Sunday, June 30, 2013

Shots Around the Sloop: Epic

Hawks 2013 Stanley Cup Rally (6/28/2013 - CSN - Nina Falcone)
We've seen some epic, historic pictures coming from the south end of Hutchinson field and the Hawks 2013 Stanley Cup rally is definitely one of those.  If that's not a beautiful picture, we don't know what is.

Here are some other recent ones that stand out:
Obama's 1st Presidential Rally (November 4th, 2008 - Washington Post)
Maybe not as historic as the two above - but still epic!  Daft Punk Robots at Lollapalooza 8/3/2007
Are there any other iconic pictures/events that happened in this field?  We know the answer is let us know!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

New Northerly Island "Arena" Gets Tested Out Today

We've been monitoring the progress of the renovations at Northerly Island's music venue (formerly known as Charter One Pavilion - now being rebranded as FirstMerit Bank Arena) for awhile now.

Last we heard, things were delayed.

Fast forward to today and supposedly everything is in place for the massive crowd they're expecting.  We will see.

The backdrop of the city should be nice.  But again we're taking a wait and see approach with this.

Further fanning our doubts is this article in the Tribune that doesn't sound encouraging for getting in and out of the venue:
Getting in/out: Plan ahead. There will be more than three times as many people in attendance for big shows. The main entrance has been widened, and there are separate entrances for lawn access, to alleviate pedestriann bottleneck. In a Tribune story in March, Campana (Live Nation North American Co-President) acknowledged that access to the concert venue could become more challenging. Linn White Drive, the main road, will be reconfigured to allow for more pedestrian traffic into the facility. "I don't want to be naive and say it's going to be great all the time," Campana said in March. "If they come hard from the parking lot all at once, it'll be like coming into Alpine (Valley Music Theatre near East Troy, Wis.) or Wrigley (Field) right before a show."
Hopefully he's just setting the bar low.

We recently went by the new facility last weekend and it looked fine.  Honestly not that much different.

We're going to the buffett concert today, so we will let you know how it goes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Stanley Cup Championship Rally in Our Front Yard

This probably goes without saying, but the Sloop will be unusually busy tomorrow:

Should be a good time!

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Divvy Bike Sharing Ready to Launch Tomorrow (6/28)

Empty Divvy Bike Sharing Station at Roosevelt and Wabash
We've been curiously following the Divvy bike sharing program and according to various news sources, the program is ready to officially launch tomorrow (via Tribune):
The first 700 bicycles painted "Chicago blue" will make their debut on city streets Friday, vastly outnumbered and upstaged by red and black. 
For any celebrants along the Blackhawks parade route who might want to pedal part of the way on one of the new Divvy bike-share program bikes, though, you're on thin ice. 
Of the more than 40 bicycle docking stations scheduled to be in operation Friday for the launch of the service, none of the handful of stations along the Hawks Stanley Cup victory route will be open, officials said. 
"It's for the safety of the people and the equipment," said Elliot Greenberger, marketing director for Divvy, which is operated by Alta Bicycle Share Inc., Chicago's partner in the $22 million bike-share experiment.

Seventy-five stations downtown and in River North will be fully stocked with the three-speed bikes and ready to roll by Sunday, Greenberger said.
What we're unsure about is whether or not the South Loop is included in this initial wave.  Judging by the map on their website, 9 stations in our hood will get bikes in June (including the two that are pictured in this post).
Empty Docking Station at 16th and State
Should be interesting to see how this goes.

(Hat tip: TJ!)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If Chicago Didn't Know About The Scout, It Does Now!

The Captain Johnny Toews with Cup in Hand Entering The Scout Early in the Morning on June 25th

After a long night of screams, endless car horns, high-fives, beer and of course Chelsea Dagger, we miraculously got a wake up jolt about the Blackhawks and the much ballyhooed Stanley Cup heading to The Scout (1301 S. Wabash) around 5:30am.

