Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expansion at Existing South Loop Restaurants

Yes, it's fun to get excited about new places opening up in the Sloop (see post yesterday), but let's not forget about some of the other restaurants in the area. Two relatively recent, but at this point well established, South Loop businesses have recently expanded the amount of people who can eat at their restaurants:

Flo & Santos (1310 S. Wabash)
The popular Polish/Italian restaurant Flo & Santos has just added outdoor seating:
This is great news because this place always seems to be busy. This should accommodate the large crowds and also offers to the street scene on South Wabash.

Lou Malnati's South Loop (805 S. Wabash)
We've know for sometime that Lou's was expanding into the vacant retail space just south of their current space on South State street, but it appears that this area is finally complete. Again, this is good news because this location is always packed as well.

Do we really love pizza that much in the Sloop? Guess so...

Other Restaurant Tidbits:
On a different note, we posted yesterday about Tribute potentially opening up this weekend. Well we heard from the PR people for Tribute and that doesn't appear to be the case. They are close, but no official opening date has been announced yet. Stay tuned though, they will give us the update once they have something official.

It also looks and sounds like the Scout is progressing. But again, no official update there either.

Finally, we read that Waffles also has a slight delay. They're now shooting for July 13th.

These places are still opening as far as we know, just the typical hurdles to overcome when launching a restaurant in Chicago.

(Hat tip: Blast!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tribute to Open this Weekend?

Tribute, the new restaurant with contemporary American fare at the Essex Inn hotel (800 S. Michigan), was aiming to open on June 21st. Well that didn't happen...

However, we just got word from a friend of the blog that works with restaurants around the city let us know that Tribute is set to open this weekend. The friend wasn't definitive, but said that's what he heard.

It seems like everything is ready to go, so hopefully opening night is just around the corner.

Can't wait to finally try this place!

(Hat tip: Man with the Glove!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Sign That Retail is Coming to CTA Roosevelt Stop?

Is it a sign that retail is coming since the "for lease" sign at the Roosevelt CTA entrance has come down?
Hopefully...but we're not sure. According to an article in the Tribune back in April, it appears that there has been an emphasis on updating and improving the retail space within CTA stations. There wasn't a specific mention about the Roosevelt stop, but the sign went up just after this article.

Anyway, we will wait and see what happens with this space. We assume it would be a popular spot given the amount of traffic that passes through on a constant basis.

Assuming we had free choice, what would you like to see come to this space?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

If You Got $2.6 Million, We Got the Place For You

We love looking at real estate in the Sloop and this penthouse at 888 S. Michigan takes the cake in our book as the coolest property we've seen. The best part, your own private terrace overlooking the beauty that is Chicago:
(Image from Curbed Chicago!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Brewery and Political Attention Coming to Motor Row Entertainment District

If you're like us, there is something about the area around Cermak that is intriguing. We can't put our finger on it, but we love it. Maybe it's the old industrial buildings, maybe it's the notorious history (see old al capone stories) or maybe it's the lack of residential identity...whatever it is, we like it.

However, besides looking around or heading to Chinatown, there aren't many reasons to go south to Cermak (obviously there are some restaurants and businesses, but there definitely isn't a critical mass).

This area is also home to the historic Motor Row district, which back in the early 1900s was were many peeps in the city came to shop for cars (for more info check wikipedia here). If you go down Michigan Avenue south of Cermak you can see some of the old buildings with huge glass windows that use to showcase the cars. Obviously this isn't the case anymore, but in the recent years there was a push to turn this area into a "entertainment district".

What does this mean, well we're not exactly sure. We presume it's means special zoning to encourage a certain type of business/building, but it's not clear to us. Although this has been the talk of the neighborhood for awhile, not much progress has been made (probably due to the recession and housing buble).

However, the Chicago Journal recently had some stories about Alderman Fioretti's intentions to focus on this district again:

On South Michigan Avenue, high rises rule. Towering glass and steel monoliths line the street from downtown all the way to Cermak Road.

But crossing Cermak, the streetscape suddenly changes. All of a sudden, every building is low-slung, and big pane glass windows dominate, framed by ornate moldings.Welcome to Motor Row.

Built during the auto industry's boom years in the early 20th century, car dealerships lined the three blocks from Cermak to the Stevenson Expressway. Today, the neighborhood is quiet and largely residential, with a few businesses.

Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) aims to change that, turning the strip into a de facto entertainment district on the edge of the South Loop. To get it done, he's pitching a change in city council that would turn the zoning from a mixed-use district to a downtown service district.

Sounds good to us and hopefully he can get some momentum going. Interestingly enough, the Chicago Journal had another article on the topic yesterday saying a brewery is planning on opening up shop in Motor Row:

The Near South Side’s first microbrewery could be on the way, one of the first major businesses moving in as part of the push to revive Motor Row on South Michigan Avenue.

Bob Lassandrello of Hinsdale, a trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, is leading the charge to bring in the brewery. He bought the two buildings at 2335 and 2337 S. Michigan Ave. with a group of other investors right after the real estate market crash, and he’s hoping to finally make something of the space.

This would be amazing news for the area and truly bring more attention and presumably more pedestrian traffic to the stretch. Our only concern is that the initial plans for the brewery are to only produce beer and not have a bar/food. Not sure it would be much of a destination if you can only see the machines and taste the beer, but it's progress nonetheless. The bar/food might be the second phase according to the article, we hope it's included in the first.

Regardless, it would be great to see an anchor business come to this stretch and would definitely help the area develop. It's also refreshing to hear that the alderman's sights are focused on this area again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New CDOT Commissioner is Thinking Big...Oh and Lives in the Sloop

Last week Gabe Klein, the new Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner that Rahm brought in from Washington DC, got a lot of positive pub. He has an interesting background (VP of Zipcar) and appears to be a huge advocate for alternative forms of transportation (especially biking). Hopefully this fresh thinking provides some innovative solutions to our transportation woes.

However, the thing that we got a kick out of was that he lives in the Sloop and rides his bike to work:
What’s your favorite part of cycling to work?
It’s such a great way to see the city. It's a positive, and up-beat way to get to work, you're able to get some air. The best thing about it though is how fast it is here in Chicago… I live in the South Loop, and its 35 minutes to walk, 30 minutes walking and taking the bus… and just 8 minutes by bike.

The full transcript of his interview is on and is a good read. Hopefully his experience biking in the Sloop opens his eyes to some new improvements in the neighborhood and the city.

(Image from

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Woman Hit at 13th and Wabash?

A reader writes:


I am not sure how many warnings are needed but I think a very unfortunate event happened this morning (Monday, 6/20) at the terrible intersection of 13th and Wabash. I was walking to work today at roughly 7:20 am and I saw a taxi-van and a woman being put on a stretcher and into an ambulance. I did not see the accident happen but judging by the scene and no damage to the taxi-van, it appeared the woman had been hit by the taxi. I think as a community we need to all write our alderman and ask for changes at that intersection, whatever those changes may be....the more we request, the more it is brought to their attention. I am aware with the construction at that intersection, things are even worse now but regardless it is very dangerous and I am sure this event could have been avoided!
About a month ago we had a post about this intersection and understandably most people also have noticed the problems here. There is some construction going on at Wabash so the area is even more dangerous.

Anyway, keep your head up when driving or walking in this area.

(Hat tip: NS!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Urban Pantry Coming to 730 S. Clark

A reader writes:

Hi there,

I just noticed a construction permit at burnham pointe, north of the dry cleaners. It's a convenience store named "European pantry" if I recall correctly, or something of that sort. Does anybody know more?
We went by and snapped a couple quick pictures this weekend and didn't see anything about a European pantry but noticed that the public notice said "Urban Pantry":

Does anyone know anything about this place?

(Hat tip: JE!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pita Heaven Opens First and So Far So Good...

Not surprising that the poll reflects the first business to open (since it opened and you were still allowed to vote). But regardless, Pita Heaven opened first.

So far we've heard mostly positive feedback and Yelp reviews seem to confirm that (at least for now). A reader recently snapped a shot and sent us the following email:

Pita Heaven is open, I ate there yesterday. I had the pastichio and the oven potatoes, very good.

Good luck to them and looking forward to officially trying me some Pita Heaven.

And also looking forward to the other businesses (and some other new ones) opening soon as well!

(Hat tip: DK!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Roosevelt Collection Buyer Bullish on the South Loop

On Monday we had a post about Roosevelt Collection's new owners (which includes Mr. Magic Johnson) and some of their plans for the development. Yesterday we read a random article on real estate website,, following-up on the story.

