Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chicago Architecture Blog Provides New Details on "One Triple Three South Wabash"

Chicago Architecture Blog provides some new rendering and some tidbits on the proposed rental tower dubbed "One Triple Three South Wabash":
Image via Chicago Architecture Blog
Some tidbits from the article:

  • There will be no curb cuts on Wabash Street. All loading and vehicular access will be through the alley running parallel to South Michigan and South Wabash Avenues. 
  • 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. Probably a single shop. 
  • 100% green roof on the tower. 
  • Common area on the podium roof, with a dog run. 
  • Facade is all glass. Using a combination of opaque, clear, and translucent panels. The previous plan had reflective glass, too, but this has been eliminated. The various panels will be arranged in a seemingly random pattern so the building is more visible to birds. 
  • The glass podium of the facade will be backlit at night so the building casts a soft glow onto Wabash Avenue. 
  • 65% of the apartments will have one bedroom and be about 700 square feet with rents around $1,750. 
  • 30% of the apartments will have two bedrooms and be about 1,200 square feet with rents around $2,300. 
  • 5% of the apartments will have three bedrooms. 
  • The developer hopes to get city approval next month, and start construction in the fall. 
  • The first people should be able to move in a year after construction starts. 
  • The building is expected to take 18 months to build. 
  • No public parking is planned.

For some historical context on this land and what was planned to be here check out this old Sloopin post.

(Hat tip:  BM!)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Some New Art for the Wabash Arts Corridor at 8th and Wabash

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the Wabash Art's Corridor.  With that in mind, a lecturer from Columbia sent us the following email:
Dear Sloopin blog, 
Hope all is well with you. Wanted to let you know that an Interdisciplinary Arts grad class at Columbia created a new temporary art installation at the Papermaker's Garden, located at 8th and Wabash. 
I was the instructor so please be in touch if you'd like more info. I have attached some of my own images FYI. 
Thank you for your consideration, 
Fereshteh Toosi Lecturer
Columbia College Chicago 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shots Around the Sloop: Divergent

We've had a lot of questions about what's going on at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison over the past couple of weeks.  It even garnered some good conversation on the message board.

In case you didn't know, a new movie is shooting in the lot called Divergent.  A reader recently sent us this pic of the set build out:

Here is a recent quick blurb we found when googling the movie (via Entertainment Weekly):
Divergent, the highly anticipated adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s best-selling YA series, only recently began filming on location in Chicago. But Shailene Woodley, who stars as heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior, tells EW that the younger members of the Neil Burger-directed movie — which includes Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Theo James and Zoë Kravitz — have already clicked. “It’s a good group,” she says. “We’re hanging out on weekends, celebrating birthdays. Everyone just wants to get to know one another. It’s rare to get a big group together and not have any conflicts. It’s really kind of amazing.” 
Divergent takes place in a dystopian future where society is divided up into five factions.

(Hat tip: CPM!)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Acadia Brings Their Fine Dining to Brunch

The creative culinary minds at Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) are bringing their talents to the morning:
Acadia will be serving brunch on Sundays only, starting April 28th from 11am - 2pm . Acadia is offering a three course tasting menu for $35 a person. Guest will have a choice of four starting courses and a choice of four main courses and everyone will receive a seasonal tart as dessert .  
Some first course menu items are:
Cured Salmon, Corn Johnny Cake, Curried Egg Salad, Creme Fraiche, caviar
Scotch Duck Egg, Mustard Aioli, Wild Watercress  
Second Course Items include:
Lobster Eggs Benedict, Truffle Hollandaise, Serrano, Country Potatoes  
Acadia Burger - Gruyere Cheese. Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese Mornay, Bacon Onion Jam, Butter Pickles

Sounds like a pretty interesting and delicious way to start a Sunday!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Investor Buys Vacant Office Building on South Michigan; Rental Units Expected

More rental units most likely coming to the Sloop.  In case you missed this story last week here is a blurb and link from Crain's:
Image from Crain's
Apartment investor Marc Realty Residential LLC paid $4.7 million for a vacant seven-story office building in the South Loop, a property poised for conversion to housing.

An affiliate of the Chicago-based company acquired the 146,088-square-foot loft building at 2036 S. Michigan Ave., once home to a Studebaker showroom. MRR declined to discuss its plans for the property, but the firm specializes in rental housing. CBRE Inc., the brokerage that sold the building, pitched it “as an excellent adaptive reuse for conversion to a variety of uses including residential or self-storage.”  
A redevelopment would make sense given the South Loop’s transformation into a residential neighborhood, a process that sped up during the condominium boom of the last decade. The state of Illinois rented space in the building for decades but moved out in 2011.
It's not surprising to see this and while retail development is still slow, things are bound to pick up as the green line stop at Cermak becomes a reality.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chicago's Best Stops at Burger Point & Showcases Some Crazy Burgers

Those are some strange and interesting looking burgers, but we have to admit we're drooling as we write this:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

South Loop Park Updates: Fred Anderson Park, Coliseum Park and Women's Park

There have some recent news and updates on a variety of parks around the neighborhood and we thought we would do a quick post on them.

