Monday, April 30, 2012

Vintage CTA Train Derails South of Roosevelt Stop

If you happened to be cruising on Roosevelt just before noon on Sunday (like us) you couldn't help but notice the massive amount of firetrucks, police cars and ambulances that all converged at the Roosevelt CTA stop.  It wasn't clear why...could it have been a fire?  a shooting?  a health issue?

Nope.  It was a derailment of a vintage CTA train.  What a crazy story (via the Tribune):
For about 40 train enthusiasts cruising the CTA rails Sunday, a chartered ride took a thrilling turn when one of their vintage rail cars derailed in the South Loop. 
Chicago Fire Department officials said nobody was hurt when the train, chartered by members of the Illinois Railway Museum as a fundraiser for the McHenry County institution, jumped the tracks. Apparently, nobody panicked either. 
 "Just about everybody on this train is somebody who is experienced with the railroad, and it was no big deal," Harold Krewer, a retired Amtrak manager, said after descending from the elevated tracks. "One of the guys that is (a professional railroader), the first thing he said was: 'Well, I'm glad I'm not going to have to do the investigation on this.' So we were all taking it in stride. Nobody was upset or worried. It was just a little diversion in our day."

I guess it couldn't have happened to a better group?!?!?!

(Hat Tip JN & JW!)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dream Come True? Apple Store at Roosevelt Collection?

Today we got a nice shout-out from Crain's Chicago Business blogger, Brigid Sweeney.  She picked up a post  that we did in early April about potential retail being leaked at Roosevelt Collection.

Well she has a rumor that many people will probably get really excited about:
North Ave Apple Store
In addition to nabbing quite the bargain, McCaffery Interests Inc. appears to be substantially bulking up the retail tenants. As South Loop blog Sloopin and the Chicago Journal reported earlier this month, a Roosevelt Collection brochure boasts an impressive list of retailers, including H&M and Lululemon. 
Now I'm hearing that two others — Apple and Akira — might be eying space there, too. 
Akira co-owner Eric Hsueh tells me that he likes the development but that it's too close to the chain's State Street and Block 37 locations. "But you never know...," he wrote in an e-mail. Mr. McCaffery didn't return calls for comment regarding the tenant list, and Apple holds its real estate plans famously close to its vest.

Apple Store?  Seems like a long shot...

(Hat tip: SB!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Confirmed: Five Guys Moving in at 1146 S Wabash

Back in August of last year an anonymous tipster alerted us that Five Guys was going to be moving into the old dilapidated building at 1146 South Wabash (just North of Bongo Room).  At the time we weren't sure and other people in the comment threads seemed to think otherwise.

Looks like this source is laughing now.  Yesterday we got a link to the five guys store locator and sure enough, it said coming soon just above the address 1146 South Wabash

What remains to be seen is whether or not other places (i.e. a cafe or other stores) will also occupy this building.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fioretti Doesn't Trust Rahm's "Infrastructure Trust Plan"

Image from Chicago Sun Times
Some big political action happened this week as Chicago Alderman passed Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's controversial "Infrastructure Trust Plan" on Tuesday, April 24th.  The vote wasn't very close as 41 voted yes, while 7 voted no.

Of interest to us Sloopers, our Alderman, Bob Fioretti of the 2nd ward voted no.  Yesterday, Fioretti sent an email detailing his opposition:
I voted No on the ordinance because I don't believe the city has taken enough time to think through all the possible consequences. The Trust will be run by a five-member board of business executives who are not responsible to taxpayers and citizens of Chicago. The private board will choose projects and arrange private funding which will likely cost substantially more than public tax exempt financing.
While we appreciate the candor and concern from our local city council representative, we aren't sure what to make of the new trust.

We applaud the Mayor for a new and unique approach to our problems.  These are the types of ideas we wanted from Rahm.  We've read about how innovative this is and it's inspiring to hear how our city is going to be a model for the future.  But frankly, the intricacies of this plan aren't clear and we don't really understand how this will be executed.

On the flip side, we've seen and read about so much political shadiness in Chicago we can't help but be skeptical and cynical.

