Friday, November 30, 2012

Bike Lane Striping on Dearborn Happening this Weekend!

Well it appears that our skepticism about the bike lane on Dearborn being done in 2012 (see post here) was unfounded.  We got an email from Lee Cardwell, Director of Campaigns at the Active Transportation Alliance, letting us know that the city will be move forward with bike line striping this weekend:
The Active Transportation Alliance, Chicagoland’s voice for better biking, walking and transit, praises Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti for installing the Loop’s first protected bike lane on Dearborn Street. The Chicago Department of Transportation announced today that it will stripe the new 1.15-mile bikeway this weekend. 
After the announcement of the Dearborn bikeway in August, nearly 4,700 people signed a petition supporting the project. By staying on schedule to complete the project before the New Year, the mayor is keeping his commitment to create safer streets where Chicagoans of all ages can bike safely and comfortably in their neighborhoods.
While it's getting a little cold for us to ride bikes, we're excited to see this happen and look forward to using the bike lane... albeit probably in the spring!

Cali's Mexican American Grill Opens in Motor Row

A reader writes about a recent addition to Motor Row -- Cali's Mexican and American Grill (2333 S. Michigan Ave.):
Just wanted to give you and other readers a heads up that a restaurant that you reported on a couple months ago has opened in Motor Row. I know that its not technically a South Loop location but it isn’t far either and their tacos are spot on plus the price is right!! I took some pictures on a visit there the other night and thought I would submit them to you. While we dined in a couple people stopped to place carry out orders but I’d really like to give this place some business and keep something authentic open in Motor Row with the hopes that new places will take to the idea!
Looking forward to trying some delicious tacos!

(Hat tip: EH!)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

DePaul Basketball Stadium Talks Heat-up

It's good to be loved and apparently DePaul's basketball team is!

Various influential people have been in discussions with officials at DePaul about where their basketball team is going to play after their All-State arena lease expires in 2015.  Chicago Business has a juicy article and video providing the latest:

It's definitely a good place to be in  from DePaul's perspective.  Most interestingly is how it appears to be pitting the mayor and governor against two of Chicago sports most powerful people (Jerry Reinsdorf - owner of the Bulls/Sox and Rocky Wirtz - owner of the Blackhawks).  Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

According to the article DePaul is apparently leaning towards the option to have it's own stadium in our neighborhood::
The owners of the United Center have offered DePaul University 10 years free rent and a court-full of other perks if they'll move Blue Demons basketball games to the United Center, according to sources close to the matter. 
But DePaul reportedly still is leaning toward an alternate location, a new arena that would be built for it near McCormick Place, even though the school would have to come up with a reported $75 million toward construction costs. 
That's the latest in the fast-moving story about the all-out competition to lure the Blue Demons from where they now play in Rosemont — a competition in which Gov. Pat Quinn has joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel in playing a key behind-the-scenes role. 
So what will the impact be on the Sloop.  From what we can tell it would probably be positive.  As we continue to say, the more people in the neighborhood, the more businesses will spring up and the more amenities the neighborhood will have.

From a political standpoint, it's clear that the Mayor and Governor see this as a way to bolster Motor Row and the broader McCormick Place business.

So what can you as a Slooper do?  Make your voice heard.  Luckily the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance has a survey that they want residents to fill out.  We've taken the survey and recommend that you do to.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Roosevelt Collection Announces Variety of Retail Tenants

After years of speculation, tonight proved to be a big step forward for Roosevelt Collection and the Sloop.  At a private event at the ShowPlace ICON movie theaters, the management team at McCaffery Interests confirmed that 56% of the retail space had been leased to the following tenants:

A pretty impressive list if you ask us.

What else was learned tonight?  Well it's still going to be a little time before any of the store actually open.  According to the press release the target date for opening is Autumn 2013.   Also mentioned was another round of announcement in 4-5 months.  Obviously nothing was promised, but they seemed optimistic on this subject.

Our initial thoughts are job well done.  These are all quality stores and definitely a step in the right direction for the retail scene on Roosevelt.

Our second thought immediately goes to some of the other stores that were rumored but not announced.  Lululemon, Lettuce Entertain You restaurant and the elephant in the room, Apple Inc.  Crain's adds this about the latter retail establishment:
Mr. McCaffery added that he is not currently in talks with Apple, saying discussions that the technology company would open a retail location in Roosevelt Collection had always been speculative.
Strange about the Apple thing.  Seems like a couple people jumped the gun earlier this year.  The other strange piece of news is the lack of a commitment from YardHouse.  Back in late August a reader tipped us to the locations site of YardHouse's website and sure enough it said "opening in 2013 at Roosevelt Collection".  That was shortly removed and apparently isn't happening for the time being.  Strange.

