Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Chuck D and Mavis Staples Feature Sloop in "Give We the Pride" Music Video

Well this isn't a new video, but a reader recently tipped us to it.  It definitely seems like the majority of the video was shot in the Sloop near and around the historic Chess Records at 2120 S. Michigan (which is now Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation):

It's a pretty catchy (however slightly cheesy) song and maybe not the most artistically advanced music video ever, but hey who are we to judge.


(Hat tip:  AR!)

Monday, June 29, 2015

705 S. Dearborn Retail Space Being Split Up? One Space Will Be Salon; Other TBD?

An update from a post we did last week about the empty retail space at 705 S. Dearborn in Printers Row.  A reader writes:
I live in the Donohue Building where Daniela's salon was. According to the dry cleaner next door, the new owners are dividing the space into two. (It's a big space.) One of the maintenance guys in my building says that at least one of the spaces will be—you'd better sit down—another salon. The other he doesn't know about. Hopefully something more interesting.


(Hat tip:  AA!)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Sloopin Open House:
Loft Living in the Franklin Building

This week on the Sloopin open house we return to South Dearborn Street and the historic Franklin Building (720 S. Dearborn).  The open house unit is an airy 1 bed/1 bath plus den with lots of window:

The cost comes in at just under $300K, but no parking.  However, you're close to the red line as well as a divvy station, so come on - embrace urban living!

This open house will take place on Saturday (6/27) from 11:30 - 1:30pm.

Friday, June 26, 2015

New Foot Reflexology Parlor Coming to 1319 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
Waked by this morning, saw doors wide open and it looked like construction was imminent. Then I noticed the permit for a foot reflexology parlor.

When we first saw this we assumed this was the DQ Luxury foot spa at 9th and Michigan relocating down the street.  We know people in the Sloop like to be pampered, but is there really a market to support two foot spas (not to mention all the pedicure places)?

But then again, what do we know.

Since this has sparked our curiosity, we at some point intend to try one of these places out.

(Hat tip:  MK!)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Looking Back at this Past Weekend's Dew Tour BMX/Skateboard Event

We've received some feedback from this past weekends Dew Tour event at Grant park.  Generally speaking it seems like it was a positive, interesting event with some fun photos:

But it wasn't all roses.  Another reader sent us this picture:
We can only hope that they will be footing the bill for any damage they do (similar to what C3 does for Lollapalooza).  Anyone have info on whether they will pay for this repair?

(Hat tip:  NM & WSR!)

Public Notice Appears for 4 Story Building at 839 S. Wells

A reader writes:
Currently this is a very rundown but active surface parking lot. Looks like someone has applied to convert it to a four-story retail & residential building. While many in the neighborhood will lament the loss of parking, this lot is an eyesore- the owners never pick up trash, keep up with curbside weeds and it's a home for rats. Interested to see what will become of this lot across from the almost-finished British School.

Just in case you can't read the public notice above it says:
To establish a 4 story retail/office on the ground floor and 42 dwelling units on the floors above with a rear setback reduction.
We're pretty sure this is the same land that we heard was going to be developed last November.  Not sure if this is the same plan or if this is a new one, but one thing is certain - this stretch on Wells is changing rapidly.

With the CMK/Lend Lease activity at Harrison/Chicago River and the Related Midwest activity just south of Roosevelt, the next 5 to 15 years should be interesting along Wells.

(Hat tip:  AM!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Some Activity Inside the Former Daniela's Hair Salon (705 S. Dearborn)

A reader writes:
There seems to be some activity at the long closed Daniela's Salon and Day Spa on Dearborn. The For Sale/Rent sign seems to have disappeared and there is movement of fixtures and tools, etc., in the space.
I am not sure what is transporting here but it would be great to have this prime Printers Row space occupied again.

For those who are unfamiliar, Daniela's closed back in 2011.

This is one of the Sloop's most prime retail spots, so hopefully something noteworthy would go in here.  Seems ripe for a restaurant/bar.

Anyone have any scoop?

(Hat tip:  MS!)

Restaurant Updates:
Acadia Closed for Repairs; Ma & I Open Again

It seems like there has been a lot of questions surrounding restaurants in the Sloop.  With that said, wanted to quickly post a couple updates on things we've heard and read:

Acadia (1639 S. Wabash)
A reader writes:
Went over in the rain the other night and was disappointed to see Acadia closed for a good portion of the summer. I hope this post can save someone else from making the hike in this endless rainy season. But I really hope this is a real renovation and not "renovation."

While it's natural to be skeptical, according to Chicago Reader the building got damaged during the recent storms:
Ryan McCaskey's Acadia got soaked in the recent rains and will be closed for repairs for about two weeks. To help raise some cash, they're hosting a BBQ on the patio, with beer, DJ Adran Drake, and more. It's a $20 cover, this Sunday, 1-7 PM, rain (hopefully not) or shine.

Hopefully all goes well for our neighborhood high dinning gem!

Ma & I (1234 S. Michigan) 
A variety of readers tipped us to the fact that Ma & I was unexpectedly closed last week.  Well they have apparently sorted out any of the issues they had.  A reader writes:
Looks like Ma&I reopened for business - saw their windows open when I drove by this afternoon.

Good news for them and best of luck!

