Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Batch of Openings Coming at Roosevelt Collection

H&M was the first retail shop to open at Roosevelt Collection a couple of weeks ago and it looks like White House | Black Market will be the second.  According to a post on the Roosevelt Collection blog:
We’re proud to announce that lead retailer White House | Black Market will be opening for business tomorrow morning, July 31! WH|BM is located in the West Building, and will be open 10 AM – 9 PM Monday – Saturday, and 11 AM – 7 PM Sunday.

If that doesn't excite you the blog also goes on to say that Z Gallerie, Fleet Feet and Ulta will be opening on August 8th.

Congrats to RC and the new retailers!  Looking forward to having you in the neighborhood.

(Hat tip:  KP!)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kurah Mediterranean Tapas Officially Opens Tomorrow

The retail space at the northeast corner of 14th and Michigan hasn't been kind to business owners - but something tells us that's about to change.

Kurah Mediterranean Tapas (1355 S. Michigan) will officially open its doors tomorrow, Wednesday July 31st.  For those who are keeping track, Kurah was preceded by Entourage Man (which moved to the West Loop and has closed that location) and Alains (the promising upscale restaurant that flamed out like defective stove).

Last Friday, we had the honor of attending a grand opening preview dinner at the restaurant.  While we can't comment on service (it was a special event, so everything was spot on) or price, we can give you our thoughts on the food and the space.

For a restaurant to succeed, one thing MUST be right - the food.  We haven't seen the full menu, but in our opinion the neighborhood is ready for some high quality Mediterranean food.  At the event, we had a variety of dishes to taste:
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese
  • Appetizer:  Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese
  • Appetizer:  Hummus and fresh pita
  • Appetizer:  Fattoush salad
  • Appetizer:  Oysters
  • Appetizer:  Shrimp ceviche
  • Main course option:  Salmon
  • Main course option:  Lamb shank
  • Dessert:  Baklava, Fig dipped in chocolate encrusted with pistachios, flan

All of it was beautifully presented and extremely delicious.  Our favorite thing was the bacon wrapped dates - absolutely amazing!  The salmon and lamb shank were huge and seasoned deliciously.

This obviously isn't the full menu, but it still gave us a good sense for the quality of the food and direction they're headed.  And we like were they're headed.

The second thing that stood out in our mind was the buildout of the space.  Entourage man was a minimalistic boutique.  Alain's was a small and simple restaurant.  But Kurah has transformed the space into an intimate environment with a unique setup that maximizes their space and the high ceilings.  The second floor loft area is an ingenious use of space.

Last Friday was a good first experience for us.  But we can't wait for the second!  Congrats to Kurah and welcome to the neighborhood!

For more details on the restaurant, Chicago Magazine weighs in:
Kurah Mediterranean Tapas (1355 S. Michigan Ave., 312-624-8611) will serve Middle Eastern-inspired dinners and tapas and a full bar with a craft-beer focus. Though they already own South Loop Market, this is Moe Hammad and Jamil Kanan’s first foray into the restaurant world. Dan Sarkiss has left Bridgeport’s Zaytune to lead Kurah’s kitchen and plans to bring locally sourced, organic Mediterranean to Sloopers.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Thanks for All the Facebook Likes and Twitter Follows

A quick housekeeping post to say thanks to everyone who comes to Sloopin and thanks for all of you who have helped us build our community on Facebook and Twitter as well.

We're at 995 likes on Facebook and are hoping to get to 1,000 this week!

If you don't like us yet, it's a great way to get updates on the Sloop and engage with your neighbors.

Same goes for Twitter (but we have a ways to go since we're at 703 followers)!

South Loop Luxury by Related

Sponsored Post

The South Loop is excited to welcome new neighbors, South Loop Luxury by Related. These three condominium residences, adjacent to our lovely lakefront, are conveniently centered in our thriving, hip and vibrant neighborhood, perfectly situated in the heart of Chicago among the best attractions, shops and dining.

Each building delivers all of the benefits of the South Loop along with breathtaking views: The Grant reaches out over Chicago’s iconic Grant Park…Adler Place overlooks the Museum Campus…and Harbor View rests alongside Burnham Harbor.

In this sophisticated setting, South Loop Luxury by Related owners find best-in-class condominium living and enduring value, with an array of gorgeous amenities and exceptional contemporary design.