So what do you think?  Is this what you expected?

Progress is progress.  Kudos to McCaffery Interests and the Roosevelt Collection team!

The Record Stops Spinning at H+ Records (730 S. Dearborn)

A reader writes about a recent closing in Printers Row:
H+ Records Closed
Walked by this morning, and everything was gone. No info on their site, facebook or twitter. Sad to see them go, but not terribly surprised. Printers Row needs a Card Shop or a Coffee shop...something more suited for the residents. 
For some background, here is a post we did last year in September when they signed their lease.

Anyway, this is unfortunate.  We liked the store and enjoyed the unique offering H+ provided to the neighborhood.  Anyone have any additional information on this closing?

(Hat tip: TR!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Progress on Dearborn Bike Lane -- But Doubtful it Will be Done in 2012

We love that the Sloop continues to become more bike friendly.  In our opinion it makes our neighborhood and city feel more international.  Most importantly it offers alternative modes of transportation and makes people less reliant on their cars.  

One of the biggest developments on this front was the announcement that Dearborn would become a two-way bike street.  Some have even gone on to say this is a "game changer" for biking in the city of Chicago.  While we could see why they would feel this way, we will take a more cautious view.  Regardless, it's good for bike enthusiasts.

New Bike Stop Lights Being Installed on Dearborn
(Photo from GRID Chicago)
The blog GRID Chicago recently had a post providing some updates on the project (including pictures of the new bike stop lights that are being installed).  The  most interesting piece in the post was a relatively vague update on the timing of the project:
I talked to one worker and asked about the construction timeline. He said, “Rumorville says ASAP. First the striping needs to be done, and that has to wait for several 50 degree days”. He also explained that the signal programming is still be designed. This being fall, there aren’t many of those days left before the end of the year, before which Mayor Emanuel said the cycle track would be complete. The 5-day forecast shows all 50+ degree days, including a high of 61 on Friday.
So what we read from this is that it's extremely unlikely that this will be finishing up in 2012.  But that's fine as long as progress continues to happen.

While some people ride their bikes in the winter...most of us do not and can happily wait until the spring!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Little-Known Way to Earn Money on the Side:
Focus Groups

Sponsored Post

It's the holiday season and that means money can be tight.  Well we have a potential solution for paid to be in a focus group.  We know we've got some great readers with very strong opinions, so why not register and get paid to share them:
CHICAGO, Illinois (November 26th, 2012) - Focus groups are an often overlooked way to make money on the side, especially in Chicago where more than 30 marketing research companies have established focus group facilities. 
Individuals that participate in focus groups and interviews earn anywhere from $75 to $450 for sharing their opinions in sessions that last between 30 minutes and 3 hours. The average money earned per focus group or interview is $137. 
“I looked at it as a fun way to earn extra money and be part of something that would be important to someone else,” says Glenn Raposa, who recently participated in a focus group that emulated a mock jury. “It was important subject matter, and you had to keep on top of it. I was happy with the compensation.”

Participating in paid focus groups and interviews helps major brands and businesses evaluate and adjust their products before sending them back to market. Businesses host focus groups and interviews on topics already familiar to most Chicagoan’s: cars, entertainment, food, shopping, social issues, politics, healthcare, medicine, and more. 
“I enjoyed being able to have a real discussion about the show we watched,” said Dianna Keeler. She added that the focus group was also a learning experience. After participating, Keeler says she realized that “what draws women into certain TV shows is a strong, relatable female character.” 
Keeler isn’t the only one who took more away from the experience than money. “The feedback by other focus group members was my favorite part, and how people see things differently on the same subject,” says Raposa. 
“My friends have different tastes, so I would recommend them to do a focus group if they qualify,” he continued. 
To begin participating in focus groups and interviews, individuals must create an online demographic profile that tells the marketing research company what types of focus groups they best match with. After sign up, the individual receives online questionnaires that help match them to appropriate focus groups. When matched, the individual participates in the focus group session and receives money for their time. 
Focus Pointe Global (FPG) has facilitated thousands of focus groups in Chicago since 2004. Last month, more than 1600 people visited the FPG Chicago facility to participate in paid marketing research projects. For more information about Focus Pointe Global, visit For more information about available focus groups in Chicago, visit

