Friday, September 30, 2011

Victory Barber Salon to Open on South State

Upon strolling down South State street recently, we noticed a new barber salon called, Victory Barber Salon, next door to Cafe Bionda (1926 South State street).

We don't have many details and didn't find much on the interwebs, but if anyone has additional dish please share.

The retail at this building (or at least the retail on State street) seem to be doing well since all the storefronts are going to be utilized. Besides this new barber shop, it appears Lakeside Grocery (which we don't remember being there) is open and the Burger Point will be opening soon (see here for old Sloopin post).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Bike Lane on 18th Street?

The active transportation alliance blog recently had a post highlighting Alderman Danny Solis' second annual bike ride for the 25th Ward. Besides highlighting the event, Transportation Commissions (and South Loop resident), Gabe Klein had an announcement:

Even more exciting than the bike ride itself was the announcement that Ald. Solis and the Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein made at the start of the event: The 25th Ward is getting a .55-mile long protected bike lanes on 18th St. from Clinton Street to Clark Street.

The lanes will facilitate a safe route for residents to get to the 18th Street./Halsted Arts District, downtown and the Lakefront Trail. The announcement touched on some of the benefits of the bike lanes, namely that they will allow for safe bike riding over the 18th Street bridge.

Although it's a small stretch, it's a move in the right direction. Hopefully the Sloop gets more of these "protected bike lanes" soon.

This news coincides with the post we had on Tuesday, about the new norther portion of Ping Tom Park opening. Looks like this area is getting some much needed attention!

(Hat tip: MotoSoloRow!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Regarding the Flo & Santos Expansion...

About a month ago we had a post looking at various construction projects around the Sloop. One of those being an apparent expansion behind the warm and cosy Flo & Santos restaurant/pub (1310 S. Wabash).

Besides a plethora of comments on that post, a reader sent us the following tidbit:

Regarding Flo & Santos Expansion...

It's happening. They are building out the back room to mirror what already exists in the front room. There will be a bar and seats just like the front. The kitchen sits right in the middle of the first floor of that building, so they can feed out to both rooms pretty seamlessly. One of the friendly barkeeps told me this.
We haven't corroborated this, but it seems feasible to us.

(Hat tip: ZM!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Curbed Chicago Takes a Look at Ping Tom Park's New Area

Ping Tom park, which is a great public park on the East bank of the Chicago river just South of 18th street, has a new addition just North of 18th now. The blog curbed Chicago headed over last week to take some great pictures. They took the one above, but have some other great shots if you're interested.

Also of interest in their post is a quote from Rahm:

The park of course isn't completely finished yet, though. At a press conference held at Ping Tom on Monday, Mayor Emanuel announced that the park will soon be getting a $4-million boat house, designed by Jeanne Gang and Chris Lee.
For those not familiar with Jeanne Gang, she's putting her stamp on various neighborhoods around the city (most notably the amazing 82-story Aqua building in the River East neighborhood). She also designed Columbia's Media Production Center at 16th and State. Glad to have her creative vision designing new buildings in the neighborhood.

(Image from Curbed Chicago)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shots Around the Sloop: Waterspout

A reader sends us the picture above and writes:

On Saturday morning, we noticed a cloud over Lake Michigan off Burnham Harbor and Soldier field that turned into a waterspout. It lasted for about 15 minutes before disappearing.
(Hat tip: J&JG!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shots Around the Sloop: Clouds Roll In

From reader:

This photo was taken from our balcony. Thought I'd share it to all our neighbors in the south loop who probably share the same view, if not better. We moved in our condo about a year ago and couldn't be happier with our decision. Being an avid runner, my mornings wouldn't be complete without a trip down the lakefront. I also love how short of a walk it is from my doorstep to the start line of the Chicago Marathon.
(Hat tip: GM!)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

South Loop Yard Sale Today!

A reader writes:

Hi Sloopin,

On August 12 you posted a story about the annual Sloop Yard Sale. I was walking home yesterday and saw the attached flyer posted in Dearborn Park. This is the "original" Sloop Yard sale, in memory of its founder, Mary Schoonmaker.

Saturday, September 24: 9am - 2pm
Dearborn Park (9th and Plymouth)

Thought you might want to post. I was going to post details in the comments of the original story, but thought it might get lost.

Thank you!
(Hat tip: TT & DM!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

H+ Records Signs Lease in Printer's Row

A reader sent us some encouraging news about h+ records:

Saw some activity in the old GNC space (730 S. Dearborn) tonight with a tiny sign about H+ records.

And found this:

I think at one point there was an entry about them being further south, maybe even on wabash. Looks like they settled in Printers Row. Yippe!

