Saturday, July 31, 2010

South Loop Deals @ Print Me Coupon

(sponsored post)
Print Me Coupon is a new coupon website. If you haven’t checked it out yet you will want to. It is brought to us by the same people that do our local coupon booklet (Open Me), so it has a bunch of coupons for businesses in the South Loop and throughout Chicago. A few examples of coupons in the South Loop are as follows:

If you want to learn a little more about the company you can check out their press release here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bottom Continues to Fall on South Loop Real Estate?

If you didn't read yesterday, a prominent piece of South Loop land was auctioned off recently. 1000 S. Michigan was supposed to be a glamorous towering residential building, but the recession hit and the real estate bubble popped and here we are:

Investors looking for signs that South Loop land prices have stabilized didn't find one at an auction Tuesday of a prominent South Michigan Avenue development site overlooking along Grant Park.

An affiliate of First American Bank prevailed in the auction of the
vacant property at 1000 S. Michigan Ave., with a winning bid of $11.3 million, less than half the $25.3 million the Elk Grove Village based lender is owed on the site, says auctioneer Rick Levin, whose firm conducted the sale.

Honestly, we're not very surprised. Regardless, it's not very encouraging.

(Hat Tip: MH!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weekend Storms Wreak Havoc on River City

The weather has been pretty crazy over the last couple of weeks, but the storms on Friday were really intense. In case you missed this story, the Chicago River flooded the River City condo complex at Polk and Wells:
At least 700 tenants at the River City condos were evacuated as a precaution after the basement parking garage flooded, said the alderman for the 2nd Ward.
River water seeped into the garage about 3 a.m.,said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd).

The flooding caused the generator that runs electricity throughout the building to shut down, said Valerie Gervais, who owns a condo in the building.
Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said that in terms of flooding, the River City complex is the worst situation being with in the city.
"We don't have any other building that have been flooded to this degree," Langford said.
Another reader sent us some pictures and a quick write up:
I'm sure you'll get lots of updates on this since it is big news, but here's my take. River City was evacuated Saturday the 24th due to flooding in the ground levels (basement and parking garage - I was told up to 12 feet at one point). The water took out the electrical systems in the basement, so the building is without power or water and for "safety reasons" the city evacuated the building.

We've been told it could be as many as five days before the power is back on and we can return. Anyone without a place to go was bussed to a shelter. We were told all the hotel rooms in the city had been booked on Saturday so that was not an option (I have no idea who determined that). By 4:00pm on Saturday the fire department was going unit by unit to evacuate the people and any pets they found. By 2:00am we were told it was finished. I've attached a couple pictures I took, use them as you will.
(Hat Tip: TE & JJ!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lolla Low Down: X Japan

The second installment of our Lolla Low Down. We're getting ready for this years festival (Aug 6th - 8th) and here is one of the bands we're interested/excited to see.

What happens when you mix Japanese musicians, epic (but undoubtedly cheesy) ballads and millions of crazy fans? The answer my friends is X Japan!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Desperate Dogs?

We've never heard about this problem, but if it's true something needs to be done. Has anyone else noticed this? A concerned reader writes:
I am writing to report an abusive animal report that is occurring in the South Loop. There is a man that has as many as 9 dogs chained up outside in the large field directly south of the Roosevelt Collection. East of the river and west of Clark st. I have called the police over 4 times and nothing has happened. I frequently walk my own dog back there and several times heard the dogs moaning and barking. He has a little shack set up there and the dogs appear to be underfed and in poor condition. I thought that maybe bring awareness to the situation through your website would bring about some action.

Here is the map of the exact location. On those concrete foundations.

(Hat Tip: DT!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Chicken Bone Problem

We've noticed this mostly around Jewell:
Can we start a movement such as signs, stickers, or posters, to bring awareness to the madness of all of the chicken bones thrown casually on the sidewalks of the sloop?? Where do they all come from??? Have the chicken wing lovers of the sloop not seen the garbage cans on most street corners!! My dog sure loves to try to Hoover them from the ground and then I get to entertain the people walking by as I try to pry them from her jaws! Please people stop with the litter!!! Madness!