With that said, the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board sums it up pretty well:
The Trust is an innovative idea with tremendous potential to kick-start investment in Chicago’s crumbling infrastructure, and Emanuel gets much credit for championing it. But a mere six weeks after this novel and complex concept was introduced, our confidence is shaky at best.
Time will tell.  Is Rahm the innovator that many voted for or is he just another Chicago politician we come to loathe.  We hope the former...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Closures During the NATO Summit

The NATO summit continues to creep closer and if you're like us you're super interested in how that might affect our lives in the Sloop.  Well ABC7 had a segment about some of the closures associated with the May 20th and 21st:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Things to do this Spring/Summer...

Yup, it's about that time of the year and with that said, we're doing our annual post on some of the free things to do around the neighborhood. As always, we're going to do the best we can to update our Google calendar on the right side of the site.

Everyones favorite dance party, Summer Dance Chicago will kick-off this year at the taste of Chicago but then move to its typical stomping ground at 601 S. Michigan (across from the Hilton). It happens every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at this spot starting on Thursday, July 19th. If you haven't been, we highly recommend it.

And don't forget about the free concerts at Millennium Park:

Downtown Sound, Mondays, 6:30 PM
5/28: Kelly Hogan, Scott Lucas & the Married Men
6/4: Jonathan Richman, Joel Paterson & the Modern Sounds
6/11: The Eternals, Wild Belle
6/18: Cloud Cult, Judson Claiborne
6/25: Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, Chico Trujillo
7/2: Joan of Arc, Daniel Knox
7/9: The Sadies, James Vincent McMorrow
7/16: Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaires, Abigail Washburn
7/23: Ana Tijoux, Sidi Touré
7/30: SMOD, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem

Loops and Variations, Thursdays, 6:30 PM
6/7: Chris Clark, Jan Jelinek & Andrew Pekler, Casino Versus Japan
6/14: Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente
6/28: Eighth Blackbird
7/5: A Winged Victory for the Sullen and ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble)
7/12: Third Coast Percussion
Sun 8/26: John Luther Adams's Inuksuit, at 5:30 PM

Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz, Thursdays, 6:30 PM
7/19: Blowing in From Chicago, with Edward Wilkerson Jr. and Ari Brown
7/26: Erwin Helfer: A Life in Boogie and Blues
8/2: Roots of Routes: Makaya McCraven's Global Unit
8/16: By a Little Light: Matt Ulery's Loom with special guests
8/23: Frank Rosaly's ¡Todos de Pie! (Everyone Stand Up!)
8/30: Exquisitely for Ella: A Songbook Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, with Jeff Lindberg's Chicago Jazz Orchestra (opening night of the 34th annual Chicago Jazz Festival)

We've got Monday, June 25th circled on our calendars:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Brasserie by LM Provides Affordable and Approachable French Dinning

If you're like us, a solid neighborhood dinning scene is all about options. Yes, we have our go to spots (Ma & I), but in reality diverse options are what truly appeals to us. To take it a step further we really appreciate diverse options that don't cost an arm and a leg. With that said, we couldn't be happier to say that Brasserie by LM (800 S. Michigan) has opened up shop in the Sloop and delivers on both fronts.

When we think French food we think delicious, but pretentious and overpriced. We also had some questions about the location given that it was replacing Tribute, the American contemporary concept that only survived for a short five months. Luckily for Brasserie by LM, it seems like the burden of costly renovations to create a restaurant from scratch were taken care of by their predecessors. On the inside of the restaurant not much has changed.

Anyway, as we were walking to the restaurant, we played a game of "how many people would be at this restaurant?" It was a brand new restaurant and in reality opened relatively quickly without much fanfare. I guessed 20...my wife guessed 10. It ended up being more like 15-18 people.

If you've ever been to this space you quickly realize that this amount of people makes the restaurant and bar feel pretty empty. It's a really big space. Unfortunately this doesn't yield a great atmosphere for French ambiance. But for what the restaurant lacks in character and ambiance, it makes up in respect to food.