To learn more about South Loop Luxury by Related, stop by Open Houses at The Grant each Saturday + Sunday from 12-4 PM and Harbor View each Sunday from 12-4 PM, or visit

Sleepys to Come Next Door to Recently Opened Vitamin Shoppe on Roosevelt

More and more retail chains continue to flock to Roosevelt.

Upon a recent trip down the street we noticed that Vitamin Shoppe is officially open and right next door a new mattress store is opening called Sleepys (605 W Roosevelt):

It's probably not the most sexy place to come to the neighborhood, but just a sign of things to come for this area of Roosevelt.

This marks the third mattress store on Roosevelt (Bed One at Clinton/Roosevelt and Bedding Experts at State/Clark) east of the 90/94.

When Bedding Experts opened at State and Roosevelt, many people thought it was a bad spot for a mattress store.  With that said, which bedding store has the best location?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hat Tip T-Shirt Time! Get Yours!

Week four and the tips keep on coming!  Thanks!

If you gave us a tip and didn't claim your t-shirt please email us at

Here were this weeks eligible t-shirt recipients:

  • MC
  • NR
  • AR
  • DK

For some background on our hat tip t-shirt program click here for an old post.

Shots Around the Sloop: 18th Street Bridge

(Hat tip: DK!)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Whipping the Sloop

Thanks to MarkChicago for noticing and capturing this weird scene (originally posted on our message board):


(Hat tip:  MC!)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Expect to See A Lot of Hawks Jerseys This Weekend

The sixth annual Chicago Blackhawks convention invades the South Loop and Hilton Tower starting this afternoon.

With Hawk mania at a ridiculous high, expect to see a ton of Indian Head jersey's floating around the neighborhood.

The Tribune has some of the key stats/events of the weekend here.

If you don't have tickets (it's sold-out...of course) they will be streaming some events on

Plan to Develop Main Post Office Area Gets Through City Council; Construction Could Theoretically Begin

There has been a ton of speculation and rumors about the old post office, but apparently the most recent plan is moving forward (although it's got a long, long way to go - story via
Renderings for Development (Image from
A plan to develop a three-tower mixed-use complex around the landmark former Chicago Main Post Office sailed through City Council Wednesday after a recommendation from the zoning committee, clearing a path for construction that could take more than two decades to complete. 
Architect Joseph Antunovich, of Antunovich Associates, told Chicago that phase one of the construction, expected to take seven to 10 years, will build out 5 million square feet at a cost of $1.5 billion. The second half of phase one, building another 5 million square feet, likely would cost more.
The story gives more details on the scope of the project as well as some complaints from South Loop Neighbors.

Anyway, many people think this site could become the "Chicago Casino" spot.  Time will tell.

(Hat tip:  NR!)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Strange Story: Mariano's Building for Sale...Before It's Completed?!?!

We got a lot of tips about this strange story in Crain's Chicago yesterday:
Rendering of the new Mariano's
A Mariano's Fresh Market under construction in the South Loop is up for sale. 
The developers of the 65,568-square-foot grocery at 1615 S. State St. hope to get about $45 million for the property, or $686 per square foot, according to a source. 
At that price, the sale would generate a huge gain over the $22.7 million the city of Chicago estimated the project would cost.

We're not real estate experts, but wow - pretty impressive to turn that type of gain before a project is even done.

All you real estate experts out there, is this common?

We had some people that thought that this means that the Mariano's isn't happening, but from what we understand it's still moving forward.  The builders of the building are just trying to sell it to make a profit - since it's a desirable franchise and lease:
Milwaukee-based Roundy's Supermarkets Inc. (owner of Mariano's) has a 20-year lease for the South Loop store that begins this fall, according to an offering memorandum from Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, which the developers hired to sell the property.  
The rent kicks up 4.2 percent in year 11, and Roundy's has four five-year renewal options.
That last blurb makes us optimistic that opening is soon.  Not sure, but our fingers our crossed.

(Hat tip:  AR, GG, EK, TR, TC!)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Anthony Weiner Scandal Comes to the Sloop

1235 S. Prairie Gets Some National Attention Thanks to Anthony Weiner
Usually we could care less about the mayoral race in New York City.  Yes, it's been in the news a lot lately given the infamous actions of one candidate, Anthony Weiner.

Well yesterday this story hit a little closer to home (via NBC5):
Former congressman and current New York City Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner may have offered to purchase a South Loop condo for a social media sexting partner last year, a new report claims.
Strange, strange, unfortunate, and strange.