Fleet Feet Coming to Roosevelt Collection in Spring of 2013

It's a big week for retail news in the Sloop as we're expecting to hear an announcement on retail at Roosevelt Collection on Wednesday evening.  And given this news, we thought we would start the week out with a post about one new retailer who has already apparently let the cat out of the bag, Fleet Feet (via their locations page on their website):
We currently have two locations in the Chicago area, and have just announced the opening of our third location in the South Loop at the Roosevelt Collection in Spring of 2013. For location and information about each store, click the links below. Address and contact information for the South Loop location comming (SIC) soon!
We've heard great things about this store and are glad they decided that the Sloop was a good spot for their third store.  We know they're serious about running and their are a ton of runners in the neighborhood, so this seems like a good fit.

Stay tuned for additional information this week -- should be a good week for the retail scene in the Sloop!

(Hat tip:  DG, Mike, SH!)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sing-Along for A Great Cause @ Second Presbyterian Church

An email for a great cause:
Dear Sloopin, 
Second Presbyterian Church is renewing its long-time tradition of hosting the Sing-Along Messiah on Sunday, December 2 at 3:30 p.m. 
Attached is a flyer (right) with the most essential information. Could you help us with some publicity as we seek to feed the hungry and support the Greater Chicago Food Depository with this benefit concert. 
Thank you in advance. 
David Neff
Interim Pastor

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from Your Friends at Sloopin!

Whether you're staying in the Sloop or going somewhere else, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving!  Most of all, we wanted to say that we're thankful for all of our great readers and contributors.  Without you, we wouldn't Thanks!

And just for good measure we thought we would say thanks by posting an amazing viral video to remind everyone about how great the internet can be (and if you're not patient enough to make it through the whole song, maybe just fast forward to her rap at 2:29):

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

7-11 Coming to Southeast Corner of State & 8th?

Image from Google Maps
A reader writes:
You might already know about this, but a new 7-11 is going to open in the corner space on State St at 8th (next to the Lou Malnati's, same building as XSport gym and Jimmy Green's). 
As you know, there's already a 7-11 at Dearborn & Harrison, and one at the University Center on State St between Harrison and Congress, but I guess they're opening another. Makes me feel a bit bad for the relatively new Urban Grocers that opened next to Jimmy Johns on State St. just a few meters away.
This is news to us, but isn't surprising.  It seems like a pretty good spot for a convenience store.  Obviously something else would be ideal.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Toppers Pizza Opens on South State

This is slight old news, but for the pizza/breadsticks lovers Toppers Pizza (2 east eighth street) is now open on South State street.  They opened on November 7th.  Has anyone tried anything from here?

...and our business counter is updated to reflect this.

Are there any other business openings/closings we've missed this year?  It's getting down to the end of the year and want to try to capture the retail environment as best as we can.

Monday, November 19, 2012

UIC Plans to Build Research Facility at Roosevelt and Halsted

Not quite in the Sloop, but still worth a mention...UIC plans to build a huge new research facility at the corner of Roosevelt and Halsted (via Skyscrapge Page and Curbed Chicago):
Another UIC surface lot will soon meet its maker. Over at Skyscraper Page, user Kippis has come through with a sole rendering of the new Advanced Chemical Technology Building (ACTB). The state-of-the-art research facility is slated for a vacant lot on Halsted just north of Roosevelt. It's designed to promote collaboration and innovation among scientists from various disciplines, including chemistry, biology, and physics. Sounds combustable! The new building will generate 300 jobs and cost $104M, with the state kicking in $64M. Groundbreaking is planned for mid-2013, and construction is expected to last 30 months.
Good stuff.

Friday, November 16, 2012

YoChicago Brings us a Good Picture of the South Loop Renters Market

We stumbled upon a great post from YoChicago recently and thought Sloopers would be curious to know what the rental market looks like.  While some of us are owners and some renters, it's always good to be informed on the real estate happenings in your hood.

They have a nifty spreadsheet that gives you some good perspective:
If you want to rent in the South Loop you can skip Craigslist and the apartment finders / rental services and check YoChicago’s South Loop availability list. 
There are only a dozen large apartment complexes in the South Loop, and we’ve listed all of them in this Google spreadsheet, and checked what’s available for rent, and what the rents are, in all of them. The spreadsheet is accurate as of the close of business yesterday. Rents listed are for 12-month leases for apartments available now through next month. All of the buildings accept cats and dogs subject, in some cases, to weight and breed restrictions.
We agree that Craigslist can be very misleading and borderline fraudulent.  However, if you're looking to find a unit that's not in one of the "large apartment complexes" you might have to brave Craigslist.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beer from Hops Grown at the Shedd Aquarium?

