Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 11 Sloopin Stories of 2011: #1 - Retail Rising

It's that time of year and like many other websites, tv stations, newspapers and blogs, we're going to take a look back at some of the most important and biggest stories of 2011.

#1 - Retail Rising
If you're like us, you've learned to be patient with the South Loop retail scene. For years the space has been ready for businesses to come to the South Loop, but unfortunately it hasn't come as fast as we would like. Well in 2011, the neighborhood retail scene seemed to gain some momentum. New businesses coming to the neighborhood significantly outweighed those closing up shop.

The biggest news on this front was Trader Joe's opening up at the Northeast corner of Wabash and Roosevelt. While we don't completely credit the overall neighborhood retail trend to this opening, it sure seemed to change peoples perceptions. We had a post that took a look at Trader Joe's impact on an area of Lincoln park and pondered whether it could do the same for the Sloop.

Beyond Trader Joe's, two other much discussed restaurants/bars opened in the summer but had very different experiences in the neighborhood. In August, The Scout opened on the Southeast corner of Wabash and 13th (the old Opera space). While many discussed whether or not the new sports bar/restaurant fit into the neighborhood, most seem to agree it's doing quite well and has been a good addition.

Unfortunately the same can't be said for Tribute (800 S. Michigan) who closed up shop in December, only 5 months after opening. It was an ambitious attempt and by most accounts was pretty good. Regardless, it never seemed to gain momentum and clearly wasn't sustainable.

The vacant retail space South of Roosevelt saw a lot of food/drink options open up their doors in 2011. Pita Heaven (1250 S. Michigan), Waffles (1400 S. Michigan), Chi Bakery (2135 S. Michigan) added some solid food options to South Michigan while Donna's Cafe (1255 S. State), Flavor 180 (1511 S. State), Overflow Coffee (1550 S. State) and Burger Point (1900 S. State) all opened up on South State.

And it wasn't all restaurants either. Sanctuary (1400 S. Michigan), Ur

And it wasn't all new stuff - Lou Malnatti's (805 S. State), Flo & Santos (1310 S. Wabash), South Loop Market (1720 S. Michigan) and Jimmy Green's (825 S. State) have expanded or are in the process of expanding.

We probably missed a couple, so please chime in if you know of something, but all in all we would say it's been a good year on the retail front for the Sloop. Better yet, 2012 is looking even brighter so stay tuned for that post (coming soon in 2012).


Anonymous said...

Ho hum. Still a retail/dining/commercial ghost town. For those of you wondering why that is, see story of the year #5.

Anonymous said...

Anon - seriously? Please advise where I can find a crime-free neighborhood in any city.

Given the economy, the retail and restaurants are filling in very nicely.

Anonymous said...

Anybody know why the status on marbleslab is uncertain?