The site goes on to give some more details:
According to the gossip site, Weiner and the woman apparently had plans that extended beyond online chats. The site claims that Weiner planned to purchase a Chicago condo -- located at 1235 S. Prairie Avenue -- so the two could meet and have sex.
Is this true?  Who knows.  Will he still become mayor of NYC?  Wouldn't shock us.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

South Loop Brewing Company Collaborates On Two New Beers; Releases Them at Weather Mark Tavern

You may recall that in 2011 Chicago Journal had an article about South Loop Brewing Company.  The post was slightly confusing.  Was it an actual company?  Was it simply a guy who likes to brew beer?  Or was it something more?

Well the company has continued to brew and Jeremiah Zimmer gave us an update:
At present, South Loop Brewing Company consists of three guys, a homebrewing operation and a dream to bring the community of craft beer to the South Loop. Since we're not 100% funded yet or licensed, we're free to collaborate with other licensed brewers, but not release beers on our own and in our own facility just yet. We intend to get there through a Kickstarter campaign slated to launch this September (more on that as soon as it launches), but it was important to us to get actual beer on tap so friends, family and strangers alike could try our handiwork before we asked them to help us fund a brick-and-mortar brewery. 
The two-beer collaboration ("Sailor's Delight" & "Sailor's Warning") we brewed with Lake Effect Brewing Company is our first and the response and support so far has been exciting and extremely motivating. We're really looking forward to tapping those kegs and seeing what people think. 
We aim to continue gaining momentum with more collaboration brews and may start by brewing our original recipes at other friend-breweries to get our beer into market sooner, but the end goal is a production brewery with a taproom and shop in South Loop proper. We've already scouted a handful of locations (a couple near Michigan & 14th and one near 13th & Wabash) that could eventually be our home, so we're excited and hoping for the best on our ability to reach our Kickstarter goal. 
Many of our beers are inspired by and named after South Loop-related areas or roads: "India(na Ave.) Pale Ale," "Solidarity Stout" and "Hop Monster of the Midway," to name a few. We want to have fun with our beer names and styles, but we also intend to tell a story about the South Loop when and where possible.

With that said, if you're interested in trying their beer:

Monday, July 22, 2013

Eater Chicago Talks to White Palace Grill Shift Manager

Eater Chicago had "greasy spoons week" recently and not surprisingly they stopped in to talk to Hector Rivera, shift manager at White Palace Grill (1159 S. Canal), to get a sense of how things are run.

It's a fun Q&A for all you diner fans.  Our favorite blurb:
What do you do for these celebrities who come in?
When Bono came in, one of the waitresses was a big fan. She paid for his ticket, but then he turned around and left her a $50 tip. I was kind of nervous, but I got his autograph. We tried not to bother him too much. I say hi, I'm a fan, and I'll shake their hand. I try not to bother them too much cause they're celebrities and they get that all the time wherever they go.

Gives us an excuse to post this video from U2 playing at Soldier Field a couple of years ago:

Your Chance to Check-Out The Grant (1201 S. Prairie) on July 31st

Sponsored Post

We've always been enamored with the views of Chicago from the buildings in the South Loop.  While we haven't seen them all, we've seen a fair share.  

With that said, we're excited to partner with CS Magazine and Related Midwest for a fun event and an opportunity to check out the views at The Grant (1201 Prairie Ave): 

Maybe we will be lucky and see Sloopy the Falcon:
Sloopy the Falcon Spotted on the Balcony at The Grant

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week Three - Get Your Sloopin Hat-Tip T-Shirt!

Week three and the tips keep on coming.  If your initials are below and you contributed a tip this week you're eligible for a Sloopin Hat Tip t-shirt:

  • DK
  • VM
  • AA
  • AR
  • SL
  • JB
  • GC

If you don't know what the hell we're talking about in the post, click here for some perspective.

For those of you who have sent us a tip and haven't seen it posted, don't fret.  We're probably going to post it sometime soon.

Thanks again!

My Fit Foods Coming to the Sloop?

A reader writes about a possible retail tip:
I was at My Fit Foods in Lakeview on Halsted ( and asked if they're going to open anything in South Loop. They said they were going to open two locations in South Loop in the next 6 months. Didn't say where when I asked, but thought I'd pass along this Sloop Tip.
We've never been to My Fit Foods, but looks pretty good.  Hopefully this is true.

