Sunday, October 31, 2010

Going Grocery Shopping at Dominick's on Roosevelt

The peeps at Dominick's recently reached out to us to look at a new coupon program they've recently launched called Just for U. For participating in the test, they gave us some gift cards (read at the bottom of the post to find out how you can get some). Ironically, one of our main Sloopin contributors loves coupons and enthusiastically agreed to test it out.

Anyway, here is a quick blurb they sent us about the program:
We have an exciting new promotion called Just for U that we are launching in Chicago and we want you to be among the first to try it out! Just for U enhances your Fresh Values Card rewards. It saves you additional money on products selected just for you based on your unique shopping history, allowing you to save on the items you want without having to sort through ads and clip paper coupons.
So with that in mind we embarked on a trip to their website (here) to try it out. Upon signing up we took a quick look around the site and sure enough our favorite things were discounted (which obviously was linked to our previous purchases on our Dominick's Fresh Values Card). We browsed, clicked on what we wanted, which in turn added the items to our card. Voila! We saved some dough. Pretty simple. We really don't have much more to say about the program.

Anyway, we live closer to Jewel on Wabash and Roosevelt, so that's usually our go to grocery store. However, it was fun to check out the Dominick's on Roosevelt and change up our grocery shopping routine. With that in mind, we thought we would provide some additional quick observations about differences (both positive and negative):
  • Parking was a breeze at Dominick's. It might feel a little more 'suburban' than the Jewel experience or even the Whole Foods across the street, but it's much easier to get parking at Dominick's.
  • The produce and meat area at Dominick's was pretty impressive. Not sure if it's that much better then Jewel, but we liked it!
  • The other traditional aisles at Dominick's seemed dingy, dark and older. They still had all the stuff we wanted, but it didn't seem as nice as Jewel in this section of the grocery store.
  • We bank with Chase and they have one, so that was convenient.
  • There was some drunk dude sleeping on a bench outside of the store, but hey you get that everywhere in the Sloop (and city for that matter).
  • Prices seemed comparable to Jewel, maybe a little cheaper, but pretty similar as far as we could tell.
So there you have it. Thanks to them for reaching out to us to give it a look. It's definitely an interesting concept and improvement on the coupon experience.

Finally, we do have some $25 gift cards left over. With that said, the first four people to buy a Sloopin t-shirt via eBay (link here) will get a $25 Dominick's gift card as well. What a deal! You buy a sweet Sloopin shirt for $21.90 and you get a $25 gift card...that means you come out on top (a positive $3.10).

(Hat Tip: Peeps at Dominick's)

White Stuff is Coming

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Something New Potentially Coming in on 9th Street?

A reader writes:
I was walking on 9th between Wabash and State and noticed there is something going on in the only video store space. It was the video store next to the tracks that later closed down and became an apartment? Well they were painting the walls and it looked like they were making some additions in there to revamp the commercial space? Let me know if you found out anything!

We searched the usual places on the interweb but couldn't find much info on this place. Again, do any readers know about this?

(Hat Tip: RT!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chicago Magazine Looks at the Columbian

A great little video from Chicago Magazine and some amazing views:

Our favorite line from the video isn't in regard to the building, but the comment about the South Loop:
"Here on the South end of Grant Park you can really see whats happened in the
South Loop over the past decade. This has turned into such an active

(Video from Chicago Magazine)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sponsored Post: Thanks One Last Time

Sponsored Post
One last shout out to Infinity Strategic Group for sponsoring Sloopin over the past month. As we've mentioned, go to their site and make an appointment.
Also, if you're business is interested in sponsoring or advertising on Sloopin please email us at

Why No Through Street?

One of our favorite things about Chicago and the South Loop is that it has a sensible and relatively comprehensible city street grid. It's pretty easy to get around the Sloop thanks to the numbered east-west streets among other things. However one thing that has always perplexed us is why some of the streets aren't through streets. We all know about Dearborn Park I and II, but there are some others that stick out in our mind.

Below is a picture facing West at the corner of Wabash and 14th street. There is a stop light at
State and 14th (which presumably still functions due to the condo parking garage at that corner) and there is a sidewalk that appears to be built for a through street going West to that light. But for some reason a parking lot and wall block this from happening. Does anyone know the reason for this? We would love to hear some theories.
We know we're not city planners, but sometimes it's fun to play one (if you're like me you loved the Sim City growing up). What other city planning improvements would you recommend for the Sloop?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Scrubby Piece of Land in Printers Row being Transformed?