First off is Fred Anderson Park (between 16th and 18th on Wabash).  Construction for the much anticipated park has been slow moving (and for some controversial), but according to South Loop Dog PAC construction is supposed to commence this summer.  Here is a new plan with points listed below:

  • The small dog area has been expanded a bit. Good news for all the 'small fluffies' in the neighborhood! (a.)
  • There is now one entrance gate, at the southwest corner, shared between the small- and large-dog parks. (b.
  • A bulletin board will be installed at the entrance area. (c.)
  • There will be mounting posts for informational signs at the overlook in the center of the park. South Loop Dog PAC will be assembling material to post there in order to educate kids about dogs and about how to approach them. (d.)
  • An expanded area is now to be covered by dog-friendly artificial grass! This is great news for fetch-driven dogs that might want to play here. The perimeter of the park remains concrete. (e.)
  • There will be an access gate at the east of the park for maintenance, and a second double entry to the dog area. (f.)
  • A space has been designed for a lockbox to store park maintenance materials. (g.)
  • Shade sails will be place throughout the park (light blue triangles in the picture above), including over the performance stage!  There will be benches and tables distributed throughout. (h.)
  • In order to unify the whole area, even the sidewalk along S. Wabash will be integrated as part of the design into the rest of the park. (i.)
  • The water runnels have been reconfigured somewhat; there will be two separate features, one in the small dog area, and one in the large dog area. (j.)

Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens 1801 S. Indiana Ave.
The field house at the Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens would be renovated through $3.8 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance. The three-story structure would receive a new roof, ventilation systems, and masonry repairs, as well as a new fitness center, activity rooms, office space, and restrooms. The upgrades would be in addition to $1.1 million allocated by the Chicago Park District for renovations to the first floor.  
Coliseum Park 1466 S. Wabash Ave. The .6-acre Coliseum Park would be improved with new playground equipment, an expanded dog area, and new landscape upgrades through $500,000 in TIF assistance. The park is named in honor of the Coliseum, an arena and exhibition hall that was a defining feature of South Wabash Avenue until 1982.

We like parks and are excited to see some solid steps forward for these three!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Artists Cafe Provides Solid Options for a Quick Meal

There was a lot of fanfare when Artists Cafe opened at 1150 S. Wabash.  But after that, we had not heard much about the cafe.  The decor looked nice and modern, but beyond that we didn't know what to expect.

Well we've been there twice and after a mediocre first meal, a recent second meal was an upgrade.  As always it takes some time for restaurants (and businesses) to find their groove, so we will definitely give them the benefit of the doubt.

While we're not 100% sure, it seems like the menu has been slightly revamped too.  

For our second trip, we went for polar opposites -- a Harvest Salad and a Sloppy Joe.  Slightly strange, but whatever.

The Harvest Salad was a huge hit.  We are constantly on the lookout for quick, affordable salad options in the neighborhood and Artists Cafe is definitely on our radar for future healthy meals.

The Harvest Salad ($7.95) consists of spinach, fresh strawberries, dried cranberries, pistachios, goat cheese, citrus vinaigrette.  Very fresh and perfect for spring. We opted for an upgrade and added chicken breast ($2 extra) to the order as it was a dinner meal.  

On the other end of the spectrum was the Sloppy Joe ($8.45) which consists of seasoned ground beef simmered in “Sloppy Sauce”, shredded cheddar cheese and crispy fried onions on an old fashioned egg bun.  Maybe not the most exotic meal on the menu, but it was some solid comfort food.

While it seems like an afterthought, the Sloppy Joe came with what appeared to be homemade "Chicago Style Chips".  Yes, this is typically a standard for a sandwhich, but when we ordered a sandwich on our first visit it came a la carte.  At least you get something to nosh on now besides the sandwich.

There is also some delicious looking gelato which we didn't get a chance to sample, but hopefully will on our next visit.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Printer's Row Lit Fest Honorees Announced

We love Lit Fest.  The Tribune just posted about some of the people coming this year:
Children's/young-adult author Judy Blume and graphic novelist/cartoonist Art Spiegelman will be honored as part of this year's Printers Row Lit Fest, which runs June 8 and 9 in the South Loop.

Bridgeport Coffee Company Announces Second Location at Roosevelt Collection

If coffee is your thing, then you're probably happy about this announcement (via Chicagoist):
One of the better coffee roasters in Chicago is opening a second café and, using the tried and true realtors maxim "location, location, location," they picked a spot that's almost too good for them to fail.  
Bridgeport Coffee Company announced they're opening a second storefront at the Roosevelt Collection in the South Loop sometime this summer. The space will be located next to the Showplace ICON multiplex and is surrounded by a slew of condos and other retail.
We've never had their coffee, but are excited to try it out.  Judging by the glowing endorsement from the Chicagoist (and other internet reviews), it seems like they'll fit into the neighborhood well.