(Hat Tip: RP!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

BMX Invades Soldier Field Parking Lot - Legally

As many Sloopers remember there was a big fuss over a planned BMX event at the vacant Southwest corner of Harrison and Wells. That was cancelled.
Regardless, if you're into the sport or are simply looking to witness some crazy S*^T, then head on over to Soldier Field today and tomorrow for some high flying bike riding. We've secured VIP tickets some how and will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

BYOB Makes the Difference at Triad Sushi Lounge

We posted about Triad Sushi lounge (1933 S. Indiana) a couple of months ago and our maiden voyage was unfortunately average. We blame ourselves primarily due to some unwise menu decisions and not knowing their liquor policy. We vowed to try it again and we recently did.

The second go around was much better! First we stuck to the sushi menu for our entrees. Although we still prefer South Coast's sushi, Triad Sushi lounge was still very good. However, the thing that made this trip even better was the BYOB policy. We had a great bottle from WineStyles at 1240 S. Michigan and the best thing about the whole experience is that Triad doesn't even charge a corkage fee.

Since we had a white wine, they also brought us an ice bucket for next to our table. Good touch Triad...good touch!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Knock Three Times for Some Dope Kicks

Old news from the weekend, but still interesting. From the Chicago Tribune:

Knock three times, buy cheap — and fake — Nikes. That's the scam a shop owner was running out of a women's boutique in the South Loop, police said Saturday.

The owner, Boe Eng, 43, of the 2500 block of West 40th Street, was charged with felony theft as well as unauthorized use of trademarks, a misdemeanor. He was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bail at a Saturday hearing before Cook County Circuit Judge Peggy Chiampas.

On Friday morning, police seized boxes full of 1,864 pairs of Nike gym shoes believed to be fakes at EPretty Inc., 626 W. Roosevelt Road, and arrested Eng, authorities said. The shoes are worth an estimated $162,000.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lolla Low Down: Chromeo

We just enjoyed a sweaty, but solid time at the annual Pitchfork Music Festival in the wloop and that can only mean that our summer concert season is in full swing. Although Pitchfork might have a solid lineup and in our opinion a comical hipster scene, we're partial to Lollapalooza (August 6th-8th) since it's in our backyard.

Anyway, we're excited to check out some new music and witness some of the best people watching in the world and leading up to the 2010 version of Lolla we're going to be posting various youtube videos of some of the acts we're interested/excited to checkout.

First up, a funk-cheese-filthy-synth type of band that makes us feel dirty for listening to their music, but sexy at the same time. Regardless how it makes you feel, Chromeo should be fun:

Get Your Sloopin 2010 T-Shirt

Consider this your weekly reminder to get your Sloopin 2010 T-shirt. There are 5 ways to get your shirt. Click here to find out more!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Artists & Craftsmen Moving in at 828 S. Wabash

Last week we posted in our Sloopin Retail Round-up about a new place moving in at the old Powell's book store (828 S. Wabash). Over the weekend a reader sent us pictures that a store called Artists & Craftsman Supplies is moving in:
(Hat Tip: HW!)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One Thing You Probably Know About the Sloop

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune labeled "10 Thing You Might Not Know About the South Side" has some interesting stuff and one thing about the Sloop. Most of us probably know about the history of the Levee vice district in our neighborhood, but if you don't:
10. The Levee was a vice district around 2oth and State streets with houses of ill repute bearing such colorful names as Bucket of Blood, Why Not and the Library. (A husband could tell his wife he was going to the Library and would not be lying.) Do-gooders closed the Levee in 1912, dispersing prostitution elsewhere in the city and suburbs.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sold! Burnham Pointe Has a New Owner

Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I, based outside of Dallas, said in a federal regulatory filing that it bought the 298-unit Burnham Pointe building at 730 S. Clark. The seller was a unit of Stark Investments, a hedge fund manager based in suburban Milwaukee.