A reader writes:
There's a little patch of scrubby land on Polk just south of Federal (on the west side of Dearborn Station) that is getting some sort of awesome transformation . . . any idea who's behind it?

We're not sure, but was wondering if any other readers have an idea.

(Hat Tip: JC!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Intrigued by Ole Hardwood

There has been a lot of discussion about the new Ole Hardwood restaurant (1315 S. Wabash) and yesterday a reader forwarded an intriguing piece from the Urban Daddy website:
Welcome to Ole Hardwood, a glitzy smokehouse opening tonight in the South Loop, ready to meet your oak-, apple-, cherry-, mesquite-, cedar- and/or hickory-smoked meat needs.Yes, there’s formality in the form of grand chandeliers and black tablecloths.

But it’s not so stuffy that you'll have to shy away from licking your fingers—or anyone else’s. But first let’s start with a drink.

Very interested and we're salivating just thinking about it. Also of interest are some great pictures of the recently remodeled inside if you click here.

(Hat Tip: SG!)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Interesting Event at Elephant Room Gallery this Sat

We've walked by the Elephant Room art Gallery at 704 S. Wabash many times, but have never been in. It looks interesting, but every time we've walked by it wasn't open. Regardless, this Saturday we got word that they're having an interesting event:
I wanted to reach out to you to let you know about a unique event we have happening this Saturday, 5-10pm. Our art exhibition is part of Chicago Artists Month featured program and we are having a live sketch event with the artists in which they will be doing live sketches immediately available for purchase. The exhibition is Common Ground and you can check out our website for more details.

Sounds interesting. Check it out if you're looking for something to do this Saturday.

Brand New Firestone Shop Takes Shape

Last we checked the Firestone at 1550 S. Wabash was being demolished and to be honest we weren't sure if it was coming back. Well that doesn't seem to be the case. Upon recently driving west on 16th street we realized the new Firestone store was taking shape (although hard to see look under the EL):
Glad to see this and best of luck to them!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Foreclosures Rock Chicago and South Loop

A reader recently posted a comment with a chilling real estate article in today's Tribune. The article looks at the entire market but specifically calls out the Sloop:
"The reason (the South Loop) is getting crushed is it's only the South Loop in a good market," Greco said. "In a bad market, it's no man's land. In a good market, people assume neighborhoods will be expanding. When the market crashes, it's like the Sycamore or Moline of Chicago."

Kelly Cirignani, a sales agent at Patrick Jeffrey Realty, is working with a first-time homebuyer who until recently was looking specifically at newer construction in the South Loop.The client settled on a unit and was ready to make a 50 percent down payment, until his lender said it would not approve a mortgage in the chosen building. Cirignani now is scouting properties in Old Town and Lincoln Park. "He doesn't want anything to do with South Loop," she said. "I warned him before it (happened). I guess we didn't realize how bad it was."

In our opinion it's not as dramatic or bad as this real estate agent has made it sound. Yes, some buildings in the Sloop aren't good places to buy/invest in for a variety of reasons, but whenever you broadly paint neighborhoods it doesn't seem to do justice to the actual dynamics on the ground.

Kanye Hits the Sloop

It appears the this past Tuesday (10/19), Kanye premiered a new movie he was involved with at the ICON theater at Roosevelt Collection:
Chicago fans are some of the most loyal around — not only to their sports teams, but to their musicians as well. Kanye West was greeted on Tuesday night with a warm, Windy City homecoming as more than 300 people, including media types, local artists and friends who supported him on his ride up, gathered at the ICON Theater in Chicago's South Loop for an advance look at his movie, "Runaway," which premieres on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on MTV and BET.

Good to see our movie theater getting some big names!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: 3 Foxes

Where are these guys? And better yet what is their significance?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Land Auctions Confirmed for the South Loop

The land bounded by Michigan and Wabash avenues and 13th and 14th streets had a rough go during the downturn. On the Wabash side were the sites of
GlasHaus and 1349 South Wabash, both proposed but neither built. On the Michigan side were these two sites: the old Cook County Domestic Violence Courthouse at 1340 S Michigan Ave and an adjoining parcel at 1330 S Michigan Ave, both planned for condos and, again, never built. These two properties will go up for auction this December, according to Crain’s.
Although this isn't surprising, it is interesting. Yes, much of this land has sat vacant and
undeveloped for sometime now, but if you will recall a recent intense fire also quickly brought down one of the buildings on a lot that is now up for sale.