Has anyone been?  If so, what do you think?

(Hat tip: AE!)

Shots Around the Sloop: Backside

(Hat tip: DK!)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jazz Showcase Earns "Best Place to Hear Live Jazz" from Chicago Magazine

We love live music and for some reason we still haven't been to the Jazz Showcase (806 S. Plymouth) in Printers Row.

Here is another reason why we need to (via Chicago Magazine):
Quieter than the Green Mill and less touristy than Andy’s, this intimate South Loop venue is a haven for die-hards. The steep cover ($20) gets you up close with performers such as the Grammy-winning bassist Esperanza Spalding and the progressive New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton.
Speaking of live music that we love, Lollapalooza is apparently a very tough (and now expensive) ticket to get.  Can anyone hook your favorite blog up with a ticket or two (FYI - this is our shameless attempt to not pay out the wazoo for tickets)?

(Hat tip: VM!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Heat Power Outage

The heat has apparently cause some issues for some residents in the Sloop.  A reader writes in:
Hey Sloopy, 
Why no news about the local power outage? We live on Indiana between 16th and 18th. Our entire block (plus several others) had brownouts throughout the day and lost all power at 3pm Thursday. We had power briefly (20mins) around 7pm, but then it went out again. ComEd got everything back on after midnight. But it doesn't seem like the problem is actually fixed. There is a giant semi truck generator parked on 18th street between Indiana and Michigan right now. Did anyone else report this to you? We're keeping our fingers crossed that the generator keeps our A/C on until the heat breaks this weekend.

This is the first we've heard about this.  Upon some googling, we found a brief mention on ABC7's website, but that's it.

Stay cool...

(Hat tip:  AA!)

Man Shot to Death at 15th and Prairie;
South Loop Shootings Down Over the Last Decade

We, like many people in the Sloop, woke up to a staggering headline on the front page of your morning paper (or website) - "2 Dead in Shooting in South Loop, Lawndale".  Not much information is available besides:
Andre Button, 33, of Dolton was shot around 11:25 p.m. Thursday as he sat in a parked car near 15th Place and Indiana Avenue in the South Loop, police said. He tried to drive away and crashed into two parked cars on Prairie Avenue. 
Button was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead there at 12:01 a.m., authorities said. He lived in the 14300 block of Lincoln Avenue in Dolton.
Ironically, we were getting ready to post a story about "The Data Behind Chicago's Gun Crime" that WBEZ posted this week.  There is an interesting animated map showing the progression of shootings and this stat about our neighborhood:
The Near South Side, which includes the South Loop neighborhood has experienced a drop in shootings from a 2003 high of 15, and now has about 1 annually.
(Hat tip:  AR, NM, CL MC!)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kai Sushi at 1255 S. State Grand Opening Slated for Friday

We posted about Kai Sushi coming to the Sloop back in March and according to various hat tips and a sign in the window, it looks like the grand opening is tomorrow:
I live down the street from Kai sushi and have been dying for it to open ( who doesn't live byob rolls, especially in this summer heat) and so I was thrilled to finally see the paper off the windows. I immediately called their sister location on grand ave to ask about the south loop's opening date and they told me this Friday!!
We peaked inside and it looks nice, but pretty standard in regard to Sushi restaurant decor.  It's a small, intimate space which should lend itself to a nice experience.  

If you're not familiar with Kai, they have a location on Grand which is pretty popular (4.5 stars on Yelp).

Welcome to the hood and looking forward to trying them out.

(Hat tip: SL & CD!)

Shots Around the Sloop: Isn't She Lovely

(Hat tip: JB!)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Acquisition Plan for Congress Hotel Falls Through

For those of you who were hoping for a glorious transformation of the dated Congress Hotel (a la the Blackstone Hotel), sounds like you're going to have to wait a little longer (via CRED):
Congress Hotel (via Curbed Chicago)
A plan to convert the Congress Plaza Hotel across from Grant Park into condominiums has fallen apart. A joint venture of two New York-based firms, Aimcap and Halcyon Development, that planned the project agreed to pay $275 million for the 871-room hotel at 520 S. Michigan Ave. but failed to secure the financing for the deal, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
The blurb goes onto say that the current owner has plans to update, but as the saying goes...don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Head of the Class: New Schools Shine in the Sloop

The fine folks at Curbed Chicago had a recent post looking at the progress of two new schools in the South Loop - Jones College Prep & East West University.

