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!)


SouthLoopScot said...

I could care less if Oprah likes Waffles, I only care if myself and other Sloopers like it.

I'm very intrigued by the consignment shop!

Anonymous said...

Cool! Good to see

Anonymous said...

I don't think their is many foods that Oprah doesn't like.

This is great news that this Waffle place seems to have some connection to Japonais. It is refreshing to see businesses come in with some experience and a good product. Places like Donna's Cafe and Acapella have really made think that the sloop was doomed to have restaurants run by amateurs.

I have tried going back to both places a few times to be fair and they are still horrible. Can't wait to support good businesses and hopefully the weak ones will be gone soon.

Anonymous said...

Wait. Without parking actually inside the new restaurants how can we possibly expect the lazy (insert own description of large ass here here) sloopers to frequent.

Anonymous said...

Was talking to a friend this weekend and heard that Overflow is suffering from a lack of business. Sloopers need to go out and patronize these places if we want them to remain in the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Why would I go there? It's inconvenient. Just because a business moves in doesn't mean I want to support it. I want businesses that make me want to support them to move in. But to get all self-righteous because people don't frequent poorly-planned or poorly-run businesses is the wrong way to think about it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:47pm - you are correct. Although, I hope you are venturing out further to support South Loop businesses you do enjoy (or at least try).

Anonymous said...

"Was talking to a friend this weekend and heard that Overflow is suffering from a lack of business. "

Do they still not have any decent signage out front? I know where it is and even I have trouble spotting it walking by. Overflow is a good example of great idea and spirit, but no business sense.

Anonymous said...

Well the issue with overflow is that it's a coffee shop that opened up in the middle of a lobby. There is no ambiance there. It is basically an old couch/some tables setup. Plus a coffee+muffin for over $5.00 and you have to pay for refills? No thx. Ill stick to Starbucks.

Anonymous said...

About overflow-oh no! I really like the coffee here! I will admit (as one angry poster seemed to point out) that often when I am stopping for coffee it is on my way into work...and yes since I commute this is by car. I often am running into DD or starbucks which seems to be more convenient as I am usual running late! I will try harder to make it to overflow to support them-if only I could wake up earlier! They have great coffee and good food!

That being said from a business perspective, I do second the need for a sign-I know someone that lives in the condo complex literally right there above the tapas place and he had no idea there was a coffee shop at his doorstep. The sandwich board sign unfortunately does not cut it as the chalk is hard to read from passing cars or even across the street while walking. I am sure the owners opened with the hopes that the revenue could get them to a place to bring in more decorations, furniture, and a sign, but in this economy and the restaurant market, it may have been better to wait until funding had been secured for these things to make a more lasting memory for new and potential customers. That being said, I hope it works out for them!

Anonymous said...

People are seriously selling Overflow short. The space may be a little sparse but it's done beautifully. The coffee is amazing. The people are friendly and committed to the community. They need a more prominent sign, but I can't figure out why posters give this place a hard time. I'd much rather spend my money at Overflow than Dunkin.

Anonymous said...

I like Overflow. I agree that the ambiance needs some work and they need to do something about the set-up, including figuring out a way to get better/more seating. However, on the plus side, the owners are exceptionally nice, helpful and friendly.

They REALLY need a better sign. My girlfriend and I spent 20 minutes one day walking back and forth looking for it and finally found it. Another couple I know who lives in the South Loop looked for it and never found it.

They also need a better menu. They have a bunch of sandwiches on the menu with imaginative names, but who knows what they are? You can't expect people to find the printed menu and stand there reading it while you're waiting for them to order.

I'm betting that they are waiting until they have the funds to put up a more visible sign, but they need that ASAP or they'll not have the funds. I don't know what the city regulations are about granting permits for sidewalk cafes, but having 3-4 tables out front would also really do wonders for their business.

I hope the owners read this blog, because they seem like a very nice couple and I'd love to see them succeed. But they do need to make some changes.

Allen said...

Urban Re-Mix is now OPEN. I stopped by and met the owner Mari Ann Weiss who is probably the nicest & sharpest lady around. This is someone from the neighborhood who decided to invest in the area as there was a need for high end and antique furnishing store. The website is being worked on; however stop by and talk to Mari Ann and see how the store works. I have to admit, I was worried about who was opening the store originally and the type of (cheap) stuff that was coming in, but there were a lot cool pieces and of course a great owner.

Allen said...

Today's RedEye Paper said The Scout is opening August 1st.

Anonymous said...

I will remain anonymous, because I don’t like to bash businesses, especially not the ones in my own back yard. But…Waffles was really one of the worst meals I’ve had in my life. My friend and I both had the Waffle Benedict. The waffle is about 1/3 the portion you would receive at most breakfast restaurants. It was too sweet (they brushed it with syrup); the pulled pork (instead of Canadian bacon) was alarmingly bland and the hollandaise was too dense. The entire dish was a disaster. The only saving grace is that the restaurant is BYOB- so we feasted on mimosas.

Anonymous said...

Check out the awesome "man cave" next to Waffles, Sanctuary on Michigan!