Yes, we did a post about H+ Records looking for space back in February. For those interested check out there website or maybe check out a party they're having tonight at the new space:

Ahoy folks, been awhile. In honor of putting name to lease, we will be throwing a little party in the future H+ Records store. On Friday, 9/23, from 8pm to 12pm, we will host a little event in empty and unimproved space. There will be some booze, music, hopefully dancing, and the current vinyl inventory if you want to buy something. Also there will be paint and other drawing implements to let you put whatever artwork you want on the walls. I hope to see everyone there.
(Hat tip: TR!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Timeout Chicago Takes An In Depth Look Jerry Kleiner

Time-out Chicago has the most detailed story we've ever read about Jerry Kleiner. Regardless on your feelings on him, he was a integral part of the South Loop scene over the past 10 years or so. It's an interesting read. Here's a highlight about the Sloop:

With Davis and Kleiner as the remaining majority partners, KDK continued its string of openings in then-sketchy neighborhoods, this time setting its sights on the South Loop with Italian spot Gioco (1999), Chinese concept Opera (2002) and the short-lived Japanese spot Saiko (2003–05). When Gioco debuted, “there was just a trickle of residential on the eastern end” of the South Loop, Kleiner says. “Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve created a movement, a vision, an energy field. It took me years to get people to follow me down to these areas.”
If you're like us, this comment is a little off-putting. Maybe there is some truth to it, but still seems like he's giving himself to much credit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update on Congress Parkway Bridge Construction

For those who drive in the neighborhood, we figured you would like an update on the Congress Parkway construction. This is from the Trib:

Major rehabilitation work on the outbound Congress Parkway drawbridge will begin this week, marking the final stage of the problem-plagued project and requiring new traffic changes, officials said.
The article goes on to talk about when the project is slated to be completed and some of the issues it has faced:

Installation of the deck panels for the new bridge surface is expected to begin in December, officials said. The tentative completion date for the entire bridge project is mid-May.

The $33 million project was plagued first by a delay in getting started in April 2010, then a construction workers strike in July 2010 and the subsequent discovery of unlevel floor beams on the bridge that required a design change to the new bridge deck. The original completion date was October 2011.
Can't wait for this one to be done...

(Image from

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lawsuit Claims Fioretti Diverted Funds from Law Firm for Personal Expenses

In case you missed this last week, Alderman Fioretti has been named in a recent lawsuit (from

Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti (2nd) and a partner looted their law firm to pay for personal expenses — including running for City Council — two lawyers who used to work for the firm contend.

In a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, Charles Brizzolara and Paul Peldyak allege that they're owed about $100,000 by the now-defunct law firm Fioretti & Lower Ltd., which dissolved in June.

They contend they weren't paid salary, expenses and other compensation "because Fioretti and Lower used and diverted such funds to their own use, including payment of personal rented cars, club dues and funds lent to Fioretti's aldermanic campaign."
Not exactly sure what will come of this, but if we read anything else we will let you know.

(Hat tip: ND!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where are the Open Mic Nights in Sloop?

A reader writes:
Hi Sloopin,

Are there any open mics you know of in the South Loop?

We're familiar with a sweet open mic at Villain's Bar and Grill (649 S. Clark) on the last Wednesday of every month, but besides that we're not sure. Anyone have any other suggestions?

(Hat tip: SP!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ex-Sox Pitcher, Freddy Garcia, Sells South Loop Town House for a Loss

From the Tribune:

Former Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Freddy Garcia, whose two tours of duty on the South Side included starting the final game of the 2005 World Series, has just sold his four-bedroom town home in the South Loop for $820,000.

Now a member of the New York Yankees' starting pitching rotation, Garcia, 34, played for the Sox from 2004 through 2006 and again in 2009 and 2010. He and his wife Glendys paid $1.05 million in May 2005 for the eight-room town home.
Ouch! At least his current employer is known to pay well.

(Image from:

Friday, September 16, 2011

On Tap for the Weekend: 2011 Bash on Wabash

In case you didn't know (given some of the uncertainty), the 2011 Bash on Wabash is going down this weekend:
A reader is concerned about getting in and out of their parking:

Any idea if any part of Wabash Ave. will actually be closed over the weekend for the Bash on Wabash? We live at 1440 S. Wabash and are wondering (hoping) if we'll be able to get in/out of our garage at all over the weekend...
Anyone have the answer to this one?