Image from Chicagoist (Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez)
An interesting blurb from one of Chicago's most venerable institutions that is in our backyard (via Chicagoist):
Shedd Aquarium’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond their oceanariums. The Shedd Gardens are a treasure trove of native plants and produce that provide pesticide-free shelter for lakefront wildlife and help feed the creatures inside the aquarium’s walls. 
One of the more curious plantings in the Shedd Gardens are hops which were planted a decade ago to dress up the garden’s walls. According to Shedd Aquarium spokeswoman Elise Waugh, they don't know what type of hops they are. "When we planted them, we tried out five different types and we don't know which ones took root."
Revolution Brewery is the partner on this project and the beer will be available on November 28th at Revolution's locations and at select bars/restaurants across the city.  It should also be noted that $1 will be donated to the Shedd for each pint sold.  Drinking for a cause...we love it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Acadia Earns One Star in the 2013 Michelin Guide

Image from
Pop the champagne, Acadia (1639 S. Wabash), one of the Sloop's newest fine dining establishments, has earned a star in the 2013 Michelin Guide.  This is a huge honor for the restaurant as it was one of only 19 restaurants to be included in the list this year.

The Tribune has a good article about Michelin and their "most prestigious restaurant-rating operation in the world":
Receiving but a single Michelin star elevates the restaurant in prestige, and the financial impact can be considerable; foreign visitors in particular are sensitive to Michelin’s mandates.
Conversely, the absence of a Michelin star, or, worse, the loss of a previously earned star, can be devastating to a restaurant’s ego, though the effect on the bottom line is less certain. Local residents continue to be the life’s blood of all but the most rarefied restaurants in town.
Eater Chicago has a good Acadia quote from an interview that they conducted with one of the anonymous Michelin editors:
The editor seemed really excited about Acadia and Sixteen and hopes to continue to see them move up. She also thought Goosefoot "was really nice as well" and likes "seeing Chris Nugent really doing his own thing, different from what he was doing at Les Nomades." Also seeing its star rise this year was Mexique, Carlos Gaytan's West Town French-inspired Mexican spot. "We are super excited about Mexique," the editor said. "We really wanted to find another Mexican restaurant to give a star to. Chicago has great Mexican food."

Let's also not forget that Everest (440 S. Franklin) received a star again.  While it's not in the Sloop, it's pretty damn close.

Exciting times for Acadia.  Congrats to them on their big honor and bringing some dining pride to the Sloop.

Now if they could just get the city to work on that promised park next door...

(Hat tip:  BT, RK, BR!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

HELP! How To Get Rid of Old Electronics in the Sloop?

A reader needs help unloading an ancient piece of technology:
We have a big tube tv we need to get rid of (donation places won't take electronics more than 7 years old).
Anyone know of anyone who will pick up/dispose of? 
The only option I have found is the city electronic recycling sites, but the TV is too big/heavy to fit in our car. Any readers have suggestions?? 
The only thing that comes to mind would be Craigslist.  Anyone else have any ideas?

(Hat tip: JR!)

Roosevelt U's Goodman Center Looks Nice but Small

Image of Goodman Center at the Southeast corner of Congress and Wabash (photo via Curbed Chicago)
A couple of weeks ago Curbed Chicago checked in on the new Goodman Center, Roosevelt University's new Basketball facility, at 50 E. Congress Parkway:
Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), the new athletic facility will serve as the future home of Roosevelt University's basketball team, the Lakers. Quite a bit of work has transpired since our visit to the site in late June. Exterior work is nearly complete, and we're on board with the irregularly fenestrated facade, which matches up very closely with the renderings. In addition to a 500-seat gym with retractable bleachers, the 27,834-square foot structure will house administrative offices, a training room, student lounge, meeting rooms, and locker rooms. It is scheduled to open its doors in December.
It sure was completed fast and generally speaking we also like the looks of the building.  While it serves it's purpose, it doesn't really add much to the Sloop in our opinion.  However, it does take away one more empty lot which we like.

