#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 let's not forget about Acadia (1639 S. Wabash), the promising contemporary American restaurant that just opened last week and hopes to usher in a new era of fine dinning in the Sloop.
ban Remix (1468 S. Michigan), H+ Records (730 S. Dearborn), Urban Grocery (730 S. Clark), South Loop Immediate Care (1430 S. Michigan), Victory Barber Salon (1926 S. State) are new to the neighborhood.
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.
It wasn't all good news in 2011. Entourage man (1355 S. Michigan), Doctor's Choice (1345 S. Michigan), Grant Park Cleaners (3 E. Roosevelt), Daniela's Hair Salon (705 S. Dearborn) all closed their doors while Marble Slab Creamery (1245 S. Michigan) might be out of business.
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).