Congrats to Bridgeport Coffee Company and welcome to the Sloop!

QUICK LOCATION UPDATE:  According to the Bridgeport Coffe House website:
Bridgeport Coffee is proud to announce our second coffeehouse location at the center of the Roosevelt Collection, next to the ground level entrance of the Showplace Icon movie theatres.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pros Weigh In on What to do with Old Michael Reese Hospital Land

Image via Curbed Chicago
Not a ton of new news, but a couple interesting "professional" concepts have now been presented on how to utilize the Michael Reese Hospital land (via Chicago Tribune):
A casino/entertainment complex, a major convention hotel and a Barack Obama presidential library are being floated as possible anchors for a mixed-use redevelopment of the former Michael Reese Hospital site on the Near South Side. 
These possible scenarios were presented Thursday evening by a team led by architecture firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill at a community meeting held at West Point Missionary Baptist Church in Bronzeville. 
The city of Chicago commissioned the exploration of potential possibilities.  
The idea would be to build an entertainment center, casino and hotel on the north end of the site, near McCormick Place, to boost offerings for conventioneers and tourists. 
Casino developers often are willing to pay for infrastructure improvements, a critical need for the site, said Douglas Voigt, director of urban design and planning at SOM.  
The casino aspect, which would require approval in Springfield, drew strong opposition from many residents at the packed meeting, who feared it would cheapen the development and the area.

These ideas aren't new.  They're just a little more formal now that the pros at Skidmore Owings &  Merrill have presented them.

For some old Sloopin coverage click here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Clean & Green Tomorrow!

 Make the Choice to Volunteer!
Please join us for Ald. Fioretti's Bi-Annual 2nd Ward Clean & Green on Earth Day, Saturday, April 20th from 9 am to 12 noon. We'll work to clean up and better our neighborhoods. Come out and meet others who are giving back to the community.   

We'll see you at the following locations:
  •  Bartelme Park, Monroe and Sangamon
  • Mark Twain/Women's Park, 18th Street and Indiana
  • Grant Park, Columbus and Roosevelt
  • Dunbar Park/2nd Ward Yard, 2840 S. Calumet
  • Phoenix Military Academy, 145 S. Campbell
  • Heritage Park/FXW, 610 W. Adams
  • Addams Park, 1254 S. Loomis
  • Printers Row Park, 710 S. Dearborn
  • South Loop School, 1212 S. Plymouth 
You can also help on the North Side at the following locations:
  • 1509 N. Bosworth (starting at 8am) 
  • Honore Park, 916 N. Honore 

2013 Lollapalooza Sells Out...Quickly!

If you blinked, chance are you didn't get 2013 Lollapalooza tickets.  The massive music festival in front yard (aka Grant Park) has apparently become a juggernaut that can't be stopped.  We've gone ever year since 2006, but as of today we sit here without tickets...sigh...

While we are going to try to avoid the secondary market (it's so shady), one thing we still got our fingers crossed for are the Lolla after-shows that are smattered all over the city.  The Sloop's Reggie's rock club has hosted some in the past and hopefully they do it again in 2013.

Anyway, it's fun to look at the Lolla lineup every year.

We recently stumbled across Chance the Rapper (thanks to the blog acityinthemidwest.com).  Chance is a local boy and if you watch his trippy video below, you can see that he has spent sometime in the Sloop.

0:34 - Congress Hotel
0:40 - Buddy Guy's Legends Building
2:18 - Color Bricks (Wabash & 8th)
2:37 - Buckingham Fountain

Interestingly enough, according to his wikipedia page he was suspended from Jones College Prep for 10 days in the spring of 2011 where his teachers ridiculed his aspirations to be a musician.  Not sure if that's just "marketing" but regardless it means he spent some time in the Sloop (and is probably relatively bright).  He plays Lolla on Friday.

And another band we're hoping to see (either at Lolla or at an after-show) is Two Door Cinema Club. They have some intensely catchy jams (and play Lolla on Sunday):

Or maybe we won't see anyone since apparently demand for the festival and everything associated with it is so freaking strong!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Here Come the Hawks...to Soldier Field

It seems like more and more events are coming to Soldier Field.  Maybe that's always been the case, but for some reason it seems like there are an influx of high-profile events coming to the famed stadium.

This time it's more hockey -- but in the professional variety (via ESPN):
The NHL is in the final planning stages of its much-anticipated series of outdoor stadium games next season with six outdoor contests set to take place in football and baseball stadiums across North America, sources familiar with the plan confirmed to ESPN.com Tuesday. 

