from readers pondering if this is true:

Unfortunately we first heard about this on Thursday and as of Sunday no one was picking up the phone at Opart Thai (1906 S. State).

Opart Thai House has been a popular restaurant in the Sloop for awhile and is one of our favorite curries in Chicago.  Hope they get this sorted out soon.

(Hat tip: KM, MG, AR!)

Friday, January 31, 2020

My Place Looks to be Moving in to Former Lobo Ray Space at

A reader writes:
I also wanted to let you know that a new sign went up at the former Lobo Canteen on Wabash yesterday (Tuesday, Jan. 28). I snapped a picture while hurrying to the train, so it's not useable, but I wanted to share it with you for the info it includes. It reads:
MY Place
Authentic Chinese Cuisine and Seafood
We saw people (presumably workers) in the space last Monday night (Jan. 20) from across the street when we were leaving dinner at Flo and Santo's.

We then got this from another reader which goes into the concept (via LTH Forum):
Exterior signage for Myplace is up at the former Lobo Ray space on Wabash. A quick scan of the interwebs shows that the restaurant was formerly located in Chinatown; its original incarnation focused on noodle/casserole/congee dishes + the usual bubble tea and smoothie assortment. Smart move to hightail it up north a few blocks: the neighborhood needs this sort of place, and they'll have no competition. (Ming Hin, which also just opened in the neighborhood, is going for something much, well, louder.)

As a reminder, this spot once housed Zapatista but that closed in 2015 after a good run.  After that Lobo Ray - an upscale, trendy taco spot took over in 2017, but had struggles and closed in 2019.  Will be curious to see how My Place does given that their is another Asian restaurant (Asian Outpost) next door. 

Interesting that another Chinatown restaurant is moving into the Sloop.  Seems to be a trend with MingHin moving in at 1234 S. Michigan.

(Hat tip:  MY & CF!)