Of interest to some might be the image of the new courtyard that would replace the buildings in the middle of Roosevelt Collection (image on the right).

The other thing we found interesting/encouraging was the bullish stance the new owners have on the South Loop and this property:

Rich Holly, managing director at Canyon (which is the new owner), tells that he isn’t worried about purchasing a mostly vacant retail property. The venture said it believes it can secure a mix of clothing, home furnishings and electronics retailers, as well as enhanced restaurant opportunities. “We see great potential in the South Loop market, and fundamentals continue to improve in Chicago overall,” he says. “Our investors like urban areas like this where there is an opportunity to create vibrant retail. We believe this area is underserved.”
Although it's not surprising to hear this from a company that just invested $170 million in a South Loop building, it is good to here a positive spin. It seems like the investors have had a lot of success, so hopefully this is a good sign.

Stay tuned...

(image from:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Waffles Aiming to Open on June 29th

More and more information is starting to come out about Waffles, the new breakfast/lunch spot coming to 1400 S. Michigan. And the more we hear, the more we like (including what we presume is a hanging W logo in the picture on the right).

The blog Eater Chicago has a great write-up with a ton of interesting information:

The good news keeps on rolling in for the South Loop. On Monday, Pita Heaven officially opened its doors and now news comes that Waffles will open just a few blocks south on Michigan Avenue.

The restaurant, from current Japonais manager Alex Hernandez, is aiming to open June 29 and will bring new breakfast and lunch offerings to the area. As the name suggests, the main focus here will be on waffles, with two varieties of Belgian waffles: Liege and Brussels.

Hernandez explained that Liege waffles, created in the 18th century, are the more common type of waffle found in Belgium. It's a richer, denser and sweeter variety that incorporates bits of pearl sugar that caramelize on the waffle's exterior when baked. Brussels waffles, on the other hand, tend to be lighter and thicker with larger pockets and rectangular sides. All waffles at Waffles can be served with blackberry or fig compote, strawberry or rhubarb; and fresh bananas and hazelnut chocolate spread.

We're not huge waffle fans, but even this sounds super appetizing to us. The Eater Chicago story has a lot of other interesting things such as a good description of the space (it has 34 foot ceilings), will have a bar and a private room for events/meetings.

Best of all, it sounds like they're bringing in some serious talent (mostly from Japonais). They're aiming to open on June 29th according to the article, but we all know that these dates seem to get "delayed" usually.

Regardless, glad to hear more about this place and can't wait to see it open.

(Hat tip: TNCP!)
(Image from Eater Chicago)

Artist Group is Your Source For Creative Expression

A reader writes:


We have a little artist group going on and we would like to invite more community members to join. I am attaching our flyer and hope that you can post it on the blog. It is free!


Since the flyer doesn't translate well to our format we posted it below:
Do you love making art but don’t have the time or space? Has your hectic life drained you of creative energy?

We have created an artist group that is intended to offer support and inspiration in a lovely workspace. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month from 8-10pm at The Historic Keith House 1900 S. Prairie Ave. We have room for 30 artists.

You don’t need to call yourself an artist in order to join. From pencil to laptops, all mediums are welcomed! We use the time to work, share and relax.

For more information contact Sheli Hadari
- or Marcy Baim
- (312)-907-7907

Sounds like a good time to us.

(Hat tip: SH!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chinatowns Summer Fair: Not Your Usual Neighborhood Fest

It's that time of year and chances are there is some neighborhood fest going on if you're in the mood for that. This past weekend saw that annual Blues fest roll into Grant Park. We didn't spend much time there, but did stroll through. It looked like people were enjoying themselves judging by the amount of dancing on Columbus.

The weekend before was the annual Printers Row Lit Fest.

Recently we read a Tribune article about ten unique neighborhood festivals and it talked about Chinatown's Summer Fair:

Chinatown Summer Fair (July 17). I’ve never been before, but as a newly branded meat eater, I’m psyched to get my hands on whatever’s being offered in the foreground of the annual Lion Dance.

We did a quick youtube search for Chicago Chinatown Lion Dance and stumbled on this:

We've updated our "events in the Sloop" calendar with this one and hopefully we can make it on Sunday, July 17th. Here is the link if you need more info.

Happy festing!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Can Magic Johnson Deliver Retail to Roosevelt Collection?