The final two outdoor adventures would take place during Hockey Weekend Across America, which runs Feb. 28 to March 2. The Pittsburgh Penguins will take on the Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field on March 1.  
That game would mark the second time Chicago will have hosted an outdoor game, with Detroit in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in 2009. Pittsburgh also has hosted a Winter Classic in 2011 and played in the first one in Buffalo in 2008.
If you recall, the Hockey City Classic had it's inaugural games a couple of weeks ago.  While it definitely didn't sell out, it was a nice way to spend a Saturday.

If the Hawks play the Penguins at Soldier Field...we bet it will sell-out.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chicago Oyster House Replacing Triad Sushi in May

A reader sent us a link to a website for Chicago Oyster House and a facebook page as well.  While we were excited we weren't aware of much retail space on this block.

Upon some more googling, it became clear, Chicago Oyster House was going in at 1933 S. Indiana...where Triad Sushi currently resides.

So what gives?

We heard rumors that Triad Sushi was going to close, but that never appeared to happen.  So we called Triad and sure enough they were still open.  Randomly we asked about Chicago Oyster House and they said, "Yes, will open around May".

So there you have it!  Chicago Oyster House is apparently replacing Triad Sushi in May.

While it's a little surprising, the Sloop has seen an uptick in Sushi spots.  Maybe the owners of Triad saw the increasing competition and wanted to bring a new concept to the neighborhood.  We're just speculating here.

Regardless, we will be curious to see how it materializes.

(Hat tip: RC!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

City Council Approves Sale of Parking Lot to Developer at 9th and State; Construction for Tower to Begin in 2014

It's a real estate day here at Sloopin and while our post this morning was more speculative, this one seems to be more tangible.  According to the city of Chicago (via Curbed Chicago):
A City-owned parking lot in the South Loop will be redeveloped into a 39-story apartment tower through a land sale approved today by City Council.  
The 39,000-square-foot site on the southeast corner of 9th and State streets will be sold for $6 million to Ninth St. Investors LLC, the successful respondent to a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the City in 2010. The goal of the RFP was to foster the site’s redevelopment with a high-quality, mixed-use building containing ground-floor retail uses and on-site parking. 
The $111 million tower designed by SCB Architects will include 396 market-rate rental units, 9,500 square feet of ground floor retail space, and four levels of parking for at least 248 cars.
Construction is slated to begin in 2014.

We posted about this building in May of 2012 and it's been a topic on our message board recently.

While it ain't the sexiest building in the world, it's better than a parking lot!

(Hat tip: Chris!)

Unique and Massive High-rise Renderings Show Up for Vacant Lot at Southeast Corner of Roosevelt and Michigan

New renderings for high-rise at Michigan and Roosevelt (via Curbed Chicago)
Late last year word came out that Cresent Heights had purchased the high-profile vacant lot at Roosevelt and Michigan.  What was to come was still a mystery.

While we don't have official word or confirmation from Crescent Heights, Curbed Chicago has a good post (with a healthy dose of comments) on the topic:
Looks like we have our first revamped project design for the two-acre parcel at Roosevelt & Michigan, as architect Stanley Saitowitz has renderings prepared for a 64-story building (by our count). Skyscraper Page user Ardecila posted the images this morning. The long-vacant site has a new owner/developer in Miami-based Crescent Heights and, pending confirmation, it sure seems like they're keen on making a big splash along the city's most iconic streetwall.
The renderings were first posted on Ardecila on the Skyscraperpage.com.

While we like the bold thinking and unique offering, it looks funny to us and doesn't really fit.  Maybe it takes some getting used to.  For some reason, the old renderings seemed to fit the neighborhood and space better (albiet they were even more conceptual than the design above).

For other pictures of the renderings take a look at the Curbed Chicago post.

Anyway, what do you think?  Like the concept?

Monday, April 15, 2013

First Draft Coming to 649 S. Clark; Villains Bar & Grill Signs South Loop Lease

It appears that a new "sports bar" will be replacing the old Villains space at  649 S. Clark.  A reader writes:
The First Draft
Early spring.  
61 draft lines, specialty and craft beers.
"Everyday fresh food"
"Superb audio/visual system"
Sports packages 
I'd say they're going for a sports bar theme... They're working on the buildout right now.

While we like new stuff, we long for Villain's to come back!

Speaking of which, according to their Facebook that will be happening soon:

Where that will be?  Hopefully we hear more soon!

Regardless, best of luck to First Draft and looking forward to some new Villains news!

UPDATE from a Reader:
Just an FYI on First Draft. One of the partners/owners is Tom from Kaseys. He was a managing partner of Kaseys and quit a couple of weeks ago. Don't know much else but thought I'd pass that along.

