Monday, January 31, 2011

Sloopin Retail Roundup

It's Monday, so in our opinion there is no better time to do a Sloopin retail roundup. It's been busy both negatively and positively, but since we like to try to keep things positive we will start with the good stuff.

New Restaurant Coming to Essex Inn
If you've ever been past the Essex Inn on South Michigan you've probably noticed that it usually is dead. The restaurant was called Savoy and appears to be closed (last we checked). Last week a close source for the blog emailed us with a Chicago Magazine post talking about a new restaurant coming to the hotel:
When the chef Paul Wildermuth died unexpectedly on November 13th at the age of 46, he was part of a team working to open a new restaurant in the South Loop called Tribute (Essex Inn, 800 S. Michigan Ave.; no phone yet). “He was the backbone of the project,” says Simon Lamb, one of Tribute’s partners. “Right in the midst, as the lease was being signed, and everything was getting worked out, Paul passed away. We took a hiatus and regrouped to decide whether to go forward with it. But now we are moving forward.” The menu will feature upscale American comfort food for breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner, with reasonable-size portions. The 199-seat restaurant will focus on local, sustainable, and organic, to match the Green Seal certification of the hotel.

Whatever comes in at this space will be a major improvement over Savoy.

Flavor 180
Back in December of last year we had a retail roundup and mentioned a project titled "Flavor 180" coming to 1511 S. State. At the time we couldn't find much on the internet and to this day we don't have much info. However, according to everyblock Flavor 180, Inc. has received a liquor license. Beyond that we don't know much. Anyone have any additional knowledge on this place?

1430 South Michigan
Very little information here, but we briefly saw and spoke to people checking in on the vacant retail space. They said they were the owners and that painters were working on it this past weekend. Not sure if this means anything is coming there, but we hope so.

Grace O'Malley's
A commenter last week said Grace O'Malley's would be closing. We tried to email Grace O'Malley's seeking information, but never heard back. According to the commenter, it would be closing in early February. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Avid readers might remember a post we had in November that talked about a Metromix article that said Mainstay Hospitality (owners of Grace O'Malley's, Chicago Firehouse, Wabash Tap) would be opening a new project. Is this a new concept to take over for Grace O'Malley's? Or is it a new location? We will see.

Kutting Edge Kidz
We got an email from a reader saying that this salon for kids closed on Saturday (1/29). Through the blog we actually had the opportunity to meet one of the owners and wish them the best of luck moving forward. The salon was at 1900 S state which was at the corner of State and Archer.

Does anyone else have any new retail info? Seems like there has been a lot of movement with new places coming and old places leaving.

(Hat tip: SoloMotorRow, JF, ND, ZS!)


Anonymous said...

What a depressing "round up."

Closings out-pacing openings.

Nothing at all to be excited about.

Anonymous said...

I hear a coffee shop is opening at 1550 S. State.

I wonder when they will open.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm... nuff said!

MarkChicago said...

Why is the Grace O'Malley's situation such a mystery?

On that topic, I found it odd that they were closed on a Friday afternoon around 3pm last week and planned to open up around 4-5pm. It doesn't seem like any bar would close up shop intermittently throughout the day.

I had once heard they were planning to remodel and open the space up. That dining room is like a cave.

Anonymous said...

Grace O'Malleys isn't closing, they just got a new sign... It shouldn't be hard to figure this out, somebody ask Matt O'Malley or the employees there.

Anonymous said...

If they're remodeling then I hope they go back to their old ways, when it used to be good. Bring back the free cheese and crackers! :)

Anonymous said...

Places are struggling all over the city...least we forget we are getting a trader joes, a new restaurant and a new park around 16th and wabash! I will firmly believe we are on our way up! Power of positive thinking!!

Matt said...

I just thought it was worth noting since, as usual, someone just had to point out the negative, that the retail space on state between 8th and 9th is almost completely filled up and many of those businesses are doing very well. LA boxing and xsport are constantly filled. Jimmy greens, despite it's mediocre food, is packed for most sporting events and even has a decent crowd on weeknights and Lou malnati's is expanding. Even the physicians immediate care location seems to have a decent number of people inside most nights.... I guess that's a good thing...

In the retail world, and especially in the restaurant and bar businesses, there will always be openings and closings and that's part of the development of the neighborhood. The thing that would worry me is if these businesses were leaving and nothing else was moving in. Overpriced and poorly run establishments will lose business to better places and that is a good thing for our neighborhood. I have doubts about whether or not the Chinese buffet on state will last, but people saw enough opportunity here to give it a try. In a developing neighborhood, people are going to try new concepts and it is up to us to support the ones that we want to stick around. If we don't like them enough, it gives an opportunity for another business to give their idea a try. Enjoy this process

Anonymous said...

It seems like something is going on with Grace O'Malley's... .if you go to their website (, there aren't any links to a menu, etc. Also, if you go to the Mainstay Hospitality website, they don't list Grace O'Malley's... (

Anonymous said...

I just walked by there a few minutes ago and they had a sign saying they were closed.

Anonymous said...

Is there something going on at 1400 S Michigan? One of the retail spaces had walls up, which I think weren't there before and the marketing signs on the front windows of this space were taken down.

Kirsten said...

They're building at the corner of Archer and Dearborn...the permit says it's for a Pilates studio.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous poster who said "Grace O'Malleys isn't closing, they just got a new sign..."

Sorry, you are wrong.

I live nearby and there is a sign on the front door today saying something like "thank you for your years of patronage, grace omallays is closed."

RIP Grace Omalleys.

But, the good news is they have indicated on the sign that something new is on the way.

Dan Wiggins said...

Grace O'Malley's is closed now for a new concept according to the signage on the door.

south loop neighbors rule said...

All the retail issues point out a few things like:

"The Rent is too Damn High" - would be great to see a study with price comparison for leases.

The developer felating groups like gsla who harp all day that you build high rises to achieve density. What a load of turd sandwich. How about we just start with quality development first, and the rest will take care of itself. Most of these 'high rises' have no commercial compliment and have become isolated fortresses from both using local commercial businesses, and providing unique ones.