Chicago Daily Real Estate had an article looking at the recent sale of Roosevelt Collection to a partnership between Chicago-based McCaffery Interests Inc. and a group including former NBA star Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

We've chronicled some of the issues at Roosevelt Collection in the past and this story doesn't really add any new news about the problems facing the development (i.e. - a ton of vacant retail). However, one interesting tidbit at the end of the story talks about one step the new owner is going to make to hopefully improve the setting:

To improve the project, the developers plan to raze retail buildings in a median at the center of the project, converting the space into a public plaza with landscaping, water features and children's play areas.

“In its present condition, it's not very inviting,” Mr. McCaffery says. “It's not very pedestrian-oriented and it doesn't strike you as a place to quote-unquote gather. If we can do things that make it more of a place to gather, there is a market for that down there.”

It's an interesting idea and if it helps get businesses into the vacant retail we're all for it, however it might be short sighted if you ask us. We were intrigued by the buildings in the middle and thought it added a unique experience to the shopping experience. However, it's hard to complain about a developer removing concrete and replacing it with green space. The more the merrier.

On a personal note, we recently went to a movie at Icon Theaters and the place was absolutely packed. It's hard to believe that there aren't businesses who would want to capitalize on this traffic. Now that Magic is a partner, maybe he can deliver some businesses like he used to deliver the rock...Showtime:

(Hat tip: SoloMotorRow!)

2020 Chicago Olympics? Doubtful, but Door Remains Open

A story from the Tribute last week revisits the potential for a US 2020 bid for the summer olympics and of course Chicago is brought up:

Now that the IOC has awarded NBC the rights to four more Olympics -- 2014
through 2020 -- for the princely sum mentioned above ($4.38 Billion), there is the matter of where the 2018 Winter Games and 2020 Summer Games will be.

Next month, the IOC will pick the 2018 Winter host from candidates Munich, Germany; Pyeongchang, South Korea; and Annecy France.

Countries have until Sept. 1 -- less than three months from now -- to submit a bid city application for the 2020 Summer Games. So far, Rome is the only official applicant, with Tokyo expressing strong interest.

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun told me Tuesday by telephone from Switzerland the first matter of business between the USOC and IOC is resolving the longstanding dispute over the shares of U.S. television rights (12.75 percent) and the IOC's global sponsorship program (20 percent) that the U.S. currently receives. There is tremendous pressure on the USOC to take a smaller cut.

But Blackmun did not rule out a 2020 bid and said he had talked informally to people in a few cities, including Chicago 2016 bid chief Patrick Ryan, about such a possibility.

The thinking is that the IOC would throw a bone to NBC and give them a US based games (since the amount of money NBC would make on that would be higher).

So will Chicago throw it's hat in the ring again? We can't imagine this happening. Would Rahm really want to put his new political capital on the line so soon after taking office? It seems like our city has bigger issues and to be embarrassed again internationally seems unlikely.

Then again, the main advocate for the games - private resident Mr. Rich Daley - has some extra time on his hands these days. Maybe this could become his new pet project?


(Hat tip: SoloMotorRow!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Old, Michigan Ave. Building with Potential Shows Signs of Life

A reader writes:

A building across the street from me that has sat uninhabited since I moved here three years ago is showing signs of life. Have you heard any rumblings? It sits just north of a parking lot at the corner of Michigan and Cullerton, east side of the street. It is a beautiful old building that is full of potential.
We've thought the same thing, but unfortunately haven't heard anything about it. Here is a picture we grabbed from Google Maps street views. Last we saw it was boarded up:
And here is a recent shot from Saturday with construction scaffolding up:
Does anyone have the skinny on this?

(Hat tip: JR!)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

People Think Jewel Could Suffer When Trader Joe's Opens

Why are Casinos Ramping Up Advertising in the Sloop?

A reader writes:

Hi Sloopin -
I was driving home yesterday evening and was pretty surprised to see this huge Horseshoe Casino ad on the southeast corner of 18th and Canal. It looks like they are showing their nervousness about the potential casino in Chicago and are ramping up their advertising in the Sloop!

While we think the existing casinos are definitely nervous about a Chicago casino, we doubt this is in relation to that. Our guess is that they're simply trying to target people in Chinatown. But who knows...

(hat tip: LC!)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Retail Rising on South Michigan

It was an encouraging Friday evening for residents strolling down South Michigan ave.