Ironically we've been talking about this possibility for years.  Back in 2011 when we found out that The Scout owner was involved with The Pony (in Lakeview - where the Hawks celebrated the 2010 Stanley Cup victory) we "dreamed" about them coming to our neighborhood for the next celebration:
Some other people might remember hearing about the Pony Inn since it was where many of the Blackhawks celebrated the night they got home from winning the Stanley Cup. Hopefully they repeat and decide to christen The Scout with a visit from Lord Stanley's Cup. We can dream, can't we?

Anyway, besides the fact that THE HAWKS WON THE CUP, the key takeaway from yesterdays early morning celebration is that The Scout is now well known in Chicago.

Not sure how or why they came to the Sloop (one theory: Brent Seabrook is often seen at The Scout and we're pretty sure he's friends with Chris Bravos, the owner), but it's gotta be good for business.

Congrats to the Hawks and congrats to The Scout - your establishment will always have a place in Chicago sports lore!

And for those obsessed with following the cups every move, we suggest this handy Stanley Cup Tracker.  Not sure who's updating it, but it will be pretty cool assuming it stays current.
 The Captain - Johnny Toews in 2010 arriving at The Pony (1638 W. Belmont)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

1130 South Michigan Apartment Building Creates "Wow Experiences" with Completion of $26 Million Renovation

Sponsored Post
Rendering of new Club2 at 1130 South Michigan Apartment Building
DK Living’s 1130 South Michigan Apartment Building announces completion of their 26 million dollar renovations to select units and all amenities. The “New 1130” is complete with a resort style pool and cabana deck, state of the art fitness center, private wine cellar, spacious boardroom, and fully remodeled high-end apartments.

1130 South Michigan
Apartment Building
1130 recognized the demand for luxury apartment buildings in Chicago’s South Loop; these renovations were based on resident demand. Club2 is the new amenity level encompassing everything needed for luxury apartment living. The pool deck offers a space where residents can cool off in 5 spacious, luxury cabanas, take a dip in the lavish pool, cook at one of four state of the art grill stations , enjoy watching the game on one of two, 42 inch TV’s, socialize in the sleek fire pit, or relax with ample footrests and new club chairs. As the sun sets, residents can enjoy a movie on the projector equipped with a portable screen.

“We are introducing a lifestyle that our residents can enjoy by organizing many events and activities to get the best use of the space that 1130 has to offer in luxury living. Sports nights on the outdoor big screen, pool parties, boot camp or yoga classes are just some of the activities we will provide to our residents, “ says Meagan de Silva, the new Amenities and Events Director for 1130, “my job is to create WOW EXPERIENCES for our residents and ensure they get exactly what they want at our property!”

Inside Club2 is the cutting edge 24 hour fitness center and lounge, complete with a beverage station offering complimentary Coca Cola and Starbucks products. The gym, itself, has all new technogym machines, twelve of which include screens that allow gym goers to surf the Internet, watch TV, connect their iPad, and record their work out session so the machine remembers them.

Rehabbed Unit
Club2 also has a private wine cellar with 73 rentable wine lockers and a perfect area to host wine tastings, but residents will not have to worry about organizing their own parties all the time; 1130 Management is offering weekly wine tastings to all residents. Down the hall from the wine room is the boardroom; perfect for residents who need a meeting space at home. This room is WiFi ready and has a 42” TV, which computers may be connected for convenient use.

In addition to the new Club2, 1130 has also rehabbed a majority of their units to feature Whirlpool French door refrigerators, wine coolers, cherry hard wood floors, and in-unit washer-dryers.

Located right across from Grant Park and steps from Lake Michigan, The New 1130 is the obvious choice for South Loop living. To take advantage of this great new lifestyle contact the leasing office at 312-939-0226 to make 1130 your new luxury home today.

Hawks Win, Celebrate at The Scout

The Cup leaves The Scout
What a goal, what a series, what a season!  It was pandaemonium last night and as suspected the celebration continued this morning.