(Hat tip:  AD & JH & WM!)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Let There Be Light - Congress Parkway Light Show is Live

(Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune)
About 600 decorative luminaires and towerlike panels that change colors were flipped on along Congress Parkway Thursday night, marking the completion of $24 million in road and streetscape improvements, officials said.  
The lighting is the last piece of the Congress Parkway reconstruction project that began in late 2010, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

For some old posts on the topic click here, here or here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rumor: Charter School Discussed for Old X/O Condo Site?

A reader writes:
Just want to let you know, in speaking with an official at the department of education and the current owners of the site (GOLUB), that the old X/O site, 1712 S Prairie, is in the beginning talks of becoming a new charter middle school for the south loop. Taking the much more crowded south loop school focusing on early childhood elementary schooling.  
The site along S Prairie would include a three/four story craftsman style building with parking structure, a sports field of some kind with a running track and an indoor pool and gymnasium. The demolition permit has been placed on hold until the proposed public school can be worked out. They like the idea that this section of south prairie would be made private once the new 16th LSD ramp would replace 16th street. The entrance to the school would be on both Prairie and on 18th. A public space/park would be a located on the corner of 18th and Prairie.  
It is a great use of this space and would certainly be great for the neighborhood as more housing over here would be counter-productive. The property values would soar in this neighborhood if this comes to fruition. 

An interesting rumor and something we're sure many residents would like.

First off, it's been awhile since we've heard anything about this site (for some historical background here is a post we did on it back in 2011).  The X/O concept was ambitious and found neighborhood opposition as it didn't really fit in with the look and feel of Prairie Avenue.  As you may recall it stalled and as a result never got built.

Another hot topic around the neighborhood is schooling.  If you read Sloopin or are up on the latest neighborhood news, you probably know about the high-school drama surrounding the new and old Jones College Prep.  While this rumor wouldn't really help that issue, more schooling options in general are usually a good problem to have.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?  Would it be a good addition to the neighborhood?

(Hat tip:  MM!)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dentologie Coming to Northeast Corner of 13th and Wabash

Blue sign in the window announces a new dental practice called Dentologie
Dentologie, a new dental practice at the northwest corner of 13th and Wabash, looks to be building out a practice.

We didn't know there was retail space available there, we just assumed it was all occupied by the storage facility.

Best of luck and welcome to the neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Try This: Umai's Sloopin Roll

Spicy Scallop Roll (left), Sloopin Roll (center), Tuna Avocado Roll (right)
Ok, don't roll your eyes at us.  Yes, we were intrigued by the idea of a sushi roll being named after our blog (we presume), but we tend to avoid the "signature" rolls with so much stuff crammed in.

However, given the situation, we HAD to try it (among some other things).  And no, we're not receiving any royalties or kick-backs from this!

Umai Japanesse Kitchen and Sushi, the new restaurant at the northwest corner of Polk and Clark, has now been open for over two months.  We have had the pleasure of going twice to ensure we're getting a good read on the place (but mostly because we like to go out to eat).

Anyway, the decor is modern with an obvious Asian theme.  Their is a huge intricate mural of a woman on the north side of the restaurant, but besides that everything is sleek and modern. The restaurant is small and intimate.  Definitely a good vibe and atmosphere inside.

The first time we went the size seemed perfect.  It was busy, but we didn't have to wait.  The second time we went it was buzzing and packed (granted it was dinner on a Saturday night).  People were waiting at the door.  Luckily we made a reservation for two and sat down quickly.

Both times we went the service was solid.  Naturally it seemed like the second time was a little more fluid -- which would make sense as they had more time to figure out their rhythm.

Most importantly, let's talk about the food.  The menu is pretty diverse, so even if you don't like sushi chances are you will probably be able to find something (assuming you like Asian food in general).

Although we didn't know this initially, Umai is actually related to Ma & I (1234 S. Michigan), another South Loop staple.  It is a different restaurant and a different menu, but similar to Ma & I the menu is broad and wide ranging.

For instance, their is a Japanesse BBQ section with a variety of different options.  We went for the Beef Hanger Tender for an appetizer which was juicy, delicious and as you guessed it tender.  We also opted for the Beef Asparagus Roll and Shrimp Shumai.  Both were fine, but probably wouldn't order them again.

Both times we went, we had our mind made up on Sushi so can only comment on those items for an entre.  However, there is also a Udon/Ramen section and Chef Specialties which both looked interesting and are worth a gander.

In regard to the Sushi, the standard rolls are standard.  We would rank them with any solid sushi restaurant in the city and seemed on par with South Coast (which historically has been our favorite sushi spot in the Sloop).