If you were like us, after a long week of work you were excited to see lights on and a line out the door at Pita Heaven (1250 S. Michigan). While they're not officially open (they said they're shooting for next week), they had a tasting party for residents. From comments on our post from earlier in the week and our own tastes, people should be encouraged.

We also got word from readers that a new sign appeared on the window of one of the Marquee retail spaces (1464 S. Michigan Ave.):
This might be the most encouraging sign we've seen in a long time. A (presumably nice) consignment store would bring a completely new dynamic to this stretch. Yes, restaurants are good and doctors offices are essential, but in our opinion we need some additional shopping options. It's also encouraging to see life in this retail complex. It has a ton of space and it's good to see someone finally moving in.

Which brings us to the next sign one of our readers called out at 1400 S. Michigan:
Cute name for a breakfast/brunch/lunch place. We've posted about this place before, but what was most interesting with the sign was that it appears that Waffles has some association with Japonais (the trendy and shi shi Japanesse restaurant in River North). If you look at the bottom sign, it says send resume to

Although we don't expect Waffles to be a scene like Japonais, it's encouraging to see that a highly successful restaurant is associated with this project. Oprah is a big Japonais fan, maybe she will now become a Waffles fan?

There has been a lot of haters, showering negativity on the South Loop retail scene lately, but it appears to have some sustained and positive momentum. Let's not forget about The Scout, Tribute, Sanctuary, Overflow Coffee and Trader Joe's also.

It's been a good run. Hopefully all these places open and hopefully residents flock...that is assuming they have a good product!

(Hat tip: VK!)

Shots Around the Sloop: Storm

A amazing storm pic from from a reader:
Chicago Lightning Strike

Another from a readers balcony on the night of 6/8:

(Hat tip: TC & TR!)

Friday, June 10, 2011

TIF Dollars Requested for South Loop Indoor Skate Park

About a month ago, Mayor Daley presided over his last city council meeting and surprisingly proposed that an indoor, 24 hour skate park should be built at 1600 S. Clark. At the time, funding was TBD, but TIF funds were rumored to be tied to this project.

Fast forward to this week and that rumor appears to be true based on a story we read in the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday:

A South Side land giveaway that would pave the way for Chicago’s first-ever indoor, all-night skateboard park sailed through a City Council committee Monday, but it will be built only if Mayor Rahm Emanuel authorizes $2 million in tax-increment-financing.

According to the article Emanuel has promised to "rein in TIF spending". Regardless, this isn't a done deal:

“This is a cool project. I just told Danny [Solis, whose 25th Ward includes the project] that I want him to buy me a new pair of roller skates so I can practice,” said Committee Chairman Ray Suarez (31st).

Solis promised community meetings before the TIF subsidy is approved. But, he called the skate park a wonderful addition to “almost adjacent” — and soon to be expanding — Ping Tom Park.

“This skate park will just add to what will hopefully be one of the premier parks in Chicago. I look forward to having this park be one of the jewels of the city,” Solis said.
Still, Solis acknowledged that “there is some concern from residents — not just in my ward, but other wards” about the indoor skate park that will allow skateboarders to blow off steam day or night.

“This is simply an acquisition. There will be a number of community meetings to allow input and refine how we put this park together,” he said.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chicago in a Flash Mob Frenzy

If you've been watching or reading the news lately, you can't help but notice all the buzz about the "Flash Mob" incidents in the Gold Coast and near north neighborhoods (and other places around the city as well). These are horrible things and everyone needs to be cautious.

Interestingly enough, Mayor Emanuel and new police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have criticized the media for their reporting on the subject:
McCarthy cautioned reporters about characterizing crimes correctly, pointing to the differences between shoplifting, robbery and criminal mischief. And the mayor suggested journalists be more judicious in using the term "flash mob."

"We have to be sensitive to what it conjures up," Emanuel said. But the administration has played a role in creating the ongoing frenzy. Authorities slapped a mob action charge on some of the youths arrested in the attacks. And McCarthy has pushed "flash mob" into the Chicago crime vernacular since he arrived in May.

This is all strange to us, because when we initially heard flash mob we immediately thought about stunts like this:

Ironically, we just had a post where we questioned whether or not a flash mob descended on the Printer's Row lit fest (and not the violent type that has been in the news lately). Here was the video from that:

According to Wikipedia, the term Flash Mob was coined in NYC in 2003. The only reference to violence around flash mobs occurred in Phily back in 2009 and 2010.