Also, what's the deal with the corn theme? Can't remember.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

McCaskey Restaurant to be Called Acadia and Slated to Open in December

The Chicago Magazine Blog, Dish, has an update on Ryan McCaskey's new restaurant at 1639 S. Wabash:
The hunger for the new South Loop restaurant from the chef Ryan McCaskey (Tuttaposto, Vivere, Rushmore, Tizi Melloul, Courtright’s) growls a little stronger as he teases future diners with new details. For one, the name: Acadia (1639 S. Wabash Ave.; no phone yet). “I wanted to find a name that tied into my ties to Maine,” McCaskey says. “I spent summers growing up in Maine and have a lot of dear, close friends there still. It’s like my second home. A lot of the seafood product that I’m getting is going to be from the area.” For another, McCaskey’s sous-chef: Chris Walker (Pops for Champagne, Bistro Bordeaux). Acadia is scheduled to open in December. By then, we’ll be ready for the Maine course.
Glad to hear that they're opening this year (even if it's later than originally expected). However, it wouldn't surprise us if it didn't open until 2012.

For more Sloopin posts on the topic click here.

(Hat tip: SoloMotorRow!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Two Events at Local Religious Institutions

We recently got emails about two events we thought people might be interested in.

First up - The Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies (610 S. Michigan) Celebrates the Jewish "High Holidays":

Further getting you in the Rosh Hashanah mood, on Sunday, September 18 at 2 pm, the acclaimed vocal ensemble Chicago a cappella comes to Spertus with a concert and conversation of Jewish sacred music inspired by the High Holiday season. Tickets for the program, called Days of Awe and Rejoicing: Radiant Gems of Jewish Music, are $18 ($10 for Spertus members and $8 for students). There’s also an option for special ticketing at $50, in which guests receive preferred seating, admission to a CD-release reception following the program, and a signed CD.

Second up - Old St. Mary's School (1474 S. Michigan):

OSM celebrates its 3rd Annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm on our own parking lot. Please join chair Beth Toth and Kevin and Lori Fanning for German-inspired food, drink and music. All members of Old St. Mary’s community are encouraged to attend and take the opportunity to meet other parents and parishioners. This is an adults-only event. Please use the Buy Now button to purchase tickets, or the Donations button to donate!


(Hat tip: LB & BT!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Closings Still Lagging at Museum Park West

The blog YoChicago had a post recently looking at the amount of closings at Museum Park West (on the corner of Roosevelt and Indiana):

According to Appraisal Research Counselors, via Crain’s
Chicago Real Estate Daily
, only 22% of the units at One Museum Park West had
closed as of the second quarter of this year.

Crain’s speculates that price
cuts may be in the offing:
The slow sales and high inventory at some
projects will test the patience of lenders waiting for their construction loans
to be paid off. Some will push price cuts to accelerate the process.

A comment on this post suggested rental as an option. If the investors can hold out, we have to imagine the views from this building will eventually demand the prices they're asking for. But then again...what do we know.

(Image from:

Monday, September 12, 2011

In Search of a Clothing/Donation Drop-off in the Sloop

A reader writes:

Hi Sloopy,

Question for you and/or Sloopin readers: Anyone know of a place in the
area to drop-off or donate old/used clothes? I know there's a GoodWill
in the West Loop, but I'd prefer not to drive that far and support local businesses/charities instead.

Many thanks,

It's a good question. We had a similar one a couple of years ago, but didn't really find much. Does anyone know about a old/used clothes drop-off in the Sloop (or close)?

If not, maybe we could organize something with a local business?

(Hat tip: MG!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

TJ Opening Day!

Amazingly, it's been 507 days since we posted "Rumor has it...Trader Joe's Moving into old Sams Space!" and today this officially isn't a rumor (ok it hasn't been a rumor for a number of months, but you get what we're saying).

While it seems sort of silly to get excited about a grocery store opening in the neighborhood, this signifies a bigger trend. More and more businesses/restaurants/bars/stores are opening in the neighborhood.

Although we don't give all the credit to Trader Joe's, we think this news has spurred positive retail momentum in the neighborhood (see post on "The Impact of Trader Joe's") . Simply look across the street and you now see movement at an old eye-sore that appears to be coming down and being replaced with a new building.

Besides this the Chicago Sun-Times states that they're hiring a lot of people in and around the neighborhood:

More than 1,600 people came to the store — site of a shuttered Sam’s Wine & Spirits — to apply for jobs, said store captain Missy Brown.

Company spokespeople declined to say Tuesday how many workers each store employs, but insiders say it can range from 60 to 70.

The privately held Trader Joe’s, owned by the same German company that operates Aldi grocery stores, pays above-union wages to full-time workers, contributes to employees’ 401(k)s, and provides medical, dental and vision coverage to employees who work an average of 20 hours a week and their dependents, according to articles in trade and national magazines. Employees receive 10 percent discounts on store goods, according to the reports.