The Scout (1301 S. Wabash) was one of the first stops for the players as they partied with the best drinking cup ever.  We have some photos, but if you have some send them our way and we will update as the day goes along:
Toews and Cup on Wabash
Seabs Entering Scout (via Tribune)

Oduya leaving the Scout (via Tribune)

Cup leaving the Scout (via Tribune)

Brent Seabrook enters the Scout
The scene at The Scout

(Hat tip: ND!)

Sloop Gets a Chipotle at Grenshaw and Clinton

It seems like it's time for fast food taco/burrito lovers to breathe a sign of relief - you're getting a Chipotle!

Yes, it's a chain, but it's a chain a lot of people like (us included).

A reader sent us the following email:
Just letting you guys know they're building a chipotle at Grenshaw and Clinton, near the best buy. I saw a sign out there today!
You may recall that we've pondered when/if we would get a Chipotle in the neighborhood.  A reader even emailed Chipotle back in 2012 and at the time nothing was planned.

It seems like our little burgeoning shopping corridor just off of Roosevelt is gaining steam.  Some of you will probably scoff, but we're happy to see this transpire and happy that a fast burrito isn't that far away.

(Hat tip:  MT!)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Haus of Reign Appears Ready to Open at 1345 S. Michigan

Image from Haus of Reign facebook page
Just two weeks ago we noticed a lot of activity in the vacant retail space at 1345 S. Michigan (the old Doctor's Choice space).  Brown paper was on the windows, lights were on and the inside was rapidly changing.  From what we could tell by peeking in, it looked like a women's boutique.

Fast forward to late last week and the paper is down, displays are visible and even a "Haus of Reign" sign is on the windows.  Our suspicions appear to be correct as it looks like the store will be geared towards women's fashion.

What we don't know is much more.  They do have a Facebook page, but it simply says "women's designer clothing, jewelry and accessories" in the about us section.

It doesn't appear that they're officially open, but it sounds like they will be shortly.

Congrats on the impending opening and best of luck!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Ping Tom Park Boathouse Ready for Use

New Ping Tom Park Boat House (via Chicago Architecture Blog)
A reader sent us the following link to a post on the Architecture Chicago Plus blog:
Sunday saw a combination celebration at Ernest Wong's wonderful Ping Tom Park along the south branch of the Chicago River, with the dedication of a handsome new boathouse by Johnson and Lee, and the culmination of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Rivers series of events with the fabled brass section floating down the river (on a boat) and Music Director Riccardo Muti conducting the Chicago Childrens Choir in a performance of Verdi's Va Pensiero (twice). A happy Mayor Emanuel was also on hand.

(Hat tip:  KD!)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Second Presbyterian Church Achieves National Historic Landmark Status

Last night we went to and a familiar site was front and center in the lead story on the website - Chicago church dedicated as National Historic Landmark.  That church of course is the Second Presbyterian Church at 1935 S. Michigan.

The Tribune has a nice article on the church:
(Jose M. Osorio, Tribune photo /June 19, 2013)
A Near South Side church that was once a spiritual hub for some of Chicago's most pioneering families is now the first Chicago church to achieve National Historic Landmark status.  
For more than a century, Second Presbyterian Church, a Gothic revival structure at 1936 S. Michigan Ave., has awed visitors with its lofty ceilings, intricate stained-glass windows and ornate wood carvings.  
The church made the prestigious landmark list earlier this year after a foundation dedicated to its preservation lobbied the Interior Department and the National Park Service. Members of that group, along with congregants and other admirers, gathered Thursday night for a dedication ceremony at the church.
A nice honor for a historic Sloop site!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chicago Kernel Moving into Old Chutney Joe's Space @ 511 S. State

Chicago Kernel Signs Show Up at Old Chutney Joe's Retail Space

A reader sent us the picture above which would imply that Chicago Kernel is moving into the old Chutney Joe's space at 511 S. State.  We don't know much about Chicago Kernel, but according to their website they have two stores and their story is:
Often called “The City’s Best Kept Secret” by our loyal customers, Chicago Kernel Gourmet Popcorn has raised the bar for gourmet popcorn made in Chicago - setting higher standards for taste, quality and customer service. We are known for our hometown pride in creating a product worthy to be named after the city where caramel corn was born. Chicago Kernel Gourmet Popcorn is made fresh in our stores every day and is quickly becoming a “must stop” destination for both Chicagoans and visitors to the Windy City!
They have pretty good yelp reviews, but honestly the location seems a little strange to us.  It's a mix of students and local Sloop residents - not tourists.