The strangest thing in our mind is how small the facility is.  It seems like an expensive structure on a very prime piece of real estate to build a 500 seat gym.  My high-school teams gym drew more than 500 people. If they built a bigger gym, maybe they could have hosted concerts or something.

Apparently they know something we don't.

Monday, November 12, 2012

No More "America's Dog" at BP Gas Station -- Re-branding to "Urban Counter"?

A couple people have noticed that the "America's Dog" signs at the BP gas station (Southeast corner of Roosevelt and Wabash) have been covered up.  If you recall, the hot dog spot opened a couple of months ago in August.

While it's still functional and serving food, the owners have decided to go in a different direction.  Not sure why, but from what we've been told it's going to have a broader menu and potentially will be called "Urban Counter".

Saturday, November 10, 2012

South Loop Businesses Work Locally to Impact International Change in Education

We love it when people in our community chip in and make a difference.  We like it better when it's a broader coordinated effort.  We recently heard about some local businesses that are teaming up for a great cause:
Gaurang Patel, the Principal of South Loop CPA, has joined together with local South Loop businesses to support Chicago non-profit, Link Community Development USA (Link USA). Link works with governments and communities to transform education systems in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on serving the most poor and marginalized children in rural areas. Currently reaching over 4,000 schools in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda, Link is making great strides to improve the quality of education for all. 
Gaurang’s passion for promoting education was spurred by his upbringing in Zimbabwe. Political and economic instability in his home country taught Gaurang first-hand the importance of education: basic skills acquired in the classroom – skills that we take for granted every day – can create opportunities to transform lives and escape poverty. While his commitment spans continents, Gaurang became involved locally through the London School of Economics alumni group. He is now a member of the Link USA Board of Directors, headquartered in downtown Chicago. 
Gaurang partnered South Loop CPA with Link USA to show his support for quality education and encourages other business owners to follow his lead. He supports Link USA because it “creates the hope for an underprivileged child to move forward” by leveraging innovative US- based education initiatives and resources in support of Link’s international programs. 
Sixpax core and Pilates studio (1329 S. Michiagn Ave) in the South Loop is also promoting Link USA for the month of November in conjunction with Link USA’s Annual Appeal (Nov 1st through Dec 31st). Along with providing Pilates to the South Loop neighborhood, Sixpax believes in the importance of giving back to the community. Through their “Reach Out. Give Back.” program, Sixpax chooses a local organization to feature each month. This November, Sixpax will reward customers for getting involved and donating to Link USA – even giving free classes and private Pilates sessions for donations of $15 and $45 respectively. 
Local resident and Stella & Dot Independent Stylist, Tracey Harkins, is eager to contribute to Link USA’s mission and is hosting a jewelry trunk show, donating her commission from all sales to Link USA. The event takes place in the South Loop neighborhood on Tuesday evening, November 8th and will help kick-off the Link USA Annual Appeal. If you’re interested in attending, or want to shop online for a great cause, email Link USA at
Inspired by their commitment, these other local businesses have also joined in promoting and supporting Link USA: Well Future Pharmacy, Sloop Dental, The Silver Room in Wicker Park and Holland & Knight Law Firm
Add your name to the list by partnering your business with Link USA, or donate now to invest in education today: 
Any business or individual to donate $100 or more will be recognized in the Link USA December newsletter.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Roosevelt Collection Update and the Roosevelt Road Viaduct

A couple days ago we got an email inviting us to join Dan McCaffery, the head of McCaffery interests and owner of Roosevelt Collection, for a private event on November 28th to announce the future of the development as well as retail tenants.  Needless to say, we're excited to hear what is in store.

We've posted about the topic many many many times and it will be good to squash rumors and hear some news straight from the horses mouth.  Stay tuned.

Image from Architecture Chicago Plus
On a different note, but along the same lines, we wanted to post a quick link to a fascinating post by Architecture Chicago Plus about Roosevelt Collection and "The Roosevelt Road Viaduct":
The Roosevelt Road viaduct is another example of Chicago's man-made levels. It goes on for blocks, towering above Dearborn Park, over once endless strands of railroad tracks now mostly gone, and on to the approach to the bridge over the Chicago River.
In the middle of that viaduct is The Roosevelt Collection, a mixed use development with 342 residential units and nearly 400,000 square feet of retail space, A. Epstein, RTKL and Hirsch Associates, architects. While it has a new Target to the east, the complex, whose site plan looks like an oversized clothespin, otherwise lies within a moat of some of Chicago's largest tracts of undeveloped land.