The menu is not overwhelming (maybe 30-35 options in total) and the prices are affordable (the most expensive item was the $25 three course special). We opted for the higher end of the menu and decided on the Brasserie Steak and the special (which on this day included a bib salad, duck congfit entree, and chocolate mousse). I also opted for Mesculan salad so I wasn't left out of the first course.

The salads were good, but pretty standard. The ingredients were fresh and the only complaint was that there might have been a little too much dressing. The entree was probably the highlight of the meal. The steak was very flavorful and grilled to perfection. It's not a prime cut that you would find down the road at the Chicago Firehouse, but then again it's half the price. The duck was good...if you like duck. It was tender and juicy.

For dessert, we opted to split the chocolate mousse and that was a good idea as the portion was rather large. It came in a cute little container and was supper fluffy and rich. Definitely recommended.

In regard to the service, it was opening weekend, so we wouldn't put much stock into this yet. However, there was clearly some confusion on the table numbers. We noticed the wrong dishes being delivered to the wrong tables repetitively. An easy mistake and something we assume will get better with time.

The staff was nice and warm. It also seems like some of the them are French (which makes the experience a little more authentic).

Finally, a couple random thoughts on the appearance and entrance to the restaurant. The Essex Inn isn't doing any favors for the restaurant. While they might provide customers who are staying in the hotel, the lobby (which serves as an entrance) is dated. The carpet looks like it's straight out of the 80's.

If we have one recommendation for the restaurant in regard to its appearance we would strongly suggest trying to establish that the entrance to the restaurant is from Michigan Avenue, not the Essex Inn lobby. It seems like this could be achieved by having signage or an awning over the door on Michigan Avenue.

So to summarize, the ambiance is lacking, the food is solid and affordable, the staff is nice but needs to iron out some of the simple logistics associated with running a restaurant (which we're sure they will with time). All in all, we will be back and highly suggest that you try it out.

(Image from RL Photography)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

PDNA Open Community Meeting Scheduled this Monday (4/23)

For those of us who are thirsty for more neighborhood information the PDNA is holding an open neighborhood meeting this Monday, April 23rd:
Meeting Date: Monday, April 23, 2012
Registration Opens: 6:30pm
Meeting Time: 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Meeting Location: 2nd Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue. (Free parking in the lot on the NE corner of Michigan Ave and Cullerton St.)

Come early and enjoy a FREE tour of Second Presbyterian Church, one of Chicago's architectural gems. Docents from Friends of Historic Second Church will be on hand giving tours from 6:15 to 7:00 pm and tours will also be available after the meeting.

Agenda:
  • Chicago White Sox / PDNA Partnership
  • South Loop Branding
  • NATO Summit Update
  • Wheeler Mansion /PDNA Farmers Market
  • PDNA Committees Update
  • Greener South Loop Alliance - Meatless Mondays in May
  • Alderman's Update
*Must be present to receive Chicago White Sox ticket vouchers. Vouchers are good for games throughout the season. Limit of two tickets per household.

For more information, email pdna.chicago@gmail.com

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sign Confirms that Alain's is Moving Forward?

There has been a lot of information floating around about Alain's, the restaurant supposedly opening at 1355 S. Michigan. The last we read was from the Tribune saying that they were shooting for a January opening. Obviously that didn't happen.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Or in this case five: looks like Alain's is moving forward.

If you're an avid Sloopin reader, you may remember that there was some debate on the fate of this restaurant back in late February (click here for the comment thread). Anyway, were not sure if they're continuing with the "contemporary American with a touch of Southern" cuisine initially stated, but it appears that the South Loop will have a new place called "Alain's" sometime soon.

Looking forward to what this might be.

(Hat tip: MarkChicago!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chicagoist Talks Broad Shoulders Brewery

We've already had a couple posts on Broad Shoulders Brewing, but recently the Chicagoist blog had a post about the space. Not a ton of new information, but a good read if you're into knowing as much as you can about our neighborhood. The fact that we found most interesting:

And then there’s Broad Shoulders Brewing in Motor Row. Owner and Brewer Frank Lassandrello is a veteran of Goose Island and Lakefront Brewing in Milwaukee who’s currently busy building out his brewhouse at 2337 S. Michigan Ave. The street number, Lassandrello told us, contains a bit of serendipity. “’2337’ spells out ‘beer’ on a telephone keypad.”