Forty percent of those hired at the South Loop store at 1224 S. Wabash live within a 3-mile radius, Brown said.
Anyway, enjoy some two buck chuck and let us know what you think about the new store!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Two South Loop Buildings get Preservation Excellence Award

Shout-out to two South Loop buildings that were given "preservation excellence awards" by the city of Chicago recently. Here is a quick blurb from curbed chicago:

Winning projects include office restoration, exterior renovations, and last but not least, a rare surviving example of a first generation White Castle (occupied by the Chef Luciano & Gourmet Chicken restaurant). The 80-year old White Castle structure was restored to its glory days by replacing brick, returning signage and lighting to historic placements, and recreating the crenellated tower. You can see, while charming, it would have trouble accommodating drive-thru (image above). Particularly impressive to us, Columbia College's exterior restoration of its large neoclassical main campus building involved rebuilding the entire bracketed stone cornice and repairing large sections of brick and limestone. Located at 600 Michigan Ave, this is an important piece of the historic streetwall.
Congrats to everyone involved and way to represent the Sloop!

(Image from Curbed Chicago!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Columbia Student's Guide to the Sloop

From a Chicagonow blog called ChiU:

Columbia’s campus is located in the south Loop in downtown Chicago. The loop, for those of you new to Chicago, is the geographical area denoted by the loop created by CTA train routes. The borders are generally accepted as Adams to the north, Wabash to the east, Roosevelt to the south and Wells to the west. Back in the day, the south Loop was much more sketchy and underdeveloped, but since Columbia’s had its hands on it, it’s very college-d out. A lot of food, bookstores, coffee shops, and convenience stores. And 3 Starbucks within several blocks of one another. Hooray! There are nine main buildings on campus, all within about a mile of one another. Unless you’re a dance or theater major (those lucky suckers get to walk up to 8 blocks back and forth), you won’t have to walk too far.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Motor Row" to Become "Music Row"?

Lately it seems like Alderman Fioretti has been aggressively talking about transforming part of South Michigan into an entertainment district. Whether it is talking about Microbreweries in this part of the sloop or simply touting the history of the area, it seems to be an important part of his agenda.

Along those lines, last week a reader sent us a link to a Chicago Sun-Times article saying that the city council is expected to move forward with a designation to have this area called "Music Row":

A South Loop street once lined with automobile showrooms could someday become a thriving entertainment district that celebrates Chicago’s musical roots in blues and jazz, thanks to a zoning designation advanced Thursday.

After nearly two decades of discussion, the City Council’s Zoning Committee agreed to transform the three-block stretch of South Michigan Avenue between Cermak and the Stevenson Expressway from “Motor Row” into “Music Row.” The full City council is expected to sign off next week.
We like this idea. In our opinion Music history is more interesting than the history of auto showrooms. We're not sure if this will be the shot in the arm this area needs to become a thriving entertainment district, but hopefully it does. Regardless it seems like a step in the right direction.

There is one thing that doesn't really make sense to us (and maybe we're just missing something). The historic music buildings that we know of in the area don't reside in the three block stretch from the Stevenson to Cermak that would be called "Music Row". The old Chess records studio is at 2120 S. Michigan and the old Vee Jay Records studio is at 1449 S. Michigan.

Does anyone else know of any studios or significant music destinations that would be in the "Music Row" area? We know the Marmon Grand Ballroom would be in the area (2230 S. Michigan), but don't think that has a historic musical background.

What are your thoughts on this change? Good? Bad? Will it make a difference?

(Hat tip: AK!)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ditka Soaks Up the City Views at Buckingham Fountain!

We like images of Chicago and our neighborhood and that's why we enjoyed watching an old 3+ video the Chicago Tourism and Convention Bureau released to promote the city.

And of course we couldn't help but noticing some images that are near and dear to us Sloopers:

  • Agora Statues - 1:38

  • Buckingham Fountain (and DITKA!) - 1:44

  • McCormick Place - 2:21

  • Chinatown - 2:35

  • View from Solidarity Drive - 2:52

(Hat tip: Chicagoista blog!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

House on South State Breaks the Conformity

One of our favorite residential areas in the entire Sloop, is the area with single frame houses starting at the corner of Roosevelt and going South to 13th. The lay out and sizes of the houses are all very similar, but the painting and decorations make each one unique.

A reader recently snapped the picture below and was surprised that these houses (specifically the third house from the right) were allowed to build an addition on top of the house:

It was surprising to us as well. Anyone have the back story on this?

(Hat tip: TS!)