Both schools are in the process of finishing their buildings and from the outside both are unique and stunning:
New Jones College Prep at Polk & State (image via Kevin Dickert - Curbed Chicago)
Shinny new East West University building at 825 S. Wabash (image via Kevin Dickert - Curbed Chicago)
Both buildings are great additions to the neighborhood, but in our mind the East West building is simple and elegant with some subtle architectural flourishes that make it interesting.

The Jones College Prep building is massive!  While it's also interesting to look at for some reason it feels unsettling to our eye.  It lacks consistency and seems like a jumbled concept with many layers that screams "let's make this more complicated than it needs to be".

Anyway, the Curbed post has some additional pictures of each structure and has information on the architects and other attributes to each building.

While neither stack up to the impact or scale of Roosevelt University's "Vertical Campus", both are solid additions to the neighborhood. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Moving in Chicago: 6 Rules You Didn't Know

Sponsored Post

Moving in Chicago can be overwhelming if you don’t know the rules. There are shady moving companies out there that hit you with unexpected charges, or hold your goods hostage, or don't show up at all.

But the folks at Bernard Movers, a moving company in Chicago's south loop that has been serving Chicagoans for 40 years, has some tips to relieve your stress and keep you from getting scammed:

1. When you’re moving in Chicago, your mover must unload your belongings if you pay the full amount of the written estimate
If the moving company charges more than 110% of the written estimate, they are required to give you 30 days to pay the remaining balance and MUST unload your belongings if you 110 percent upon delivery.

2. You have 90 days to file a claim for loss or damage
Once you file a claim for loss or damage, the moving company must acknowledge the claim within 30 days and pay, settle or deny it within 120 days. They also have the right to inspect the damaged property, so don’t discard or repair the item until consulting with them.

3. Movers in Illinois must be licensed with the Illinois Commerce Commission
Any company that transports or stores household property on a for-hire basis must carry a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

This also means they have to comply with the ICC’s standards for insurance coverage and how they handle, load, move and unload your property.

4. A moving company is required to give you a free written estimate
If your mover tries to get a fee from you to come out and inspect your home or goods, then you’re getting scammed. Even a mention of this is a good sign you should hang up the phone.

5. A “bill of lading” is required
Your moving company can’t operate on a handshake. If you think they’re being anal about the process, understand that if they’re a reputable company, they must get a signed contract from you that includes their responsibilities, the services they’ll perform, when the move will happen, how they will charge for it and what their liability is.

(Important moving terms and definitions)

6. A Chicago Moving Company’s prices aren’t flexible
If your mover is willing to negotiate a special deal for your move, they’re shady. Movers licensed in Illinois are not allowed to offer discounts or flat rates except those that are specifically outlined in the tariff published with the Illinois Commerce Commission.

A Chicago moving company is required to publish a tariff, or fee schedule, with the ICC that outlines all of the services and charges of the movers. The ICC holds all movers to those published rates, regulations and procedures.

For moves within 35 miles, fees must be based on an hourly rate. If your move is more than 35 miles but within Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kendall or Will counties, it is also done on an hourly basis. However, if the move is more than 35 miles, you’ll be charged by weight and distance.

For more information on moving in Chicago and moving in Illinois, visit these sites:
Brought to you by Bernard Movers:

LA Boxing Changes to UFC Gym; Caring Hands Pet Spa Closes

A reader writes:
I was just out for a walk and noticed that the LA Boxing at 9th & State has changed its name to UFC Gym. It's a temporary sign right now, but I think it's interesting that they're using the official UFC logo. So it's either owned by the UFC, some sort of officially licensed franchise, or trying to get away with one.
We noticed this as well.

On a different note, it appears that Caring Hands Pet Spa (1400 S. Michigan block) has apparently closed.  A reader noticed that all of the equipment inside was gone.  We called them a couple of times and no one picked up and no voicemail.

(Hat tip: GC & ND!)  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hat Tip T-Shirt Program - Don't Forget to Claim Your T-Shirt

Second week of Hat Tip t-shirts!  Again thanks for all the stories, tips, photos, etc.

For those of you who are wondering what the hell this post is about - check our old post about the Hat Tip program.

This weeks eligible t-shirt winners are:

  • TT
  • VC
  • SC
  • AM
  • VG
  • KM
  • AR
  • CD
  • SS

If you didn't email us at, please do and we will notify the fine peeps at Well Future Pharmacy (1442 S. Michigan).