Burnham Pointe opened in 2008 but was in financial trouble throughout its construction period. Its original developer, Terrapin Properties LLC, lost control of the project, and the building was switched from condominiums to rentals.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1323 S. Michigan Ave. Building in Foreclosure

A story a couple of weeks ago from the Chicago Journal mentioned:
On Feb. 11, Amcore Bank filed suit against Karbowski, alleging he owes them more than $3.1 million stemming out of an August 2007 loan he took out on a property located at 1323 S. Michigan, a vacant building.
This is one of many buildings the developer has problems with. This could be a nice property on the South Michigan strip, so hopefully someone buys it and does something with. It will probably take some time though.

(Image from Chicago Journal)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Get Your 2010 Sloopin T-Shirt!

It has been a long time in the making, but the 2010 Sloopin t-shirt is finally here! As you might remember "The Year of the Sloopster" shirt won and we have spent some time improving the design of the t-shirt. Hope you like it:
By buying the shirt you won't only be the coolest kid on the block, you will also be helping our lovely blog. As a reminder, the proceeds will go to a project we're trying to fund which will include some new features that we know you will love.

So you're probably wondering how do I buy the shirt? You can get the shirt five different ways:

1) Chef Luciano's (49 E. Cermak) - $15
A South Loop icon that has been holding down the fort in the neighborhood for a long time will be selling our t-shirt. They will also be giving people who buy the shirt or wear the shirt to their restaurant a free dessert. So go get the shirt and enjoy some great food!

2) Smiling Bright/Posture Perfect Pilates (1247 S. Wabash) - $15
The great people at Smiling Bright & Posture Perfect Pilates will also be selling our shirt and yes they will also be giving discounts to their services. Buy a shirt or wear a shirt to their store and you will receive 10% off of your teeth whitening service or your purchase of a pilates package.

3) Jimmy Green's Tavern (825 S. State) - $15
This new hot spot in the Sloop graciously offered to help us out as well. They will be offering 20% off of your food if you buy a shirt or wear a shirt into their restaurant. So get a shirt and check out this new spot!

4) Email us & we will send you a Pay Pal request - $21 (includes shipping and Pay Pal fees)
Being a website and all we figure we need to at least provide you with an opportunity to buy the shirt via the web, so this is one way you can do it. Simply email us at and we can coordinate your size and shipping address. We will send you a Pay Pal request, you pay, and then we will ship your shirt! It's that simple.

5) eBay - $22 (includes shipping and eBay fees)
Yes eBay is simple, but they charge us money to sell stuff on their site. Regardless some people love eBay, so you can buy the shirt their too (click here to go to eBay link).

So there you have it, the Sloopin Shirt is here! Buy it, support Sloopin, represent your hood, and also save money at some spots around the Sloop!

Thanks for buying a shirt and thanks to our partners for selling the shirt!

Sloopin Retail Roundup

We've recently received a lot of emails and talked to a bunch of people about new restaurants/businesses that appear to be opening in the Sloop. Although some of the places are still in question, we figured it was time to throw them on a post and hope someone in the know can give us more perspective as to what they might be:

1700 Block of South Michigan Ave.
In between the South Loop Market and the laundry place on the west side of the street, it appears one of the vacant retail spaces is being built out. It's been hard to peek in, but we saw some nice tiling going down. Anyone have the update on this space?

1200 Block of South State Street
We recently posted and were excited to see a sign go up for Donna's Cafe within one of the retail spaces on the East side of the street (next to Vision Salon). Well over the weekend, the retail space just South of Donna's also appears to be having some work done. We spoke to a person inside and it appears there is a "massage therapy" place going in. Does anyone have more info?

1511 South State
A reader writes:
Any word on what's happening at the old Carolina Caramel local at 1511 state
street? I walked past and the windows are all covered with paper, which leads me to believe that remodeling is taking place. Thanks.