As mentioned above, we usually steer clear of the "signature" sushi rolls, but to really get a sense of a sushi restaurants quality and creativity you have to venture into this area.  Between our two visits we tried:

  • Goosebumps:  Shrimp tempura, asparagus, cilantro, sriracha sauce topped w/seared calamari and miso 
  • Surf & Turf:  Shrimp tempura, asparagus, cream cheese, apple, topped w/seared medium rare beef sirloin, drizzled w/parsley yuzu oil
  • Sloopin (duh!):  Shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, cream cheese, scallion, spicy mayo wrapped w/crunchy topped w/eel sauce and wasabi mayo 
All of the rolls were unique and tasty, but the clear winner was the Sloopin roll.  One of the people with us doesn't like spicy rolls, but still loved the Sloopin.  Everything worked well together and we love the contrast of the light ingredients with the tempura crunch that was sprinkled on top.

Goosebumps was our second favorite, however we would probably try something else before ordering it again (for the sake of trying other stuff).  We were expecting the calamari to bring something different to the table, but it blended in with the rest of the ingredients.

The Surf & Turf was interesting, but the beef sirloin really overpowers the subtlety of the other ingredients.  If you like the dichotomy of beef and seafood in your sushi rolls you will probably like this roll.  We don't really care for that.

While Umai isn't cheap, it isn't over the top expensive either.  It's a mid-range sushi spot that provides good value for your buck.

With that said, we recommend Umai wholeheartedly -- and not because they have a roll named Sloopin -- but because we will be going back for a third visit soon!

What do you think?  How do you like Umai?  How does it compare to other sushi joints in the neighborhood and/or city?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chicago Whole Health Center (1845 S. Michigan) Focuses on Advanced Rehabiltation and Patient Education

Sponsored Post
We had the pleasure of recently meeting Dr. Graham Pommerehn and Dr. Iris Zhao and seeing their practice, Chicago Whole Health Center (1845 S. Michigan Ave.).  Besides being residents of the Sloop they have a brand new, beautiful facility that is designed to help us Sloopers get better!  Below is a Q&A we had with them recently:

What Is Chicago Whole Health Center and What Services Do You Offer?
Conveniently located in the South Loop on Michigan Avenue, Chicago Whole Health Center is an integrated health care clinic combining several disciplines of natural medicine under one roof to provide quality care for our patients. By implementing the most effective evidence based therapies used today we are able to successfully treat a wider range of conditions beyond what most conservative health clinics are able to handle.

Services we offer:
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Physical Rehab
  • Active Release Techniques®
  • Movement Based Diagnosis and Therapy
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • Functional gait analysis | Custom Orthotics
  • Sports Injury Rehab
  • Nutrition | Weight Loss | Detox Programs
  • Spine and Extremity taping and strapping
  • Massage
  • Tai Chi Classes

What is the process for diagnosis?
Diagnosis of a condition may involve something as simple as clinical observation and evaluation, or may require a more in depth approach relying on advanced imaging or diagnostic testing. What ever the issue, we make sure a clearly defined diagnosis is made before any condition is treated. Once a diagnosis is determined, a specific treatment plan and goals are made to keep patients on track for optimum recovery.

One rehabilitation room at Chicago Whole Health Center 
Conditions commonly treated include (see link here):
  • Migraine/ Tension Headache
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal disc herniations
  • Sciatica
  • Low back & neck pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Foot and ankle problems
  • Chronic pain syndromes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Stress

What sets Chicago Whole Health Center apart from other wellness centers?
Our combination of Eastern Chinese medicine and Western physical medicine allows us to offer a more versatile and unique approach to patient care. Being able to customize treatment to specific patient needs allows us to quickly and effectively resolve most conditions in a shorter amount of time. Most patients see significant improvements within 1 to 3 visits which is something we pride our reputation on.

In addition, integrated into each treatment plan is a heavy emphasis on patient education where we spend time teaching our patients how to self treat their condition to speed recovery and decrease the number of treatments.

Do you offer any specials or classes?
Yes, we offer free community work shops on different topics from nutrition/ weight loss to avoiding sports injuries and Free consultations by appointment. All of our classes are strictly educational. You can check us out on facebook or on local community posts for class times. Tai Chi Classes are also available at $14.00 per class or $39.00 for 4 classes.

We will be hosting a weight loss/ Detox class on Thursday, April 11th at 6:00pm (free admission).

Do you accept insurance?
Yes, we are currently in network with most major insurance companies, and all of our services are covered with most plans. Referrals are not needed with PPO plans, since we are primary contact providers.  Please either call us (312.949.1289) or email us and we can look into your insurance questions (info@chicagowholehealthcenter.com)

How do people usually find out about your business?
Most of our patients come from referrals of former patients or from other medical specialists within the area.

Dr. Graham Pmmerehn and Dr. Iris Zhao
What’s your favorite thing about the South Loop?
Dr. Graham Pommerehn: It has to be the small town atmosphere. I grew up in a small farming town in Indiana and really miss that community cohesiveness. Having lived in several areas in chicago I can say that the South Loop is by far my favorite.

Dr. Iris Zhao: I really enjoy being part of a growing community. Having grown up in Chicago, I remember what the South Loop was like and am excited to see the neighborhood expanding. I believe the South Loop will soon be the the new face of Chicago and I am proud to be a part of that.