The post goes on to profile some of the beers that they will make and says that they're still planning on a Summer opening (barring any setbacks).



(Hat tip: DS!)

(Image from Chicagoist)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waffles Named Best New Breakfast in Time Out Chicago's 2012 Eat Out Awards


Congrats to Waffles (1400 S. Michigan) for being named the best new breakfast in Time Out Chicago's 2012 Eat Out Awards.

As you probably recall, we had a post about some of the other South Loop restaurants and bars that were also nominated. Although they didn't end up winning, congrats to them for representing the Sloop and bringing solid additions to the hood!

Also wanted to give a shoutout to Tony Hu, a restaurant pioneer who has many institutions in Chinatown. If you haven't been to one of his restaurants, you're missing out. He received the Lifetime achievement award from the TOC critics.

Finally, we had a post about Forever Yogurt opening up shop in the Sloop sometime soon. That would be good, because they were voted the best Fro-Yo Chain in Chicago. Looking forward to them coming to the neighborhood!

(Image from Time Out Chicago)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Unorthodox Tree Trimming on South Michigan

A reader writes:
I was walking with my daughter to Ma & I for dinner today and saw a man walking along the sidewalk in front of the new pastry shop that's opening (Karamela) with a saw in his hand. I thought it was strange, but it became even stranger when I saw him right outside the window at Ma & I cutting down branches from the small trees that are growing along the west side of the 1200 block of Michigan!

I was preparing to call 611 when shortly thereafter I saw a police car park across the street, and a couple of policemen walking in the direction of Karamela. He was cutting branches that were pretty thick in diameter, and cut several branches off of most of the trees along the west side of the 1200 block. As we were walking home, there were discarded branches piled up beneath each of the trees. I just couldn't believe it!!

If I can confirm that that was indeed the owner of Karamela who was cutting down public property without permission, I will NOT be supporting that establishment, and I hope he's fined heavily.

(Hat tip: PS!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Introducing the 2012 Sloopin Business Counter

Over the years, many debates have raged on whether or not the neighborhood is moving backward or forward with respect to retail development. While it seems that people have different views on this, we thought it would be a good idea to try to monitor the net amount of businesses that have opened up in the South Loop for the year.

With that said, we have added the 2012 Sloopin business tracker on the right side of our site to monitor the amount of businesses that have either opened up shop or closed down this year. As of now, we know of the following:

UPDATED: 4/16 - 9:45PM
Opened in 2012
1. Brasserie by LM (800 S. Michigan)
2. Lofty Aspirations (1934 S. Wabash)
3. Velvet Lounge (67 E. Cermak)
4. Metropolitan Veterinarian Clinic (1556 S. Michigan)
5. Pet Grooming (1400 S. Michigan)
6. Papa Johns (80 E. Cermak)
7. Cardinal International (71 E. 16th)
8. Put it On (1319 S. Michigan)
9. The Foundry (730 S. Clark)
10. Chicago Whole Wellness Center (1845 S. Michigan)

Closed in 2012
1. Three Peas Art Lounge (75 E. 16th)
2. Marble Slab Ice Creamery (1241 S. Michigan)
3. House of Sole (1237 S. Michigan)
4. New City Bank (900 S. Michigan)
5. Britten Chicago (1420 S. Michigan)

Did we miss any? If so please email us. We're going to do our best to monitor this throughout the year, but as always we're going to rely on our loyal Sloopin readers to help us keep track.