828 South Wabash
A reader writes:
Hi! As I was walking past the former site of Powell's Books today on Wabash, I
noticed two guys inside painting the walls in a variety of brightly colored
stripes. I wonder if this means someone has rented the space?

Sarpino's - 1923 S. Archer
We recently heard a Sarpino's is opening up in this complex. Although I've actually never been there, it doesn't sound half bad. Is this a good or bad thing for the Sloop?

That's a lot of build outs and renovations going on, but not a lot of concrete information about what these places will be. Please feel free to chime in if you know anything.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Take Your Kids to KuttingEdgeKidz for Great Haircuts

(Sponsored Post)

KuttingEdgeKidz (1900 S. State) has been open for a couple months now and has established itself as a great and fun place for kids from the Sloop to get their haircut. For the Sloopers who have been around awhile they took over the place where the old Cafe Au Lait used to be.

Although they name is unique it doesn't matter if you spell it Cutting Edge Kids, KuttingEdge Kids, or KuttingEdgeKidz (correctly!), it truly offers one of the sharpest cuts in town for kids.

We recently sent them some questions about their salon and why they chose to open up shop in the sloop:

What is KuttingEdgeKidz?
KuttingEdgeKidz is a modern, fun and awesome hair salon for kids right here in the South Loop at the corner of State St. and Archer Ave.

Why did you decide on opening up KuttingEdgeKidz in the South Loop?

We decided to open KuttingEdgeKidz in the South Loop because as South Loop residents for almost 8 years and as moms we feel that this community has been very much under-served given the large influx of professionals and their families. We (and all other families we know) have been taking our kids to other salons that are far away. We thought the South Loop should have a kid salon too and one that is fun, modern and centrally located to all the surrounding neighborhoods -- South Loop, University Village, Bridgeport, Bronzeville, West Loop and so forth -- that are craving for something like this. Although the majority of our customers come from these neighborhoods, we have customers from all over including the far North Side of Chicago, Hyde Park, South Shore, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Buck Town. We truly serve the kids of Chicago.

What are some of your customers favorite things about the salon?

Our customers love that we are here so close to their homes and they don't have to fight traffic congestion like they had before to get to their previous salons. They love the awesome novelty seats and the ambiance of the place -- the play and lounge areas, open space and cleanliness of our salon. Repeat visits and referrals to their friends and families are some signs of how much our customers appreciate us.

Why should people come to KuttingEdgeKidz instead of a regular barber/salon?

Parents and kids love KuttingEdgeKidz because we specialize in haircutting for kids. We have created a space that is very kid-friendly with fun toys to play with, great seats to sit in and video games to play with while getting their hair done. We have heard from parents who regretted taking their kids to a regular salon because of the lack of kid-friendly environment and lack of patience towards the young clients. We love kids here!

Do you off other services besides haircuts?

Besides haircuts, we do hair styling for special occasions including ballet recitals, weddings, and school/family pictures. We also offer blow drying and shampoo/conditioning services.

Do you ever have parties at your store?

We are currently looking at offering parties so stay tuned!

How far in advance do you have to book an appointment?

The majority of our clients are walk-ins, but we recommend setting

Are there age restrictions at KuttingEdgeKidz?

We serve kids through 12 years old.

Why do you feel that the South Loop is a good neighborhood to raise a family?

We feel the South Loop is a wonderful neighborhood to raise a family. As long-time South Loop residents, we have seen the area change tremendously and for the better. We now have many more school options, more businesses (although we need more!), and a much stronger community push especially with the help of PDNA. We now have a community center, Women's Park and Garden on 18th/Indiana. We love the fact that the South Loop feels like a quiet enclave where families can live essentially in the middle of a world-class city. We are optimistic that as the area continues to prosper more retail and service establishments will set up shop.

What's your favorite thing about the South Loop?

We absolutely love that we are close to everything! We can walk to work in the Loop, the lake, Grant Park, Millennium Park, and museums. We can hop on a bus and get to one of the top art museums and shopping districts in the world. We can get on a train to get almost anywhere in the city. We are a couple of minutes from major expressways to take us further out. We are fortunate to live in the South Loop and should continue to support establishments in the area for these reasons.