Part of The Chelyabinsk Meteorite Coming to Field Musuem

One of the more fascinating and bizarre stories thus far this year was The Chelyabinsk Meteorite suddenly barreling down on Russia.  Well part of that is apparently coming to the Sloop (via Chicagoist):
Remember the fireball that exploded over Russia in February? Well a chunk of that meteorite is coming to Chicago's Field Museum.  
The Chelyabinsk Meteorite was spotted on Feb. 15, and with a mass of about 11,000 metric tons, it was the largest object to fall on Earth since the Tunguska event of 1908. About 1,500 people were injured due to debris and broken glass.
It also gives us the opportunity to post a YouTube video with some amazing footage:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Introducing "Disqus" - A New Comment Technology that We're Trying on Sloopin


Hope your April is going well!  Spring is trying to come out of hibernation and signs of new life are everywhere.

In a similar fashion we thought it would be a good time to rethink some things on Sloopin.

One of the most contentious items we hear about is our comment posting policy.  We've tried being completely open.  We've tried only allowing registered Google accounts.  Most recently we allowed all comments, but had our team approve each and every one.

Well today, we're going to try something new.  It's a new technology called Disqus.  It provides a more sophisticated technology for comments and allows people various "mainstream"ways to comment.  It is the technology that huge sites use (CNN.com and NPR.com to name a couple) and we're excited to see if it works for us.

You can login through Google, Facebook or Twitter or you could open up a Disqus account and comment that way.  If you're not on one of these platforms, you're probably not using the internet.

All in all, we're excited about this new technology and hope you are too.  Sloopin wouldn't be what it is if it wasn't for our readers and their comments.  So please continue to comment and if you have questions or concerns feel free to email us at sloopin@gmail.com.

Sloopin Crew

(Hat tip: JK!)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Computer Gurus Closes Up Shop at 1130 South Wabash

Even though we never like seeing businesses in the neighborhood close, Computer Gurus was a head scratcher for us.  While we appreciate the idea, the reality is that you can usually fix your computer by calling someone or going to a Best Buy (which is also usually cheaper we would imagine).

With that said, Computer Gurus has apparently closed up shop as everything is out of their store at 1130 South Wabash (see image above).

This space has proved to be a difficult go for business owners.  Before this, Elements of Style boutique occupied the space but didn't last very long.  Next door in the same building, Le Sol tanning also closed up shop.

Seems like a good location to us.  Maybe a better businessplan is needed?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Nepal House Set to Open Today at 1301 S. Michigan

Momo at Nepal House - COURTESY OF BALA GHIMIRE (Chicago Magazine)
Isn't it nice when things go according to plan?  Back in March a signed appeared in the window of Nepal House, the restaurant replacing A'Cappela Bistro at 1301 S. Michigan.  The sign said "coming soon" and "opening first week of April".

Well it's the first week of April and according to a post on Chicago Magazine, it's opening day:
4/5: The team behind Chicago Curry House will serve traditional Nepalese and Indian cuisine at Nepal House (1301 S. Michigan Ave., 312-922-0601).
If they serve Momo's that look like the picture above, we're going to be very very happy!

(Hat tip: Chris!)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Celebrate Municipal Flag Day with Next Star Vodka at Square One (1400 S. Michigan)

Sponsored Post

It's Thursday in Chicago and that seems like the perfect excuse to head to Square One (1400 S. Michigan) to celebrate a long forgotten holiday, Municipal Flag Day of Chicago

Via the Red Eye:
Celebrate the day the Chicago flag was adopted by the City Council with tastings of Next Star vodka libations, $4 create-your-own Next Star drinks and the unveiling of The Wallace Rice, a spring cocktail named for the flag's creator and made with Next Star vodka, sake, lemonade, muddled jalapeno peppers and soda, which also goes for $4 (regularly $9). 8-10 p.m. No cover.

It's Apparently Permit Season in the Sloop: Giordano's, Bureau Bar and Urban Pantry Build-outs

We hear rumors all the time, but when you see these pinkish-orangey permits it's past the rumor stage.  With that said, here are a couple noteworthy permits people have sent us:

First off it appears that it is true -- Giordano's looks to be coming to the old courthouse at 1340 S. Michigan.  You may recall that there was some debate on whether it was 1340 or further south from our previous post:

Second is Bureau Bar at the former Three Peas Art Lounge space at 75 E. 16th Street.  As you may remember from earlier posts they applied for a liquor license and some neighbors weren't happy.  Regardless, it looks like the concept is moving forward and judging by the interior (seen by us peaking in) it looks like it's a small cozy place we're going to love:

Third, Urban Pantry is opening up a second location at 8 E. 9th St.  The first Urban Pantry opened up in 2011 and is doing a great job servicing Printers Row and Clark street:
(Hat tip: EB!)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Moving Day for Tejas Yoga: From 1133 South Wabash to 1300 South Wabash