Since we're talking lists, here are some other businesses that may or may not open up in 2012:
Square One (1400 S. Michigan)
Karamela (1250 S. Michigan)
Spanglish (555 S. Wabash)
City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan - old Grace O’Malley’s)
America’s Dog (1221 S. Wabash)
Pita Belly (600 S. Wabash)
Urban Grocers (State and Polk)
Sprout (1454 S. Michigan)
Mariano's (17th and Clark)
Broad Shoulders Brewery (2337 S. Michigan)
Cheap Trick Chicago (2245 S. Michigan)
Roosevelt Collection Retail (150 W. Roosevelt)
1355 S. Michigan (TBD – Alain’s)
1150 S. Wabash (next to Bongo Room)
1440 S. Wabash (TBD - Dentist)

Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2nd Ward Spring. Clean. Green Event on Saturday April 21st

A friendly reminder for a great event put on by Alderman Fioretti:
Join us to clean up and meet neighbors near you!

  • Bartelme Park- Adams and Sangamon
  • Immanuel Baptist Church- 1437 W Roosevelt
  • Grant Park- Roosevelt and Columbus
  • Café Society- 18th and Indiana
  • 2nd Ward Yard- 2840 S Calumet
  • True Rock Ministries- 57 E 16th St.
  • Phoenix Military Academy-145S Campbell


New This Year: Electronics Recycling Available
Drop off any unwanted electronics
(TVs, computers, cell phones, etc) at any site during the event and we will take them to be recycled.

3 Ways to sign up and volunteer!

Online by clicking HERE
Phone Call @ 312.263.9273
Email beth.o'mara@cityofchicago.org

Friday, April 13, 2012

Shots Around the Sloop: A Beautiful City It Is

A beautiful city it is:

Places in Time: Chicago from Chris Pritchard on Vimeo.

Obviously this encapsulates shots from around the whole city, but there are some great Shots Around the Sloop:
  • 0:45 - View from Museum Campus (Planetarium)
  • 1:35 - Bike the Drive from McCormick Place (facing North)
  • 1:42 - Roosevelt El Stop (facing East)
  • 2:10 - View from Museum Campus as Night Comes (Planetarium)
  • 2:44 - Dearborn Park II (facing North)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Acadia Ranked #8 in Chicago Magazine's Top 20 New Restaurants

Congrats to Chef Ryan McCaskey and the crew at Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) for being ranked #8 in Chicago Magazine's 20 best new restaurant rankings. We've screamed its praise from our one visit and it seems like others have had similar experiences. For the blurb about Acadia here is the link.

Definitely some pretty impressive company and glad that the restaurant calls the Sloop home. Beyond the ranking, the restaurants beautiful "deconstructed lobster roll" was featured on the cover of the magazine:

Job well done and can't wait to come back!

(Image from Chicago Magazine)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

City Tavern Slated for Old Grace O'Malley's Space at 1416 S. Michigan

We've been pondering every move at 1416 S. Michigan for some time with a variety of rumors being stated. Well yesterday we got our first concrete information in awhile from Chicago Magazine:
Like time, the history trend marches on. Mainstay Hospitality, the company that owns Chicago Firehouse and Wabash Tap, plans to open the “18th-century tavernesque” City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan Ave.; no phone yet) in early May in the space formerly occupied by Grace O’Malley’s. Kendal Duque, the chef at Chicago Firehouse and the opening chef at Sepia, will create the menu.

To create the old feel, the owners united the bar and dining areas and introduced warm woods and rich paint tones of blue and slate gray, evoking the Revolution-era inns of New England. (Chicago’s earliest taverns opened after the 18th century, in 1829 or 1830, near the spot where the North and South Branches of the Chicago River meet.) A coal fireplace warms the room literally in winter and figuratively in summer.

Duque says his menu will offer about a dozen entrées, a dozen appetizers, a few sides and sandwiches, and a selection of artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and house-made pâtés and terrines. “It will be a small menu focused on the ingredients, and they are going to be simple but elegant presentations,” he says. For example, instead of preparing walleye with butter sauce, he’ll use a vinaigrette and nuts, and maybe a side of artichoke and chanterelles. And don’t be surprised if Duque pairs some meat dishes with offal. Desserts will follow the same theme, as with a pistachio crème brûlée with rhubarb preserves.
Sounds great on paper, but pretty ambitious. We went to Sepia late in the year last year and were very impressed with this restaurant (even though it was in the West Loop). Hopefully Chef Duque has some more magic up his sleeves for City Tavern.