So there you have it, go to KuttingEdgeKidz and get your kidz hair done right.

For more reviews check out yelp!

New to Bash on Wabash: DJ Day?

Bash on Wabash is just around the corner and we were intrigued to read that they've changed up the music format slightly for one of the days. If we're not mistaken, the past years events have had a range of band (mostly of the cover variety), but this we recently read in Time Out Chicago that Saturday (September 4th) of our neighborhood festival will feature a variety of DJs:

Celebrating its seventh year, the Bash on Wabash goes down over Labor Day weekend (Saturday Sept 4 and Sunday Sept 5) on Wabash between 13th and 14th streets, and this year’s line-up leans heavily on some of the city’s best deejays to provide a hipper-than-hip danceworthy soundtrack to complement the rock.

Amidst a barrage of corn-themed activities the dexterous duo Flosstradamus, mash-up kings Hood Internet, and reigning champs of local electro Midnight Conspiracy join hotly-tipped Florida emcee Dominique Young Unique and live electro trio Gemini Club for performances, and that’s just on Saturday.

Some of the other neighborhood fests have been attracting some relatively big names shows for these relatively low key parties, so it's good to see our neighborhood trying to step up its game. Although i'm not sure how DJ Saturday will go, it should be interesting to witness.

Here is Flosstradamus for those of you who are interested:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Check Out a Free Caribou Concert at Pritzker Pavilion Monday

We love live (and free) music, so were excited when a friend mentioned that Caribou was going to be playing a show at Pritzker Pavilion on Monday (7/12) from 6:30 - 9pm:
The popular series, Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays, co-curated by At Pluto LTD, returns to Millennium Park for a second summer, featuring an eclectic mix of music discoveries, cutting-edge indie rock, pop bands and rock veterans.

Daniel Snaith, aka Caribou, has been perfecting his psychedelic, electronic sound for over ten years. With his new album, Swim, expected to drop early this summer, Caribou is working overtime doing both a full European and American tour.

It should be fun, so go check it out if you're looking for something to do tomorrow. Here is one of his songs:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Make Dearborn a Pedestrian Street

Whenever we read city planning articles or posts we automatically try to think how that idea or theory could apply to the Sloop. Over the weekend we read a post from Blair Kamin at the Chicago Tribune about the possibilities of pedestrian streets in Chicago.

It is a popular attribute of urban life in many foreign (especially European) cities and something some cities in the US have begun to implement (most notably New York in Times Square and Harold Square). Kamin's post doesn't specifically call out any locations in the Sloop that would be prime candidates to convert to pedestrian streets, but in our opinion the stretch of Dearborn between Polk on the South and Harrison on the North would be perfect.

As of now it's a large one way street with stores, restaurants and bars lining both sides. Although the street is used, it's not a vital stretch for car/bus/taxi traffic in the city mostly because there are north/south streets in close proximity Dearborn (Federal on the West and Plymouth on the East). Let me know if you disagree but it seems like these two streets could handle the traffic that would be diverted if Dearborn was paved over.

Obviously this is us just talking, but it seems logical in our opinion. Wouldn't it be great to have a pedestrian street in the heart of the Sloop? It's already nice and pleasant on Dearborn, but this would really improve the street. Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Little Branch Cafe: Quiet, Pleasant and Good

It took us awhile to actually find out where the Little Branch Cafe was at (1251 S. Prairie), but we've always read about it and we're intrigued enough to repetitively seek it out. Honestly thought it's not the easiest place to find unless you live in one of the Museum Campus high rises. Anyway, the map above should clear up any confusion, so for those of you who want to find it...go there!

Anyway, we went for a dinner on a nice spring Friday night and weren't sure what type of experience was awaiting us. Was it going to be busy? closed? good? weird? You get the idea, we didn't know what to expect.