Tejas Yoga has some extremely loyal yogis and with that in mind it's time to give them some love.  They've occuppied a small studio at 1133 S. Wabash, but are expanding to a bigger space just down the street:
It's finally here. A new chapter in the evolution of Tejas Yoga begins next week. Jim, James, and the Tejas family will be flexing their muscles Wednesday in order to transport the guts of the studio to our new location, 1300 S. Wabash. We will spend the day organizing our new space Thursday. All classes will be cancelled Wednesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 4. Our normal schedule will resume Friday, April 5.
A reader sent us a video of Jim Bennitt (one of the owners, who is a Sloop resident and who is nationally known for his skills) doing some pretty impressive Yoga:

Color us impressed, jealous and extremely stiff!

(Hat tip: JK!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dick's Sporting Goods Signs Lease for The Maxwell Development

More good news for the big box retail scene in the Sloop, it was just announced that Dick's Sporting Goods announced signed a lease at the Maxwell (Canal and Taylor - via Crain's):
Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. has signed a lease at a proposed South Loop shopping center, a deal that would give the retailer its first store in the city.

The suburban Pittsburgh-based sporting goods merchant plans to occupy a 61,000-square-foot second-floor space at the Maxwell, said Rob Bond, president of Chicago-based Bond Cos., which is developing the 230,000-square-foot mall at Canal Street and Roosevelt Road. He declined to discuss terms of the deal.
Dick's joins Nordstrom Rack as the first two announced tenants for the shopping complex.

Kurah Plans Middle Eastern Tappas and Shooting for Summer Opening

Brown paper adorns the windows where Kurah is planning on opening (1355 S. Michigan)
It's been awhile since we've checked up on the proposed restaurant in the old Alain's space (1355 S. Michigan).  At the time we thought it was going to be called Kurah and a reputable source confirms and gives us some additional info:
It's going to be a middle eastern tapas restaurant. They're building out a new bar and second level mezzanine and hope to open by early summer.

The name is Kurah (which is a region in the Middle East which is know for its olives and olive oil). High-quality imported olive oil will be a stable for many of the dishes.
We're super excited for this restaurant and are drueling over the thought of "high-quality imported olive oil". 

Hopefully they also have some delicious falafel...all we want in the Sloop is some delicious falafel!

(Hat tip: SLM!)

Monday, April 1, 2013

20 Cars Vandalized Overnight on 1300 Block of South Wabash

We wish this was an April Fools joke, but sadly it appears it isnt.  Just stupid and unncessary (via Chicago Tribune):
Windows of about 20 cars were smashed overnight in the South Loop, according to police.

Police were called to the 1300 block of South Wabash Avenue around 8 a.m., said Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Jose Estrada. Driver and passenger windows were broken but nothing appeared to have been taken, he said.

No one was in custody. Area Central was investigating.

10 Years After Meigs Field Was Destroyed

The future of Northerly Island seems promising, but definitely uncertain.  We've spent a lot of time on Sloopin discussing the various proposals put forth to transform this prime real estate into something more functional for the community.  The most recent we just posted about in February.

But we most likely wouldn't be having these conversations if Mayor Richard M. Daley didn't order bulldozers out to the island to destroy the Meigs Field airstrip ten years ago.

The Tribune recently had a great article talking about the past, the present and the future of the high-profile "island".  For people who don't know the history or need a refresher, it's definitely worth a read. The act by Da Mayor was infamous and is a very prominent example of the old school "Chicago Way".

Regardless how you feel about this move, we can only move forward.  And the Tribune provides the current state of an ambitious plan to completely transform the island (see image below from the Tribune).  While this transformation will happen over various periods, supposedly some of the changes are happening soon:
Completing the plan will likely take many years and cost tens of millions of dollars. The Park District doesn't even have a ballpark estimate of the total cost, Biagi said.  
But the Army Corps of Engineers will break ground on the wilderness portion of the project in the coming weeks, officials said. 
"This is a plan that inherits 100 years worth of thinking, and we're actually building it this year," Biagi said. "It's amazing, as a civic achievement, in a town where we do care about planning."  
The corps will pay $5 million of the $7.7 million cost of building the ecosystems on the southern portion of the site. The Park District will provide the rest from funds saved from concert proceeds. Construction is expected to take about a year, and the corps will maintain the nature preserve for five years, Biagi said. 
Also under way is a renovation of Charter One Pavilion. The lakefront concert venue will expand from nearly 5 acres to nearly 7 acres, with an additional 6 acres of lawn area, officials said. An additional 600 fixed seats will be added to the existing 8,000, and 22,000 lawn seats will bring the venue's total capacity to more than 30,000, officials said. Live Nation, the entertainment company that puts on the concerts, will pay the $3 million cost of the renovation. The new setup will be used for shows this summer.