Not to cause any panic, but a reader wrote this to us:
You should cover some of the mob attacks. One just happened around 1300 Roosevelt. Close to the sloop. I think the more attention/awareness the better.

Regardless, it doesn't matter what you call these things. Be careful when you're out and about. Hopefully this doesn't prevent you from enjoying summer in the Sloop and Chicago.

(Hat tip: PF!)

Pita Heaven Appears to be Close to Opening

We've received some comments asking about Pita Heaven (1250 S. Michigan) and judging by the work inside it appears they're inching closer to opening. Below you will find two pictures we snapped through the windows (now that the brown paper is off of the windows):

It's impossible to read the menu in the picture above and close to impossible if you're standing outside, but luckily we found that Pita Heaven has a website that's live. As one commenter mentioned, the menu looks interesting but it's surprising that there is no falafel listed. This is a Mediterranean place, right?

We also appreciated the logo and brand feel they're going for. Obviously this doesn't mean the food is going to be good, but we can appreciate a cute concept and something with character (based on the logo we some potential):
We haven't heard anything about an official opening date, but if you know please post. We will keep our eyes open and will let you know if we see anything.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Parking Wars at 13th and Michigan

A furious reader seeks the help of the Sloopin readers:

Hey Sloopin!

First let me say that my S Loop friends and I are addicted to your site. SO, thank you and keep up the good work! Secondly, after much complaining to these same friends regarding an issue I have near my condo they said "Tell Sloopin"!

I believe that other people have discussed or commented about that restaurant, Acappella. This is some what related to that topic because I believe the owner is responsible for my parking wars headache. There are 3 cars parked on 13th and Michigan ( yellow jeep, subaru, crappy little pick-up) that have been parked there since last summer. YES LAST SUMMER, They never move their cars and when the owner needs to actual drive it, they move the other cars around so no one could get their secured spot. I'm highly annoyed.

In fact one of the vehicles has a homemade sign on the dash that says "Official Chicago Police Business". I think these people are unethical and clearly taking advantage. Even during street cleaning they do not get ticketed or move their vehicles.The one time I actually ran into this Chicago Cop, he told me he wasn't doing anything wrong and called me something not so nice. I'm attaching some pics, in the hopes that you will publish them on your site. I would like Fioretti to do something about this(and have written a letter). Maybe if enough people can bring attention to this "unofficial" business something can be done.

Thanks Sloopin!
Devoted S Looper without parking

We've received complaints about this before, but obviously nothing has happened. So if you think this is a problem please email the alderman ( and hopefully something can be done. Parking is already an issue in this neighborhood and people abusing the system doesn't make it any better.

(Hat tip: N!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sad Story Centered Around New South Loop Restaurant

We've chronicled some of the highs and lows of Tribute, the new restaurant that is scheduled to open later this month at the Essex Inn (800 S. Michigan).

Much of the initial attention centered around the young and eccentric executive chef Brandon Baltzley. A couple of weeks ago news came out that Baltzley and the restaurant management severed ties and it came out that it was due to Baltzley relapse into drugs.

Today we read a chilling article in the Chicago Tribune detailing an all to common occurrence in the restaurant industry:

A week earlier, Baltzley, 26, was the head chef at Tribute, an ambitious, 170-seat restaurant set to open in the Essex Inn in the South Loop. He spent months developing his menu, crafting a document to tell the world: This is who I am. Instead, on this morning in late May, he will check himself into a drug rehabilitation program on the West Side.

It's a disturbing, but well crafted article about the pressures of the industry and although it doesn't have much to do with the Sloop (besides the Tribute connection), it's an interesting read.

As we've stated before, it appears Batlzley had some major talent. Hopefully he gets the help he needs and gets another chance.

A Look Back at the 2011 Printers Row Lit Fest

It's been awhile since we went to the Printers Row Lit Fest, but we were in town this weekend so made plans with some friends to check it out. We waited until Sunday afternoon and started our day out at Custom House (500 S. Dearborn) for their Lit Fest special which consisted of a $5 burger ($3 extra for fries). The restaurant was relatively busy which wasn't surprising given the amount of people in the neighborhood. However, we didn't have any problems getting at table and the food was solid (honestly you can't beat that price for a good burger).