Upon entering the quiet and dimly lit cafe, we were greeted by a nice man who told us to sit wherever we wanted. The place was pretty much empty besides one other couple and we're pretty sure they were friends of the waiter. Regardless, the place was cozy and they had some good music on, so we were fine.

We quickly ordered some drinks. One of the drinks we had was called a "Liason" which consisted of vodka, cava and fresh strawberries. It was good, but nothing amazing. I personally ordered a beer and as expected that was cold and lovely (how can cold beer be bad?).

Since we were practically the only people in the place the service as you could imagine was excellent and quick. So again we ordered dinner quickly. We ordered the "Crispy Grilled Cheese" and the special which was some spicy shrimp dish with noodles (sort of an Asian style dish). The grilled cheese was very good according to the person who ate it and the special shrimp dish was excellent (although a little over priced for the size of the portion in my opinion). All in all the food was good and we will most likely will warant a return visit.

The cafe recently added the dinner menu/hours to the mix, so that could explain the lack of people inside but we imagine during breakfast and lunch the place is a little more lively and busy. Anyway, check out the cafe for dinner and let us know your thoughts on the place.

Do they have good breakfast and lunch items?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Free CTA Rides at Polk Red Line Station?

An interesting post from the CTA Tattler blog:
This note comes from Robert about what he saw at the unmanned Polk Street Red Line entrance. And don't get any ideas about trying this on your own.

"I noticed three early [thin] twenty-something yuppie females slipping through the space between the east wall and the vertical turnstile/gate. So that's 3 non-paying passengers within seconds using the CTA for free. There are no customer assistants there, and I didn't see any closed-circuit cameras there (although knowing Daley there very well could've been one or two there). I would like to see how many 'freebies' have made it thru that side of the station. I'm sure word has gotten around to people who work/go to school in that South Loop neighborhood. I sent an email to CTA about this oversight, they emailed me back that my message had been forwarded to the Red Line management team. We'll see what develops."

Get on it, CTA!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Don't Go Looking for Fireworks Today

Happy July 3rd, the day Chicago used to celebrate by setting off fireworks while most cities, neighborhoods, and suburbs waited for the actual holiday, July 4th.

Well this has changed for a variety of reasons and the annual fireworks will be held on July 4th at Navy Pier and locations south of the city and north of the city. In our opinion this is probably a good thing seeing how the past couple of years have seen SOOOOOOOOOOO many people converge on Grant Park and the surrounding areas.

The goal was to give people other options and hopefully keep the numbers a little lighter...we will see. Regardless, if you're looking to watch fireworks today you're not going to find them (unless you have your own).

Happy 4th of July and enjoy the fireworks tomorrow!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: Shining Light on RC

A skewed optical perspective makes it look like lights from the train tracks shine light on Roosevelt Collection:

(Hat Tip: MD!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jazz Legend Fred Anderson Passes Away

Chicago recently lost a Jazz legend and today we read a couple stories in the Chicago Journal talking about his legacy. For those unfamiliar with Anderson, he also ran the Velvet Lounge (67 E Cermak) in the neighborhood. With his passing it appears that the club's future in uncertain:

One of the themes that emerged at Tuesday’s wake was the city’s jazz community wants to keep the Velvet Lounge open and running.

AACM leader Nicole Mitchell’s message asked for “all of us here can do whatever it takes to keep the Velvet alive for us and for the next generation of musicians that need a place to learn.” But the club’s future isn’t clear. The Anderson family is asking that in lieu of flowers, well-wishers send donations to help the Velvet Lounge survive.

Stuart Mann, who booked a night at the club each week, said “there seems to be universal agreement that Fred wanted the club to continue. There may not be a lot of agreement beyond that.” Legal issues need to be ironed out, he said.

Mann asked that those wanting to see the Velvet remain open simply visit the club and support its operations and musicians.

“Now more than ever, we need people to come to the club,” he said. Short-term attendance, according to Mann, will help support the Velvet Lounge’s long-term future.