The last thought we have on this is that we absolutely love the county courthouse building (although it was a domestic violence courthouse which is ironic that it would become a residential building) and was really hoping that this would have been developed into condos. It would have certainly been an interesting development and a unique building in the shadow of some unimpressive South Loop high-rises.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Look Inside at the New Chef Luciano's

If you're a reader of Sloopin, you know we're fans of Chef Luciano's and Chicken Gourmet (49 E. Cermak) mainly for the food but also because we love talking about the Sloop with the Chef! It's been awhile since I've visited the place and wanted to check on the recently renovated space and simply to say hi. Here are some quick and impromptu shots inside:
The modernization looks great and is definitely an improvement in our opinion. One of the biggest changes is that there are now tables within both restaurants so you can stay around and enjoy your food (which hasn't changed and still is seasoned amazingly)! The Chef also wanted me to let people know that it is a BYOB establishment and that you should bring your favorite bottle of wine next time you come down.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: Emanuel Comes to the Sloop

From our post a couple of weeks ago, Rahm's entourage of reporters wait outside of the Jewel to watch Emanuel as he kicks-off his "listening tour":

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Basketball Commercial at 18th and State Court

Apparently if you're shooting a basketball commercial in Chicago these days, it needs to be at the basketball court at Northeast corner of 18th and State (under the EL). We were randomly watching TV and saw this recent Adidas commercial featuring many athletes as well as Chicago Bulls stud Derek Rose. You might see something familiar at the :09 and :16 second marks:

For historical perspective, you might also remember a post we did in August of 2009 about Gatorade utilizing the same courts to shoot a Michael Jordan limited edition "G" bottle. Anyway, it's always surprising to us when we see random Shots around the Sloop on TV.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Curbed Chicago Looks at Terrazio

Terrazio (1935 S. Wabash) is one of the newest buildings to go up in the Sloop and a new website called Curbed Chicago, has a fun post comparing "renderings vs. reality". In the post they compare how the developer renderings compare to the actual buildings. Click here to read about what they found.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: Columbus Day Parade

(Hat Tip: MD!)

Ole Hardwood Coming to 1315 S Wabash?

Upon a recent trip to South Wabash we noticed something interesting happening at 1315 S. Wabash:
First off, something we never noticed was that there are fireplaces built into the facade of this space (look at the little black boxes under the windows). Although weird, it's not the only we noticed. More obvious was that there were some men working on replacing the awnings with some woodwork (see man on ladder).

Most of us know this restaurant space as place that couldn't sustain a business. Exposure Tapas didn't work, so then came Utopia, but that didn't last as well. As always, curious minds need to know what this meant and we went over to the men to ask what was coming. They told us a restaurant but said they "couldn't comment on the food type".

With that said, we spoke to a friend of Sloopin who led us to a Craigslist posting for open interviews. If you want a job click here, but of more interest to us here was some background on the new restaurant's concept:
Ole Hardwood is seeking experienced employees for our new restaurant in the South Loop of Chicago. We are a new concept, specializing in Texas-style cuisine in a gastropub style setting. Our menu will feature many styles of meat smoking, plank cooking, various rib flavors, and braised dishes. We use local fresh ingredients and strive for the utmost quality in our food, drinks, and service. Our restaurants are casual in nature with touches of fine dining, modern design and al fresco dining.
One of our favorite games to play about the Sloopin restaurant scene is "what type of restaurant does the Sloop need?" Although this wasn't on the list, it's definitely intriguing and something that seems unique. We thought it might be a chain, but according to some Google searches we couldn't find much, so it doesn't seem to be the case. Regardless, glad to see that something new is coming to this spot.

Although the space has had a rough go with previous tenants, we wish Old Hardwood good luck and look forward to the many styles of meat smoking. It's 6am in the morning and that's still appetizing to us!