Shots Around the Sloop: Stormy Blue

(Hat tip:  SS!)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Creepy Heads, but Good Message - Plant Green Sculptures

We've received a couple emails from readers about some street art that popped up on Michigan Avenue: and their giant heads on Michigan Avenue
These look pretty creepy to us, but the message is positive.  According to their website
Plant Green Ideas Chicago 2013 is a never-before-seen interactive art installation intended to inspire new ways of thinking about sustainability and to encourage new behaviors that will positively impact the environment while also raising awareness of Chicago’s leadership in the “green” economy.
(Hat tip:  CD & LH!)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Court Upholds Ruling That Allows 21 Buyers to Get Out of Contracts for 1201 S. Prairie Tower (aka The Grant)

From Crain's last week:
The Illinois Appellate Court ruled that 21 buyers in a failed South Loop condominium tower are entitled to back out of their contracts and recoup their earnest money deposits, a blow for the project's lender.  
The court last month affirmed a 2011 Cook County Circuit Court decision that the developer of the 298-unit tower at 1201 S. Prairie Ave., part of the Central Station development, failed to meet construction deadlines, voiding the purchase contracts. The buyers, who collectively were under contract to pay more than $17 million for their condos at the tower, sued to get back their deposits, which total nearly $2 million.

Nothing to surprising on this story, but still something we figured we would post about.

(Hat tip:  AR!)

Old Skid Row Video, Monkey Business, Shot at Vacant Land South of Roosevelt

A reader writes:
I remember in the early 90’s racing to 18th and the river to get a glimpse of Skid Row filming their video on the vacant land between 18th and Roosevelt.

(Hat tip:  KM!)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vitamin Shoppe Opening at 601 W. Roosevelt (Southwest Corner of Roosevelt and Jefferson)

Roosevelt Road continues to get a makeover.

This time it's a new Vitamin Shoppe that is coming to the southwest corner of Roosevelt and Jefferson (601 W. Roosevelt):

The building above has been completely rebuilt.  For those who were wondering what was there before it was the Chicago Hosiery and Underwear store (601 W. Roosevelt):
Old picture via Yelp
The Vitamin Shoppe is pretty much done inside, it just needs to be stocked:

(Hat tip: VG and KB!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

City Segway Tours Opens - Offers Sloopin a Ride & Tour

A family from Canada on our tour with Medow (our tour guide) taking their picture
We've spent plenty of hours poking fun at Segways on this blog.  Why?  Well they seem silly to us.

If you recall, back in May we did a post about City Segway Tours moving to the Sloop.  While we were happy to see more business come to the neighborhood, we definitely rolled our eyes at this one.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and the nice people at City Segway Tours reached out to us and offered us a try.  While we're not going to go into great depth, we will give you a couple highlights and our thoughts:

  • It definitely takes 10-15 minutes to get the hang of the Segways.  While they're not difficult to operate  they're definitely different...but we admit pretty fun.  If I was a tourist in Chicago, it would definitely be worth a fun way to explore the city.
  • While we thought we knew a lot about our neighborhood, Grant Park and Museum Campus our tour guide (Meadow) was really good, knowledgable, engaging and patient.  He gave us some great tidbits that we won't share, but are pretty interesting.  Definitely worth the ride.
  • Probably the most entertaining thing about the whole experience was the looks that we got as we zoomed by people in Grant Park and on the lake.  It was the look of "man, you look silly but I'm kinda jealous because I want to see what that's like."
To close, let us be clear...we thoroughly enjoyed our ride.  Would we pay to do it again - maybe?  If we had guests in town that wanted to get a tour and do something fun, we would highly suggest it.  For those of you who live in the city, we would recommend it, but maybe not as strongly.

Regardless, it's good to have good people in the welcome to the neighborhood City Segway Tours.  While your business might center around a silly looking "vehicle", you offer a great product and a fun, informative time.

Windows Installed - Progress at Two New Restaurants

We've gotten a bunch of emails asking about the status of two on the 1300 block of the South Loop - Giordano's (1340 S. Michigan) and Asian Outpost (1315 S. Wabash).  While we haven't heard anything formal, a couple readers have sent us pictures and info.

First up is Giordano's.  Most people (us included) assumed this buildout would take awhile since the building seems to be in bad shape.  Apparently we were wrong.

