Thursday, December 9, 2010

Signs of Life on South Wabash South of 16th Street

To most people who don't reside in the South Loop, South of 16th street is still way out of their "comfort zone". Although we usually try to talk them out of this mindset, the fact is that it's still relatively desolate South of 16th street. Yes, Michigan Avenue has move in ready retail space and businesses are slowly moving in, but West of that is pretty bare.

But there have been some recent positive signs. Who can forget the beautiful and unique Columbia College Media Production Center on South State street or the new Clark-N-Oak Animal Hospital opening across the street. We also were sent an email with a link to a new day care going in at the 1900 block of South State called Summa Cum Laude Early Learning Center.

Wabash is showing some interesting signs of life as well. If you read Sloopin, you know about the controversy around a proposed park at 16th and Wabash. Regardless of how you feel about the topic, in our opinion a park of any kind is an improvement over an empty lot. We also found out some interesting information from Alderman Fioretti's newsletter which mentioned that South of the park would be a "private commercial property, which will be a new restaurant".

Well according to Chicago Magazine, it appears that this restaurant is a new high end "to be named" project by Ryan McCaskey:

The South Loop teems with newly built condo skyscrapers, but somehow, fancy restaurants have materialized much more slowly. Into this breach steps Ryan McCaskey, who sports lines on his resumé from Tuttaposto, Vivere, Rushmore, Courtright’s, and Tizi Melloul (which now seems to be like the Taxi of Chicago restaurants, with alumni going on to ambitious projects left and right). In late summer or early fall, McCaskey plans to open a “contemporary classic American” spot at 1639 South Wabash Avenue.

This is definitely welcomed news for this strip, but it ain't going to be cheap at approximately $60-$70 a person. Regardless in our opinion this is great!

It also provides some Southward movement for the Wabash restaurant row. The 1300 block of South Wabash currently boasts 5 "nicer" restaurants. Maybe this will cause similar restaurants to open up shop on South Wabash (yes, we know that Cuatro and Room 21 didn't exactly cause a similar trend, but those were much further South). We can dream...

(Hat tip: SoloMotorRow & JP!)

12 comments:

Ethan said...

Excellent! A new high end dining destination is a fantastic idea -- and sustainable with the large population of professionals in the area. Not to mention, with good reviews, it will attract diners from other parts of the city.

Anonymous said...

I walked through this area last night, and noticed a lot of development going on. The new vet has carpeting in, and they were working on something in the back rooms. Across the street, there's some kind of a Christian school that's going in that some men were putting hardwood floors down as I walked by, and work is being done on this new restaurant. The lease sign has been taken down, and some changes have been made to the back of the building when you peek in.

Amanda said...

Re: Anonymous 12/9 10:29am

The site at 1550 S. State is going to be a mix-use property. Trinity Christian College will have evening classes there but there are a bunch of other non-profits going in as well (not all are "religious"). I'm talking music lessons for children and adults, concert series, counseling services, professional training programs, etc. It's meant to bring good resources to the South Loop.

In addition, Overflow Coffee Bar (www.overflowcoffeebar.org) will be in the middle of this space. They are negotiating a lease right now and you should see an announcement by the end of the year.

Rob Latham said...

Hey, summa cum laude has been open for almost two years now. we sent our daughter there for her first 15 months. Mrs. Driver is excellent.

Anonymous said...

How are the last two new restaurants touted on this blog (Donna's Cafe and Pita Corner) doing?

Anonymous said...

Last I checked, neither Pita Corner nor Donna's Cafe ever opened (and probably never will). I'm sure this new place will go the way of both Cuatro and Room 21 soon after opening.

Anonymous said...

There's an update on Donna's on another South Loop blog: http://southloopconnection.blogspot.com/2010/12/donnas-cafe-its-coming-along-nicely.html.

South Loop Connection said...

For the record, Donna's Cafe is well on the way to opening. Like many new businesses starting from scratch, there are bumps along the way. She's on track to open in January. Check out this link for an update. http://bit.ly/dPLVTD

SoloMotorRow said...

Harper Gallery - Community Art Show - Jan 18th 5pm - 9:30pm. Food, drinks, support the local artist.

Harper Gallery is inviting artists of all kinds to submit work for the Community Art Show. Artwork can be anything under 30"x30". Submissions must be made by JANUARY 18 at 5:00pm. $15 per submission.
Contact Katie for submission: katie.a.groth@gmail.com

Donna Adams said...

Good morning! I hear someone thinks I'm not opening...well I am! The road to this project has not been easy. The learning curve is/was tremendous and it will continue for a bit!
I am new to the world of restaurant owning but not new to the world, learning or being flexible. I hope I can count you guys to help me grow in a positive way, thereby providing you with a positive and enjoyable experience at Donna's Cafe!
I look forward seeing you all VERY soon!
Peace

Anonymous said...

Hi Donna, I walked by your place yesterday, and things look great. Looking forward to your opening.

Donna Adams said...

Thanks Anon, 9 Jan 10:58am! I'll be there Monday juggling a few things, if you are in the area, please do drop in and say hi!