Anyway, it's always good to get new businesses in the area.  Chutney Joe's closed about a year ago.

(Hat tip: TR!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Missed Kanye's Projections in the Sloop? Here is Your 2nd Chance

Late in May we posted about the infamous Kanye West's guerrilla marketing tactic of projecting videos from his new album on iconic buildings across Chicago and the world.  One of those happened to be in our backyard at the Field Museum.

Well if you said "aw-shucks, I missed something cool", fret not - you have a second chance to see it again according to the Red Eye:
Along with the (conveniently timed?) illegal availability of Kanye West’s album “Yeezus” Friday, the Chicago-raised rapper announced a round of new “projections” slated for locations across the country Saturday. Previously, West had projected video on buildings around the world for his release of “New Slaves,” including Wrigley Field, a Belgian castle and an empty Pennsylvania prison. The contents of the videos remain a mystery, but West’s website lists the venues where the projections will be playing locally.  
The videos will hit the following Chicago spots Saturday (and early Sunday):
Ryan Field (Evanston) - 9:30 to 10 p.m.
Bridgeview Bank (Bridgeview) - 10:30 to 11 p.m.
Union Station (Loop) - 12:30 to 1 a.m.
Millennium Park - 1:30 to 2 a.m.
Pritzker Park - 11:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
The Field Museum (Museum Campus) - 12:30 to 1 a.m.
DuSable Museum of African American History (Washington Park) - 9:30 to 10 p.m.
McCormick Place - 11:30 to 12 a.m.
United Center: 1:30 to 2 a.m.
Maybe Yeezus has plans for a surprise late night concert at the United Center?  Probably not - he's probably tending to his new baby girl!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Will Conventioneers Make "Motor Row Entertainment District" Succeed?

Joe Cahill of Crain's recently had a post questioning the city's assumptions in their plan to build the DePaul "activity center" and two new hotels in the area.  We've spent a lot of time thinking about this and talking about this.

Cahill looks at some of the city's assumptions and then lays out his thinking.  One of the assumptions he states is:
”Motor Row,” a desolate stretch that housed car dealerships a century ago, will morph into a bustling nightlife district.
Later in the post he counters this assumption with the following:
As for Motor Row, if the rapidly expanding residential areas of the Near South Side haven't spawned a thriving nightlife scene yet, conventioneers won't make it happen.
So what do you think?  Do you agree with this rationale?

While we see his angle, it seems like he's drastically oversimplifying.  While conventioneers aren't solely going to revitalize the area, they are probably going to help.  Couple that with the Sloop's growth trajectory and it would seem like both could make "Motor Row" succeed.

We also wouldn't call the Sloop's nightlife "thriving" but it's definitely better than it was 5 or 10 years ago (anyone disagree?).  Slowly but surely it's reasonable to think it could continue to extend south, especially if the city makes an effort to make this happen.

Maybe we're wrong.  What do you think?  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chicago Reader Reviews Nepal House

We still haven't been to Nepal House (1301 S. Michigan), but reviews seem to be solid.  Yelp reviewers give it 4 stars and the Chicago Reader seems to have positive things to say (even though they question the owners business logic):
Bhatmas (Image from Chicago Reader)
I can't fathom the logic the folks behind the South Loop's Chicago Curry House employed in opening another Nepalese restaurant less than half a mile south—especially since the mother ship Curry Hut got its start in faraway Highwood, Lake County. OK, Nepal House has a much more trafficked location, but I can think of a dozen other neighborhoods that could use, and would support, a reliable source for momo, gundruk ko takari, or goat chhoela. What did the South Loop do to deserve two restaurants with nearly identical menus?  
I'm not sure there's much more I can say about Nepal House that I haven't already said about Chicago Curry House, which is a more-than-decent option for the mildly spicy food of the Himalayas. Nepalese restaurants in these parts tend to be duplicative in the sense that they always feature a small selection of actual Nepalese food headlining a large menu of the same northern and southern Indian dishes (but not Italian!) you see everywhere. So while I'd like to see a broader representation (yak-butter tea, anyone?), there are plenty of other options for eaters who just can't stomach "chicken chow mein Nepali style."