(Hat Tip: RG!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Help Needed to Get Street Light Fixed

If you got a problem yo we'll solve it check out the hook while EW tries to resolve it:
My name is EW and I live on Financial Place between Polk and Harrison. The street lights have been out in front of my building (For the whole block between Polk and Harrison) for over a week, creating a very dark environment, ripe for crime. Within this week time span, a robbery and a car break-in have occurred. I called the Alderman's office (Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward) and 311 and have not received a response. I think that it is ridiculous that the street lights have been off so long and that nothing has been done to turn them back on. I'm an owner in this building, and it's not a good sign for prospective buyers to visit the building on this dark street. I'm emailing you because I don't know where else to turn, and I don't want to go another day where someone can be victimized by a crime that could have been prevented if we had the street lights on. Can you offer any suggestions on how to get assistance with this? I'm fed up! HELP!
In all seriousness feel free to email Alderman Fioretti's office ( to help get this issue resolved.

(Hat Tip: EW!)
(Lyric Lead-in: Vanilla Ice!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Coming to the Sloop: South Loop Vinyl Record Store?

We were super excited to get this recent email from a reader about a new project/store he was working on:

Read your blog regularly and wanted to give you the heads up on a project I'm working on. In the coming months I'll be opening a record store somewhere in the south loop. The store is going to be focusing on vinyl releases and contain an art gallery/community space.

We're also partnering with chicago-based hip-hop website for events and releases (though the store won't be focusing on specific genre). The project is still in its initial stages but as I'm sure you like to keep tabs on these ideas I though I'd drop you a line. You can find us here: on facebook and on twitter: @hplus_records.

Keep an eye out as we'll be doing vinyl give-aways and have future announcements quick about financing and exactly where the store will be located.

Best of luck on the project and glad to hear they will be call the Sloop home!

(Hat Tip: P!)
(Image from H+ Website)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Clark-N-Oak Animal Hospital Opening Location in the South Loop

A reader writes:
Looks like there's a new animal hospital opening up in the Sloop.
1601 S. State. Across the street from the new Columbia building. Here is the poster on the window.
For those who are not familiar here is a link to their website. It's always good to see new businesses moving into the Sloop, so glad to hear of this new place opening. Best of luck to them...

(Hat Tip: SY!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shots Around the Sloop: Firehouse

(Hat Tip: LH!)

Bears Bear Down and Are in First Place

Contrary to this poll, the Bears beat the Packers and are now amazingly in first place based on their win against the Panthers today! We're still not convinced that they're winning the Super Bowl, but the defense looks pretty good!

Thanks to this Weeks Sponsor: Infinity Strategic Group

Sponsored Post

Thanks again to this weeks Sloopin sponsor Infinity Strategic Group!

Infinity Strategic Group specializes in estate planning and is offering Sloopin readers a free consultation. If you're interested please click on this link to go to their site.
You will find the ad on the right side of the page for the rest of the month, so thanks to them and please call to setup an appointment!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Where o Where is My Cat?

A reader writes:
If any of your readers know someone who lost a black cat with a pink collar and bell, the poor thing's on Museum Campus and terrified as all hell. I tried catching it but would probably need a more concentrated effort to succeed (trap and food, or friends who can help me corral it). I've seen that same cat a week or two ago -- it looks young and I'm concerned it's not going to last long. I did report it to Chicago Animal Control, but maybe someone here knows what else to do?

If this does happen to be your cat, email me (or post a comment) and I'll tell you the exact location from tonight's sighting. If you want help catching it, I'm willing to give it a try.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Get Ready for a Busy & Beautiful Fall Weekend in the Sloop

Typically busy fall weekends in the Sloop revolve around the Bears, but that's not the case this weekend. Three events will take up most of our time this weekend:

First is the annual Chicago Country Music Festival which technically isn't in the Sloop, but is close enough to still go to. The free festival kicks off today (10/8) at the northern end of Grant Park. Clint Black headlines tonight and the pop turned country singer Jewel takes the Pritzker Pavilion stage on Saturday:

The second event is a friendly! Unless you're a soccer friend that previous sentence probably didn't make much sense, but all it means is that an international soccer exhibition game between the US and Poland will be taking place at Soldier Field. Although the World Cup just ended this past weekend and this game doesn't have any real meaning, it's always a fun scene in the neighborhood when soccer invades the UFO (aka Soldier Field). Last year you might remember the crazy scene as the US took on Honduras:

Finally the biggest event of the weekend (and for that matter the city) makes its way through various parts of the Sloop as the annual Chicago Marathon is back. It's always a fun and interesting sight to watch the thousands of spectators cheer on the runners as they make the final run up Michigan Avenue, a right turn on Roosevelt and a left on Columbus to finish this grueling competition.