The post goes on to walk you through the history of the road and leaves us with a critical jab at its current state:
Right now, the Roosevelt viaduct is an anti-urban disconnect from the fabric of the city, just as the retail to the west of the river veers towards an anti-urban, shopping-within-a-sea-of-parking vibe. Assuming all those vacant tracts around the Roosevelt viaduct eventually begin to fill up, the city needs something more than a development-by-development improvisation, lest the district become just a series of insular, self-contained mega-projects, existing in near-perfect isolation one to another. That's the profile of a second-rate suburb, not a great city. All the parcels will be developed separately, but continuity counts. Chicago needs a plan and a set of guidelines to stitch this tabula rasa together if the Roosevelt Viaduct District is to realize its potential as one the city's great neighborhoods.
We understand what the writer is saying, but don't think it's that bad.  Yes, it could be better and more "urban" but personally we appreciate the convenience that comes with a commercial corridor like Roosevelt Road could become.

While most urbanophiles love local, small stores with character (as do we), the reality is that most people still flee their area for the convenience of big box stores.  The challenge in our opinion is to build up Roosevelt Road, but keep the North/South streets more "local" and "urban".  If you walk down State, Wabash, Dearborn and Michigan Avenue you get this.  It could be better, but it's slowly getting their.

Hopefully Roosevelt Road corridor continues to develop and becomes a shopping destination, bringing people around the city to our neighborhood.  If the people come all the businesses in the area will benefit.

What do you think?  Disagree?  Agree?  Tough to tell?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

City Tavern & Opart Thai Receive 2013 Bib Gourmand

It's restaurant rating season and one of the most coveted awards, the 2013 Michelin Guide, is set to be announced next week (November 14th).  However, before this happens (via Chicago Tribune):
A week in advance of the release of the 2013 Michelin Guide, the highly respected restaurant rating group announced the recipients of its Bib Gourmand designations. given to inspectors’ favorites that deliver good value. 
The star designations, which will be announced Nov. 14, are the gold standard for restaurants. But the Bib Gourmand designations are nevertheless significant, as they indicate quality restaurants that are affordable (less than $40 for two courses plus dessert).
Image from City Tavern Facebook Page
We're proud to post that the Sloop has added a new restaurant to the list, City Tavern (1416 S. Michigan).  This is a huge honor for the restaurant.  We've been pretty impressed with their fare and hope the good work continues.

Besides this new restaurant another South Loop restaurant, Opart Thai (1906 S. State), has received the designation again.  They also received it in 2011 and 2012 editions.

Beyond that, two close-to-the-Sloop Chinatown restaurants have also been awarded the Bib Gourmand designation -- Lao Sze Chuan (2171 S. Archer) and newcomer to the list Lao Hunan (2230 S. Wentworth).

The big anticipation is for the Michelin Guide stars next week.  Everest (440 S. Franklin), which is just North of what we consider the Sloop, has received a star in the past.  Besides that our neighborhood has been void of this recognition.

Some people thought Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan) was worthy of a star...but has not received one.

This years biggest hope -- Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) -- the new dining gem of the South Loop.

We shall find out soon!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Judge Gives Developer Additional Time to Make Case for McCormick Place Development/Hotel

Image from Crain's Chicago
A couple of weeks ago we posted about revised plans for a development by McCormick place.  Well the judge came back and said the developers can have a little longer to present their case (from the Chicago Tribune):
A federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday gave the owner of prime property just north of McCormick Place four more weeks to show that their plans for a convention hotel, a smaller boutique hotel and a data center are financially plausible. 
Judge Jack Schmetterer gave Olde Prairie Block Owner LLC, led by developers Pam Gleichman, Karl Norbert and Gunnar Falk, until Dec. 4 to provide further evidence that their most recent plan to repay lenders in full and start development has credible financial underpinnings. 
The owners "are now presenting a plan with stronger prospects, though it is very incomplete at this stage," said the judge, who has rejected earlier reorganization proposals.
The saga continues...

Mysterious Brown Paper on the Windows of Old Grant Park Cleaners (State & Roosevelt)

The mysterious brown paper has now gone up on the windows at the little retail building at the corner of State and Roosevelt (3 E. State).  This was the old space of Grant Park Cleaners, which closed last year.

It's some primo real estate and seems perfect for a coffee shop or some sort of convenient food joint.  We're not sure if this means that something is coming or if the owners simply put this up so peepers don't creep on the space.  