Friday, June 14, 2013

GSLA Wellness Walk Tomorrow (6/15)

Weather Mark Tavern Celebrates 7 Years in the Sloop

Here at Sloopin we spend a lot of time thinking about and talking about what's next in the neighborhood.  A new bar, a new restaurant, a new business, a new whatever.

Well today we're going the other way and wanted to give a quick shout-out to Weather Mark Tavern (1503 S. Michigan) who celebrates it's 7th birthday in the Sloop with a party this Saturday and some specials all week long:
Weather Mark Tavern celebrates their seventh anniversary with seven days of $7 specials from Sunday, June 9 through Saturday, June 15. On Saturday, June 15, the restaurant will host an anniversary party with a live DJ and feature a complimentary buffet and midnight champagne toast. They will also have 20oz Bud Light Drafts for have $4 and Skyy Vodka cocktails in 20oz Anniversary cups for $6.  
The girls of Bud Light will be on-hand to ring in the festivities as well, giving away items to patrons at the party. There will be a raffle with all proceeds benefiting the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Guests can purchase raffle tickets for $5 each or five tickets for $20. Raffle prizes include sailing lessons, concert tickets, a limo ride, Weather Mark Tavern gift cards, and more. In addition to raffle prizes, the restaurant will have a variety of giveaways.

Congrats on the anniversary and hear is to another great 7 years!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spring Awakening Fest Brings Bass to Soldier Field & Sloop

We ain't gonna lie, we like the bass.  Yes, we're probably a little old for the neon clothes and the late teen to young twenty year-old crowd, but hey the music just makes you wanna dance.

If this sounds interesting to you, then you may want to sneak over to the Soldier Field area to witness the second incarnation of the Spring Awakening music festival.  You may remember it from last year and you may not.  If you were in the Sloop you probably heard the persistent bass.

Well, according to an article in the Sun-Times, the festival is trying to minimize the noise for residents:
This weekend, another thumping electronic music festival comes to town — this time setting up shop in downtown Chicago. The Spring Awakening Music Festival features DJs and tech-music pioneers on four stages inside and around Soldier Field each afternoon and evening Friday through Sunday. 
Should residents in the South Loop run to the drugstore for earplugs? 
“People should expect to hear some music. It is an outdoor music festival. But we have taken every measure to help reduce excessive sound,” says Zach Partin of Chicago’s React Presents, which produces the annual festival. “We planned ahead and directed each stage’s sound away from residents and the harbor to help reduce sound bleed in either direction.”

So there you have it.  Maybe you won't hear it.  Maybe you will.  Or maybe you will be inside listening to Calvin Harris bring down the house on Sunday night like he did last year at Lolla:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hawks Cup Quest: Where to Watch in the Sloop

A couple of years ago we profiled our top 10 places to watch sports in the Sloop.  Since it's the day of the Stanley Cup finals between our beloved Blackhawks and the hated Boston Bruins we thought we would ask what you think.

Unless you're one of the lucky few who gets to go to the United Center for the game tonight, you're probably looking for a restaurant/bar to catch the game.

While our list hasn't changed much we thought we would do a quick poll to get your thoughts.  

We've narrowed it down to our favorite ten places to catch sports in the hood - head over to the poll on the right bar and let us know which is your favorite (in alphabetical order):

Bar Louie (47 W. Polk) 
Flo & Santos (1310 S. Wabash) 
Jimmy Greens (825 S. State)
Kaseys Tavern (701 S. Dearborn)
Kroll's (1736 S. Michigan)  
Reggie's (2105 S. State)
Square One (1400 S. Michigan)
The Scout (1301 S. Wabash)
Wabash Tap (1233 S. State)
Weather Mark Tavern (1503 S. Michigan)

Go Hawks!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Women's Boutique Coming to 1345 S. Michigan?