While this is all good and well, we also heard a rumor that they had bought the space to the South where Britten had a showroom. The rumor said the spaces were going to be joined. We're not sure about the validity of this, but will keep our eyes open.

Regardless, good to hear that Mainstay is coming back with a strong concept. We wish them the best of luck and can't wait to try it out.

(Hat tip: KG, SMR, AK!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Karamela Awning Goes Up at 1250 S. Michigan

A reader recently sent us an email letting us know that the brown paper has been taken off of the cafe that was rumored to be coming to 1250 S. Michigan (next to Pita Heaven). Sure enough, it's true and the identity of the new space is called Cafe Karamela. We recently went by to take a look and snap some pictures:
The sign in the door states describes the concept as "New, Trendy, Unique and Exciting". We know the first adjective is correct, but we will have to wait and see about the last three.

Hopefully it's true.

(Hat tip: SB!)

Monday, April 9, 2012

National Veteran's Art Museum at 18th and Indiana to Move

We've been to the recreation center at 18th and Indiana many times, but have never been to the portion dedicated to the National Veterans Art Museum. Guess we will have to head there soon before they move out according to ABC7:
After calling the South Loop home for 16 years, the National Veterans Art Museum has to move out.

The space at 18th and Indiana, owned by the Chicago Park District, will become a much-needed neighborhood recreation center now that the museum's lease is up.

"Our lease was scheduled to up at the end of April this year, but we needed a little bit more time to identify a new home and so the Park District was kind enough to extend it to the end of August of this year," Levi Moore, executive director, said.
For more background on the museum take a look at this video:

It sounds like the split was amicable, but the article doesn't really say what will become of the "much-needed" space. Anyone have any updates?

Anyway, it would be nice if the museum could stay in the neighborhood. We will see.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Congrats to Overflow Coffee on their One Year Anniversary

We recently read about Overflow Coffee's one year anniversary and wanted to give them a shout out from the folks at Sloopin. We've been many times and truly enjoy what they're doing. Best of luck in the future and see you soon!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gino's East to Replace Edwardo's in Printers Row

We will keep the retail theme going for this week thanks to an email from a reader that referred us to a post from Eater Chicago stating that a new concept from Gino's East will be replacing the old Edwardo's at 521 S. Dearborn:
Edwardo's Natural Pizza, which closed its Printers Row location a few weeks ago after about 25 years, is currently undergoing a major transformation and will emerge as a new, more localized version of Gino's East. An upscale sports bar will open in about six to eight weeks in the historic landmark building.

Both restaurants are owned and operated by Bravo Restaurants, which also operates the recently made over Eduardo's Enoteca. Noah Himmel is behind the renovation and wants to offer a place for locals who don't want to stand in an hour-long line with the many tourists who frequent the Downtown locations. "I'm trying to develop the concept that'll be more localized and fits in the community where it's placed," Himmel said. "We're doing that by changing the decor and the food and beverage program to fit within the neighborhood."
Seems like a good idea and something that would work well in this stretch. It still amazes us that Dearborn isn't more of a booming retail stretch for this neighborhood. It seems like such an enticing retail corridor. Maybe rents are too high?

(Image from Eater Chicago)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Put it On to open at 1319 S. Michigan Avenue and will Focus on Kids Clothes and Accessories

The retail news continues to trickle in this week. This time a reader sent us a quick note about a new store at 1319 S. Michigan Ave:
New store opening at 1319 S. Michigan Ave. Children's and kids clothes and accessories. Opens mid April.
The store is called "Put It On!" and will be selling women's clothing and accessories as well as infant through age 7 clothing, accessories, and toys/giftware.

We actually went by the space yesterday and took a couple quick photos and looks like racks have been installed on the walls (which seems to validate the email we received):
Doesn't look very kid friendly yet, but maybe the finishing touches will change that.