Anyway, if you're around any of these days, come on's supposed to be a beautiful fall weekend, so enjoy the events taking place in our hood.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dead Man Decomposing

Yesterday we read a gross and unfortunate story in the Chicago Tribune about a man who died (months ago apparently) in the Sky55 parking garage:

Chicago police are investigating the death of a Tazewell County man whose badly
decomposed body was found in parking garage in the South Loop neighborhood.

Officer Daniel O'Brien of the Chicago Police News Affairs office told the Chicago Tribune that a maintenance worker found the body of the 53-year-old man Monday afternoon after smelling a strong odor coming from a 2002 Oldsmobile minivan.

O'Brien said the minivan was registered in East Peoria, but the dead man was believed to be from Morton. He said a security camera showed the minivan being driven into the garage on Aug. 18.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rahm Rolls into the Sloop to Kick off Listening Tour

Many South Loop residents were surprised yesterday when they went to our local L stop and saw a big scene. The reason, Rham Emanuel's listening tour for his "potential" mayoral bid kicked off in the Sloop.

There was a ton of press and random people following him around and here is what one Slooper wrote in:

Just a normal Monday walking to the L at Roosevelt and I noticed a lot of TV crews and police and I am hoping something good is happening at the Roosevelt stop – I see all of the “fuss” is over Rahm Emanuel. He was out and about bright and early in the South Loop and not down on the sidewalk but actually up on the platform shaking hands and talking with CTA commuters. It was certainly a nice sight, in my opinion.

Who knows how the race for Mayor will play out but in my view it sure looked like a lot of people were very happy to meet and shake hands with Rahm. As I waited for the train longer, many more TV crews came up the platform and there were several reporters asking the commuters questions. Seems like the race for Mayor will be
an interesting one….

Indeed. It's been awhile since the city had a wide open race for mayor and it should be interesting.

(Hat Tip: ND & AV!)
(Image from

Monday, October 4, 2010

Retail Rumors in the Sloop

Last week we posted about troubles at the Pita Corner and recently we received some more insight from a reader of the blog:
Long story short, the guy who built the condo tower it is in (along with one down the street - I don't remember the number) was opening the restaurant along with his real estate partner and a chef-partner they brought in just for that location. The chef partner left/got thrown out (not sure which one) and they were looking for a new partner.
We also heard that they are trying to get out of the partnership complete and rent the space out to someone else who would do whatever they want with the space. If you've peaked in you've probably noticed that it looks inside, so maybe something will happen eventually. Unfortunately it looks like nothing in the immediate future is going to happen with this space.

Although this isn't encouraging for the retail scene on Michigan, we were happy to have Donna from Donna's Cafe post a comment on a post last week:
It is Donna's Cafe and I plan to open at 6am and close at 10pm.(I have to sleep some time lol) And there will be wi-fi! Of course it's not a very large space but it will be comfortable. We are now under construction going into week 2. My architect and contractor say 6-8 weeks...sigh.

With the fall weather coming be ready for hot soup and cool jazz!
Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thanks to this Weeks Sponsor: Infinity Strategic Group

Sponsored Post

Thanks again to this weeks Sloopin sponsor Infinity Strategic Group!

Infinity Strategic Group specializes in estate planning and is offering Sloopin readers a free consultation. If you're interested please click on this link to go to their site.
You will find the ad on the right side of the page for the rest of the month, so thanks to them and please call to setup an appointment!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Who Wants Veggies?

We recently received two emails about a new fundraiser for the South Loop School:

South Loop Veggie Fundraiser: Bringing Local Veggies Closer to Home: FIRST PICK UP IS OCT 8TH! OPEN TO SOUTH LOOP FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!

South Loop School is now offering Growing Power’s Farm to City Market Basket Program. The Farm to City Market Basket Program (FCMB) provides an affordable and easy way to keep our community healthy with a diverse variety of fresh fruits and vegetables at an incredibly low cost. The program will run weekly starting with our first delivery on October 8th. $3 from each basket ordered will be donated to South Loop School.

We like veggies, so we hopefully can try it out. For more information check

(Tip: PF & RAF!)