While we haven't officially heard anything, we recently noticed some activity in the vacant retail space at 1345 S. Michigan.

The space has been vacant since late 2011 when Doctor's Choice closed its doors and blamed Medicare.

Anyway, lights have been on, brown paper on the windows and after peaking in we saw new paint, hardwood floors, some fake brick columns (we presume) and some manikin busts that appeared to be for women's jewelry?

It also looks like they're building out dressing rooms in the back behind the manikins.

There isn't a permit on the window or anything so we're just guessing here.

Anyone have the inside scoop?

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Three Bedroom Condo Shortage Dilemma

The Chavin's and their new 3 bedroom in the Grant (via Chicago Tribune)
While the Sloop has some 3-bedroom condos/apartments in the neighborhood, apparently there is a shortage (see Curbed Chicago blurb here).

Their article was in reference to a Tribune article which talks about developers realization that there is a changing trend and young families want to live in the city, but need more room.

A South Loop family was featured as an intro (Chicago Tribune):
Residential properties with more space and near a vibrant downtown and recreational amenities are attracting buyers such as Chase and Stefanie Chavin. 
In their desire to stay in the South Loop and maintain an active lifestyle, the Chavins bought a 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom condo at The Grant, which will provide ample room to grow for their 3-year-old son and 22-month-old daughter. 
The Grant, a 54-story condo tower on South Prairie Avenue, has sold nearly half its 94 three-bedroom units since sales began this year. 
"We love living in the city and taking our kids to the museums, parks and restaurants," Stefanie Chavin said. "Now we have the space to grow in place. We wouldn't have moved here if we didn't think we could live here at least five years." 
Gail Lissner, vice president of Appraisal Research Counselors, an appraisal and consulting firm in Chicago, said three-bedroom units in the city are selling fast.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Shots Around the Sloop: Spaceship

(Hat tip: KP!)

Bike to Work Week Starts Today; Stop at Roosevelt Collection for a Pit Stop on Monday, June 10th

Image from Roosevelt Collection Blog
It's apparently "Bike to Work" week in Chicago and since we like to trumpet alternative transportation methods thought we would let you know about a local event taking place in conjunction with the city's wider initiative (via Roosevelt Collection Blog):
Next Monday morning, June 10th, Roosevelt Collection and McCaffery Interests will be hosting a National Bike to Work Week event, welcoming cyclists from the South Loop and beyond to enjoy refreshments, learn about bike safety and meet with your two-wheeled inclined neighbors before they ride into work. Our pit stop—put on in conjunction with the Active Transportation Alliance and the Alliance for a Greener South Loop—will kick off the Commuter Bike Week Challenge. Below is everything you need to know:
What: Roosevelt Collection – Bike to Work Week Pit Stop
Where: 150 W Roosevelt Road – Center Plaza
When: 6/10 – 6:30 AM to 9 AM
We will have Caribou Coffee, Clif Bars, treats from Trader Joes and water bottles, among other goodies. Chicago non-profit Working Bikes, who work to provide donated bikes to those in need, will also join us next Monday.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Treasured Printers Row Lit Fest Begins Today

Probably the best fest in the hood begins today and ends on Sunday.  If you've never been, we highly recommend wandering around (even if you're not a literature buff).  You will run into some random things that will surely interest you.

Here is the website for more info.

If that doesn't do it for you, maybe you should wander slightly north and hit up Blues fest.

Both are great and both are so close to home!