After a late lunch we wandered down Dearborn and ran in to the large crowd. Nothing unmanageable, but the place was definitely hopping. As you would guess, there were books everywhere, with every genre represented. Surprisingly it seemed like there were more maps and prints than we remembered in the past.

We didn't really pay much attention to the ancillary entertainment venues, but luckily a reader sent us a video from high above in the Transportation building. The video is from Saturday and it looks to be the 12:15 p.m. showing of the Teen Repertory Company Ensemble members performing a selection of songs:

If we didn't know any better we would have thought this was a flash mob, but looking at the schedule it appears it wasn't.

Anyway, the 2011 Printers Row Lit Fest is over and it appears it was a success. It was a nice weekend weather wise and a good time was had.

It really is a unique festival and we're glad to have it in the Sloop.

(Hat tip: TR!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Burger Point is the New Joint at Corner of State & Archer

A reader writes:

Thought this might be of interest to the readers. Took this picture this morning while walking by. It's the corner building at State and Archer (1900 S. State) that used to house the short-lived Kutting Edge Kidz haircut place.

We did some internet searching, but couldn't find much about this place. Good to see more stuff coming to the South end of the Sloop.

Update: Thanks to a commenter, the facebook page and website have been found.

(Hat tip: JC!)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Is This One of the South Loops Falcons?

On Tuesday we had a post about Sloopy, a Peregrine Falcon that was named after the blog.

This prompted a reader to send an email and picture he captured this past winter:

Hey Sloopy,

I know very little about birds, but found this little guy sitting on my railing back in February. Could this be one of the falcons? Sorry for the poor quality camera phone pic.

(Hat tip: MarkChicago!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Good Review for Chutney Joe's

We've covered Chutney Joe's before, the Indian Diner at 511 S. State street, but yesterday read another review this time from the Chicago Reader:

Chutney Joe's has a good backstory--according to its Web site, co-owner Vijay Puniani was thrown in a New Delhi hoosegow in the 70s for refusing to bribe inspectors to keep his restaurant open, prompting his emigration to the States, and eventually the opening of this new fast-food "Indian diner" in the South Loop. But if the concept sounds prosaic--and the posted definitions of ayurvedic dieting and instructions for eating naan seem unnecessarily hand-holding--Puniani and son should be given credit for not dumbing down the food for potentially timid Loop lunchgoers.

First off, we didn't know what a hoosegow was and now we do (a jail). Second, glad it means he ended up opening a spot in the Sloop!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tribute Aiming to Open June 21st; Releases Menu

The blog Eater Chicago had a informative post about Tribute, the new restaurant opening at 800 S. Michigan Ave. within the Essex Hotel. We've covered the progress of this restaurant closely and are glad to hear they have a specific date they're aiming to open on...June 21st.

There was some concern around the neighborhood when news came out that executive chef Brandon Baltzley was no longer working on the project. Regardless, it's good to hear that this is moving forward.

Beyond the opening date, the Eater Chicago post also shares a link to a menu (albeit it's tough to read). Definitely some interesting ingredients.

Finally, if you've walked by the restaurant you've probably noticed the construction but for those of you who haven't, here are a couple pics from their facebook page:
(Images from Tribute Facebook Page)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Introducing "Events in the Sloop" Calendar

If you're a perceptive reader you've probably noticed that a small calendar has appeared on the right side of Sloopin underneath the "recent comments" section.

We're calling this "Events in the Sloop" and the goal is to be a resource so you know of events going on in the South Loop. We will be populating this calendar with events that we know of, but please send us events that you know of that might not be on our radar.

As you can see, there are fireworks tonight and the Printers Row lit fest is this weekend as well.

If it's a free or non-profit event we will gladly post the event. If it's a for-profit business that's having an event we will be charging a small fee per listing (most likely $5). Also we're in the process of starting a restaurant specials calendar that will look similar to the calendar that's currently live. Again, we're going to charge a small fee for this. If you're a restaurant owner or know someone who is, please let them know about this new function we're offering.

Hopefully you find this of value! If not let us know. If you have ideas for improvement let us know.

And finally, just wanted to take a second to thank all of our readers and contributors. Sloopin wouldn't be what it is if it wasn't for you peeps! So thanks!