Huge glass picture windows have been installed which gives everyone a nice glimpse into the new restaurant:

The reader also sent us a picture of the buildout inside:

Definitely further along than we anticipated.  They also have a "now hiring" sign on the building, so sounds like things are progressing pretty fast.

Second up is Asian Outpost.  We posted about this forthcoming restaurant in late March and from the outside it doesn't appear that much was going on.  Avid readers will probably remember that the previous restaurant, Ole Hardwood, infamously went up in flames back in late 2010.  With that said, we assumed the buildout was going to be tough given the massive fire that preceded it.

Anyway, it might still be a big buildout, but progress has begun on the outside.  New windows are replacing the plywood that covered up the old windows.  Not sure when they're planning on opening, but it's always good to see progress.

(Hat tip: AM & DK!)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

City Planners Want Ability to Buy "Rezko" Lot South of Roosevelt

One of the more infamous vacant lots in the Sloop is in the news again.  The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, at the risk of reviving memories of old political scandals, wants the authority to acquire a huge tract south of downtown once owned by convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko.  
The 62-acre property is vacant. It’s where Rezko and cohorts a decade ago wanted to put up 4,600 homes and an Ikea. 

The article goes on to explain:
City planners want permission to buy the site, which runs from Roosevelt to 16th and from the Chicago River east to Clark. The matter is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the Community Development Commission, which reviews city land deals. 
Approval would give the city the right, but not the obligation, to negotiate a sale or buy it forcibly through eminent domain. Municipalities sometimes use the threat of eminent domain to push property owners into selling or improving a parcel.

If you recall, back in February of this year a couple readers sent us emails about a potential zoning change Alderman Solis was seeking for the property.  Crain's Chicago did some more digging on the topic, but didn't unearth anything substantial.  That's the last we heard about that.

The gigantic lot has a ton of potential and could go a long way in shaping the future of the neighborhood.  Some fear it could be used for a casino.  Some want it to be developed into mixed used residential/retail.  Only time will tell what happens to this prime piece of real estate.

(Hat tip: SC, TOC, EJM!)

Muggings in the Sloop - Stay Safe and Be Vigilant

We've received a couple emails and read a couple of reports about crime around the city lately and wanted to do a quick post about them.  A reader writes:
I wanted to inform your readers to be on their guard when walking through grant park at night. Last night, Fri., July 5th, at 10:45p, I was walking right in front of the steps leading to the bridge that goes to the Metra station at 11th and Michigan. The next thing I knew, from behind I was punched in the right jaw. I spun around and saw three people in their early 20's yelling "Give me your s***, M'fer". I ran immediately to Michigan, and they did not pursue as there was enough crowd on the street. I ended up with a sore jaw, bleeding ear and a chipped tooth. 
I walk this park every day to/from work to my home in the sloop. I have filed a police report, but just want fellow residents/visitors to be on the lookout.

Along those lines, the main story on the Tribune last night was about an off-duty police officer who was beaten badly in the 2000 block of South State:
Jimmy Sherlock (via Chicago Tribune)
Chicago police Officer Jimmy Sherlock is recovering at his home after being beaten unconscious while off duty during a robbery in the South Loop that he barely remembers, a frustrating circumstance that has him and his police brethren looking for the public's help. 
"They came from behind; I don't really remember much at all," Sherlock said Monday. "I was knocked out cold."As a reminder be vigilant out there.  
These issues aren't isolated to the South Loop (and obviously a lot worse in some places), but that doesn't mean you should take this news lightly.  Stay safe.

On a related but more positive note, here is a link to a recent story from the Tribune about a man who chased and stopped a robber in the Gold Coast because "I was sick of it".

UPDATE from a reader on 7/9 at 11:45am:
I was just running with my 2 year old and came upon a mugging at 14th and State. A girl, who looked in her early 20s, was mugged at the bus stop by a black male and female. 
A bystander caught the male and pinned him to the ground. The police have him, but the girl got away and the police were looking for her behind the fence there at 14th and state/where some shrubbery is that backs up to the tracks. 