Maybe we will see you around!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Nuovo Aesthetics Opens at 2037 S. Indiana

Remember that post we did a couple of weeks ago about a new business coming to 2037 S. Indiana.  Well it's time for their opening:
Nuovo Aesthetics and Smartlipo is excited to announce its official Grand Opening to be held on Saturday, June 8, 2013 from 12pm-4pm. Located at 2037 S. Indiana Avenue, Nuovo invites all Chicagoans to its ribbon cutting ceremony, complimentary application of flirty flare weekend lashes and Botox and Juvederm demonstrations. Guests will receive an opportunity to meet and greet the Owner and President, Dr. Dominic Tolitano and Nurse Manager, Crystal Spaeth,RN, and enjoy refreshments and fabulous prizes.
Good luck and welcome to the Sloop!

Confirmed: Sofi Coming to 616 S. Dearborn

At this point it seems like a done deal - a new Italian restaurant named Sofi will inhabit 616 S. Dearborn which was formerly Trattoria Caterina.

It's been a hot topic here on Sloopin as well as our message board.

But yesterday a reader sent us a picture of a sign in the window (pic on the right).

The website is clearly a work-in-progress, so we don't know a ton about the spot.  However, a couple well informed readers have done some digging for us.

First off it seems like Sofi will be a sister restaurant to the Lincoln Park spot called Riccardo Enoteca (2116 N. Clark).  That restaurant has solid reviews on yelp (3.5 stars) and open table (4 stars), so that's a good sign.  Entres apear to be in the $10 - $20 range.  Not cheap but definitely reasonable for Italian.

Another reader let us know that they're shooting for a June 15th opening.  That means they would open a week from Saturday.  We will see, but glad to see an experienced restauranteur opening a spot in the Sloop!

(Hat tip: Jake312, Jim in the Sloop, MJ!)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Maxwell Development Gets $53 Million in Financing

Rendering of the Maxwell (via Chicago Real Estate Daily)
Big box retailers are apparently lining up to come to the Roosevelt Road shopping area.  While news and progress on the Maxwell has been steady since early 2012, a big financial hurdle seems to have been cleared for the massive retail project (via Chicago Real Estate Daily):
At time when many lenders are still skittish about retail real estate, a venture led by developer Rob Bond has landed $53.4 million in construction financing for a proposed South Loop shopping center anchored by Dick's Sporting Goods.
BMO Harris N.A. and PrivateBank & Trust Co. have agreed to split equally the financing for the Maxwell, a 230,000-square-foot center near Roosevelt Road and Canal Street, said Mr. Bond, who is developing the two-story project in a joint venture with Bucksbaum Retail Properties LLC.
Construction has started, with the project expected to open in September 2014.
Regardless of how you feel about national big box retailers, it's hard to deny that their is some solid momentum for the retail scene in the Sloop.

Beyond the news of the financing, a couple other interesting points from the article:

  • Burlington Coat Factory and Potbelly are reportedly opening up shop at the Maxwell (which would be in addition to Nordstrom Rack and Dick's Sporting Goods)
  • TJ Maxx is also mentioned as a potential tenant (without confirmation)
  • There is either 70 (or 90%) of the property already leased.  The article says both, but regardless it sounds like their is a lot of interest in the building
So what do you think?  Good sign for the Sloop?  Do you hate big box?

(Hat tip:  AR!)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bank Files Foreclosure Suit Against Chicago Firehouse

A South Loop dining fixture runs into a potential issue (via Chicago Real Estate Daily):
The temperature is rising for the owner of the Chicago Firehouse restaurant in the South Loop.

Northbrook Bank & Trust Co. has filed a foreclosure suit against Matthew O'Malley, who owns the steakhouse at 1401 S. Michigan Ave. The restaurateur failed to pay off a $2.7 million loan balance on the property that came due in February, according to a complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court.  
The lawsuit is the latest legal tangle for Mr. O'Malley, who also faces a $3.3 million foreclosure lawsuit by the same bank against a building he owns at 2400 S. Michigan Ave., the former home of the Chicago Defender.
The article goes onto to say that the lawsuit won't affect operations at any of Mr. O'Malley's business - City Tavern, Wabash Tap or Chicago Firehouse.