(Hat tip: AM!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Square One is Ready to Evolve to What the Neighborhood Needs

The more we hear about the new bar, Square One at 1400 S. Michigan, the more we like (via Chicago Magazine):
When you’re opening a bar, you’ve got to start somewhere, so why not Square One (1400 S. Michigan Ave.; no phone yet), a bar scheduled to open in mid-May, from the owners Alex Hernandez and Ron Vaisman. They plan a warm-wood, aged-leather wine bar with temperature- and air-controlled wine stations allowing self-service wine pours of any amount. About 60 seats inside and 30 outside on 14th Street have table service for a simple menu of charcuterie, cheeses, and spreads. Hernandez, who also owns Waffles and manages at Japonais, says they hope to adapt according to the needs of what they consider an underserved South Loop. “We want to evolve and see what the neighborhood wants,” he says. “If there is a need for sushi, we will do that, but we want to do it right.” And if they need to go all the way back to square one, at least they already have the name.

First off, glad to hear that they're still planning on a mid-May opening. Second, we've been impressed with Waffles thus far, so have high hopes for Square One.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Roosevelt Collection Retail Leaked? or a Late April Fools?

We spared our readers the typical shenanigans of April fools this year (not so lucky last year), but last night a reader posted on our Facebook page, saying that she heard that some shops have signed leases at Roosevelt Collection:
So, I hear that these shops have signed leases for Roosevelt Collection.
  • Ulta
  • H&M
  • Vapiano
  • Ann Taylor
  • White House Black Market
  • Lululemon
  • Z Gallerie
  • Yard House
  • Aveda
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Republic of Couture
  • Anthropologie
  • Arhaus
  • Sports Authority
  • Lettuce Entertain You
  • The Limited
  • Victoria's Secret
  • Jos. A. Bank

We're not sure if this is a late April fools joke, but if this is true, wow! This would be great news for shopping and the overall vibrancy of the neighborhood. Even if half of them are true, we would be happy.

If you're a loyal reader you know that Roosevelt Collection has stated that their goal is to have 75% of the retail space leased and opened by November 1st, 2012. We haven't heard much on the retail front, but hopefully they hit their goal (with or without some of the stores listed above)!

(Hat tip: KL!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why a CTA Stop at 18th Isn't Happening

We posted about the community meeting on the Green Line stop at Cermak and for those of you who are interested in what was discussed, the Chicago Journal has a good recap.

Many Sloopin readers preferred a stop at 18th, but we've read that it's not feasible? For more on that, here you go:
The main problem is that a station at 18th would sit just next to the point in the CTA system where the Orange Line splits off to the southwest of the Green Line, according to the CTA’s manager of planning, Joe Iacobucci. Putting a new stop in at 18th would require a completely new switching mechanism — including requiring an employee to run what’s now an automatic switch.

“The new switch would have to be manned,” Iacobucci said at the meeting. “It would cause additional complications with a system that runs pretty smoothly right now.”

Additionally, since there used to be a Green Line station at Cermak, the CTA has the rights to enough land around the proposed site to build a new station without having to buy any land. At 18th, the CTA would have to buy property in order to build a new station — the right of way is at least 10 feet too narrow to build a station there now, Iacobucci said.
Beyond that, the Cermak stop makes sense for many reasons including the city's plan for Motor Row and McCormick Place.

Forever Yogurt in the Sloop? Website Says Coming Soon!

A reader writes:
Can you guys do a post on Forever Yogurt opening up in the South Loop? I don't know where it will be or when but, their website says coming soon. Hopefully you have the connections to find out!!

Forever Yogurt is by far the best yogurt I've ever had...I'm VERY excited they are putting one in our neighborhood and I hope we can get some publicity on it so that people will go to it. There is one that I go to now on Chicago (I think Chicago and Wabash'ish). The red velvet is the best, but mom's cake batter is amazing too!

I went to Yogen Fruz last night at State and Van Buren with a friend after dinner and it was so expensive!! It was $7.50 for a medium cup. At least at Forever you can get your own, they weigh it, you can put whatever toppings you want on it. I don't think I've ever paid more than $4.50 for my cup and I like to put a lot of yogurt in it.
This is great news! Does anyone have the scoop on where this might be going in?

(Hat tip: CS!)