Derrick King (Police photo / July 9, 2013)
ANOTHER UPDATE on a new article on Tribune today.  This is crazy and unfortunate on many many fronts.  Clearly this system isn't working with this guy:
A man who knocked out a woman’s teeth when she refused to give him a cigarette outside a South Loop Jewel has been arrested again -- at the same store, this time for attacking customers with umbrellas, according to police. 
Derrick King pushed a woman inside the store at 1224 S. Wabash Ave. Monday night and began swinging around two umbrellas he’d stolen, police said. King, 51, who listed his address as the Pacific Garden Mission blocks away, was charged with felony retail theft and misdemeanor reckless conduct. 

(Hat tip: TT, ND, VC, KCB!)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Skate Park & Performance Space Proposed for Grassy Field at South End of Grant Park

Birds-eye view of proposed skate park and public area (via DNAinfo Chicago)
DNAinfo has a great post (with renderings) outlining a proposal to reshape an empty grassy field at the south end of Grant Park (approximately Roosevelt and Prairie):
Early renderings for the new skate park proposed on a 3-acre plot in Grant Park depict a Seussical combination of public plaza space and classic skate park features. Chicago has obtained images of what Grant Park Conservancy President Bob O'Neill calls "very preliminary designs" of the skate park set to be built between Michigan Avenue, Roosevelt Road and Columbus Drive next year.

There are some other interesting renderings here.  The performance space looks nice:
Performance space (via DNAinfo Chicago)
In other interesting news reported on by DNAinfo, the idea of a "tree-lined" protected bike lane on Roosevelt between State and Columbus has been discussed:
The Chicago Department of Transportation is considering building a two-way bike lane on Roosevelt Road that would be protected not by plastic poles or parking spaces, but a line of trees. 
Construction of a skate park in Grant Park could coincide with construction to build a bike lane that would connect the Roosevelt Road CTA station to Soldier Field, Museum Campus and Northerly Island, said Bob O'Neill, head of the nonprofit Grant Park Conservancy.
While this sounds interesting, it also sounds like a nightmare for an already busy street that cuts through the Sloop.  As always, the devil is in the details.  It sounds like this is in the early conceptual stages, so before anyone gets bent out of shape, let's see what the concept looks like (if it even happens).

(Hat tip: TT!)

Chicago Architecture Blog Provides Must Read Post on McPiers Plans for the South Loop

McPier plans for two hotels and event center (image via Chicago Architecture Blog)
There has been a ton of information flying around about McPiers plans for development around the "motor row" area.  We feel like we've read most of the articles and frankly it's been tough to follow.

The fine folks at The Chicago Architecture Blog have a must read post that lays out the plans with neighborhood objections and McPier rationale points.  It's a great read and definitely something we highly suggest clicking on to read the full post.

It starts off with the following paragraph.  If you can identify with this sentiment, then you should take 5 minutes and read the post:
The latest plans for a new hotel and arena for the McCormick Place Convention Center are so far-reaching and so entangled with other nearby developments that many otherwise sensible neighborhood residents aren’t sure what to think.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thanks to This Weeks Hat Tippers - Get Your T-Shirt!

We rolled out our Hat Tip t-shirts last Monday and got a flood of great tips.  So thanks for that!

Here are this weeks peeps who are eligible for a Sloopin Hat Tip T-Shirt.  If you see your initials and submitted a story, send us an email at to redeem the shirt:
  • RG
  • NM
  • JH
  • SH  
If you sent us a tip, but didn't see it come up yet, don't fret.  It probably will in the near future!

And if you want a shirt, but don't have a tip to share yet you can go to Well Future Pharmacy (1442 S. Michigan) and buy one for $15.

Thanks again and don't forget to wear your shirt with pride.

Shots Around the Sloop: Struck

(Hat tip:  SH!)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dentologie is Open at 1259 S. Wabash

Dentologie is now open and they had a grand opening party this past Sunday, June 30th:
Bassel and the Supernaturals christened the new Dentologie at 1259 S. Wabash
Congrats on the opening and welcome to the Sloop!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Salon Named Isabella's Coming to 1316 South Michigan?

Isabella's Neon Sign Appears in Window at 1316 South Michigan

A small building that used to house Comet Messenger Service seems to be getting a new tenant.  After a reader tipped us to a new Isabella's neon sign in the window, we went by and snapped some photos:
South portion of the building at 1316 S. Michigan
Chairs at 1316 S. Michigan
While we aren't sure, judging by our photos it looks like it will be a spa and nail space.  While it seems like we have a good share of salons in the neighborhood, anything occupying this space would be a big upgrade.

(Hat tip:  JH, DK & MP!)