(Hat tip: MarkChicago!)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Zoning Committee Approves Construction of British School of Chicago in South Loop

DNAinfo provides the following update on the debate around the British School of Chicago:
Renderings of British School of Chicago & Rooftop Park
(Via DNAinfo)
A city zoning committee voted Monday to allow the construction of a British School of Chicago in a vacant lot behind the Roosevelt Collection mall in the South Loop.
If the Lincoln Park school decides to build a publicly accessible park atop the building, residents are lucky, because they might otherwise not have gotten a park at all, Ald. Danny Solis (25th) said Monday before taking the vote on a planned development amendment to allow the school's construction. 
The Chicago Park District "was never interested" in taking over responsibility for developing and maintaining a park at the site, despite promises of a 2.2 acre green space that residents have clung to for months of back-and-forth with McCaffery Interests, which owns the Roosevelt Collection and the surrounding land, Solis said.

So it sounds like the school is moving forward, right?

The big head scratcher is the sentence that starts with "if"!  Does that mean the school has the green light to be built, but the "rooftop park" is now not required?  Hopefully we're just reading that wrong.

Can anyone help clarify for us?

UPDATE (6/6) - From a reader:
Before we all fall down the rabbit hole of speculation and conjecture it's best that we gather and assess the facts of this matter. I emailed the author of DNAInfo's article Lizzie Schiffman for clarification on the story.

Here is her reply: "Sorry for the confusion! The developers have committed to building the park, but the point Ald. Solis was making was that they were doing it out of their own generosity, not an obligation to provide a park, since that promise was made by the previous developers. Apologies if that was unclear, and thanks for reading! Best, Lizzie"

Monday, June 3, 2013

The History Behind the Field Museum

[Field Museum of Natural History
(1921) Peirce Anderson, designer,
Graham, Anderson, Probst & White;
Graham Burnham & Co.;
D.H. Burnham & Co.;
architects /Image & Artwork: 
A good read for the history buff or just the casual fan of Chicago architecture (from designlinger):
If you weren't sure, you might wonder if that corrosively challenged marble maiden is holding up the porch roof of a classical Greek temple, but of course you'd be wrong. She is perched far from the Athenian Acropolis and stands proudly, though a little worse for wear, in Chicago near the shore of Lake Michigan. Built between 1915 and 1921, the Field Museum of Natural History was never intended to stand where it does today, but its classical facade was part of the plan from the get-go.  
The majesty of Greco-Roman classicism had a big impact on a lot of people as a result of Chicago architect Daniel Burnham's embrace of the ancient decorative form as the style of choice at the World Columbian Exposition in 1893. One of those so impressed was the city's powerful and wealthy merchant prince Marshall Field. He had hired Burnham the year before to build the first portion of what would become one of the largest department store buildings in the country, so he and Burnham had established a relationship that went beyond one anothers professional interests. But by the time the Fair opened for business in May of 1893 Burnham had moved away from the heavy rusticated stone his lead designer Charles Atwood had produced for Field's Wabash Avenue extension, and had become the champion of the western traditions of architectural antiquity.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Northerly Island Concert Venue Construction Delayed

Image from WBEZ
Big changes are in store of Northerly Island, but apparently it's going slower than anticipated given our inclement weather (via DNAinfo):
Headaches caused by recent heavy rain in Chicago didn't end with flooded basements and citywide power outages: The weather also forced the Northerly Island music venue's first post-renovation concert to be relocated. 
Dispatch, scheduled to play the former Charter One Pavilion Saturday, announced via Twitter and Facebook late Wednesday that its show would be relocated to UIC Pavilion after reps from Charter One warned that "their winter renovations wouldn't be completed in time for this Saturday's show."
While we're sorry for Dispatch fans who were hoping for a show under the stars, lucky for Live Nation (the venues operators) there aren't 22,000+ fans going to the concert and it could be easily relocated to UIC.

However, they better get their act together because when Jimmy Buffet and his parrot heads invade in late June they'll need the new venue open.  And we can't even imagine what would happen if the Phish fanatics have to be relocated...YIKES!

If that's not an interesting enough story for you, then we suggest checking out this gem from WBEZ and suspicion about the bidding process for the Northely Island concert venue.  Shady Chicago?