Anyone have insight?

This seems like a big opportunity for this intersection.  If they could get a good tenant, it would really be a boon for this intersection.  In our opinion this stretch of State street is really lacking compared to Wabash which seems to continually get better. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Your Vote is Needed...for Acadia to be Eater Chicago's Restaurant of the Year

The blog, Eater Chicago, is conducting their annual restaurant of the year awards and the Sloop's fine dinning gem, Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) is one of five being considered.

Right now, they're in last place.  We call upon you, our loyal Sloopers to help a brother out.

Voting is only open for 24 hours, so no time to procrastinate!

UPDATE - Good work Sloopsters!  When we posted yesterday, Acadia was at roughly 14% and in last place.  Fast forward to the end of the poll and Acadia was at 20% and in the third place.  What does this mean?  They are one of the three finalists and in contention for the editors of Eater Chicago to decide "restaurant of the year".  Solid performance!

Shots Around the Sloop: Lining Up for America

New South Entrance to Orange/Green CTA Stop Now Open

CTA Orange and Green line riders who live South of Roosevelt are probably a little happier now (me included).  The new South Roosevelt entrance to the Orange and Green line is now open.

It looks pretty good to us.  Nothing fancy, but it's all we need.

While it probably won't stop everyone from jaywalking across Roosevelt, it's gotta help.  I must admit, I was a jaywalker...thanks to this new entrance now I'm not.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Progress at Spanglish...Opening in November?

Spanglish, the rumored restaurant at 555. S State, has been a topic we've covered on Sloopin since July of 2011.  Last year we thought they might open up in September 2011 (via metromix).  That didn't happen.

Then this year another restaurateur told us that Spanglish was going to open on Cinco de Mayo.  That didn't happen.

A perceptive reader posted a picture on our message board (see picture to the left) and we also saw lights on as well.  So judging by the progress and build-out inside the restaurant finally looks like it might open.  The reader also noted a post on Metromix saying that they were going to open in November.

While it's possible, we're still not optimistic.  Hopefully we're wrong because damn I love tacos.

(Hat tip:  Bingo!)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

This Week on the Sloopin Message Board (w/o 10/22 & 10/29)

It's been two weeks since we did a "this week" post and there has been some good discussion lately.

Our favorite thread goes to a potential new neighbor who is contemplating the Sloop vs. the West Loop:

Here are some other solid topics from the past two weeks:

Friday, November 2, 2012

More Talk About Building Up Area Around McCormick Place

Talk continue to swirl about building up the area around McCormick Place, this time from McPier CEO Jim Reilly (via Chicago Tribune):
Image from Chicago Tribune
McCormick Place officials are aiming to vastly expand the amenities surrounding the convention complex to include more hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and an arena that could host large-scale corporate assemblies and potentially such collegiate sports as DePaul Blue Demons basketball, its top executive told the business community on Tuesday. 
"What Las Vegas has that we don't have is a mega-hotel complex where 3,000 people can meet, eat, be entertained and sleep without ever going outside," Jim Reilly, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the state-city agency that owns McCormick Place and Navy Pier, said at a City Club luncheon. Orlando now offers similar amenities, he added.
While this is encouraging, talk is cheap.  We've been hearing about this for years now and as far as we can tell little action is really happening (here, here, here, here and ok we're bored with posting links).

We're probably being impatient, but there are only so many stories like this that we can read (well i guess not since it feels like this is pretty much all we read in regard to the topic).

To be a little more rational about this topic, this type of stuff obviously takes a long time to materialize.  To the credit of the city, the new Green line CTA stop at State and Cermak is progress.

We will continue to follow this story as it obviously is important to the continued evolution of our neighborhood.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Old Courthouse at 1340 S. Michigan to Finally be Renovated?

Could one of the more prominent, large and empty buildings on South Michigan be getting some rennovation activity?  According to city records (via Everyblock) it looks like it could:

Wow, this is surprising!

Last we heard this piece of land was being auctioned off.  That was just over two years ago!

The building has become more and more dilapidated since then and we were starting to think it would simply have to be torn down -- whenever someone cared enough about the land.

Judging from this permit, it seems like it will become a multi-use office, residential and retail space.

Hopefully this actually happens.  It's a good looking building on a pretty ugly stretch of Michigan Avenue right now.  Rennovating this building would go a long way to improving the streetscape.

Anyone have any other details on this?

(Hat tip:  Blarger!)