(Hat tip:  CM, MG, MK!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Israel Idonije to Host Open House for His New Coworking Venture, The Bureau at 1420 S. Michigan Ave

We've written a couple times about The Bureau, the new co-working office space at 1420 S. Michigan.  We recently found out that they're having a open house for the business and more surprisingly that the venture is backed by Israel Idonije, the retired Chicago Bear:
It is open to all who are interested in a coworking, incubator and/or event space.
Tours will be provided and guests will receive a complimentary coworking day pass.
WHO: Retired Chicago Bear and 11-year NFL Veteran Israel Idonije
WHAT: Open House for The Bureau Chicago -- a coworking, incubator, and event space
WHERE: 1420 S. Michigan Ave.
WHEN: Thursday, June 25 12 pm to 7 pm Open House
The Israel Idonije Foundation now operates out of The Bureau Chicago along with a handful of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

"Flagship" Aurielo's Now Open at Roosevelt and Michigan

And just like that, the "flagship" Aurielo's Pizza has opened at the corner of Michigan and Roosevelt.

A reader writes:
The new Aurelio’s pizza is now open at the SW corner of Roosevelt and Michigan.
If that's not proof enough, you can check out their Facebook page and the "now open" picture:

The inside looks pretty nice as well:

It's been a process to opening day, with numerous delays, but here we are.  As a reminder, the restaurant announced this location back in February 2014.

Looking forward to trying this place out.

(Hat tip:  BH, RM!)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Town homes, Walk-ups and Mid-Rise Apartment Plans Unveiled for Former Ickes Homes

Via DNAinfo:
Developers unveiled their plans Thursday night for redeveloping the former CHA Ickes Homes. 
It’s been eight years since the CHA started demolishing Ickes, with the last families moving out of the development’s 1,006 units in 2010. 
A partnership led by McCaffery Interests with Community Builders and Antunovich Associates told a crowd at a 3rd Ward meeting Thursday night at Liberty Baptist Church in Bronzeville that it was planning a four-phase development with a mix of town homes, walk-ups and mid-rise apartments from 22nd Street to 25th Street on State Street on the Near South Side.

Interesting to see McCaffery Interests back in the news.  Last week it was also announced that they would be selling Roosevelt Collection (via Crains):
Prudential Real Estate Investors is buying the Roosevelt Collection, a big South Loop retail-apartment complex whose ownership has tracked the recent boom-bust-boom cycle of the real estate market.

Madison, N.J.-based Prudential has agreed to acquire the project at 150 W. Roosevelt Road from a joint venture led by Chicago developer Dan McCaffery, according to people familiar with the transaction. Separately, the McCaffery venture is selling a development parcel behind the Roosevelt Collection to Wood Partners, an Atlanta-based developer, these people say.  
It's unclear how much McCaffery and his partner, Los Angeles-based Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds, will clear in the sales. But it's safe to say the price will be a lot higher than the $160 million they paid for the Roosevelt Collection four years ago, when the real estate market was still in the early stages of recovering from the crash.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Dew Tour Invades the New Grant Park Skate Park

The new skate park in Grant Park (just east of the Agora statues) has surprisingly exceeded our expectations.  It opened back in December of 2014 and when the weather isn't crappy, it seems to be packed with skillful people of all ages trying some new tricks.

Well this weekend, the pros are taking over as the Dew Tour invades the Sloop.  NBC5 Chicago has a nice feature on the event:

For more information you can check out the following link.  Entry is free and it begins today (6/20) at noon and goes until 8pm.  It restarts at 10am on Sunday (6/21) and concludes at 6pm.

Parts of the event will also be broadcast on NBC nationwide, so should be nice for the city to get some scenic PR.

(Hat tip:  GSLA!)

The Sloopin Open House:
3 Bed / 2.5 Bath Corner Unit with a Ton of Windows

The Sloopin Open House is a weekly feature on the site where we highlight some of the more interesting open houses we see every week. We're not claiming they're the best deals or that we would necessarily recommend jumping all over the opportunity, but I doesn't hurt to look, right? 

This week we check-in on a nice, and from what we can tell, affordable 3 bedroom on Michigan Avenue at 1440 S. Michigan.  This corner unit has ton of natural light and looks to have a recently remodeled entertainment wall:
The other nice thing is that it ain't easy finding a quality three bedroom in the Sloop for under $500K.  This baby clocks in at $449K with parking (however it does look like assessments are $629/month). 

Judging from the pictures it also looks like this unit has a nice kitchen and huge closet.  For more info they have this nice youtube video:

The unit's open house is being held this Sunday (6/21) from noon to 2:30pm.  

Friday, June 19, 2015

CMK/Lend Lease Propose Zoning Change to Build 2,700 Residential Units Along Chicago River

More news is emerging on the CMK/Lend Lease joint venture and their intentions to develop the current vacant land Harrison and the Chicago River (via crains):
A development group that has been gobbling up South Loop land wants to build five towers with nearly 2,700 residential units on one site it controls just four blocks south of the Willis Tower. 
The joint venture between Chicago developer CMK and Australian construction company Lend Lease Group has submitted plans with the city for the 7.3-acre riverside parcel between Harrison Street and the River City condominium complex. The largest building, on the north end of the site, would rise 47 stories and include 626 units.

As you may know, CMK and Lend Lease also acquired vacant land just south of here as well.  The article says they joint venture is currently drawing up plans for these lots as well.

Residents are also starting to get these letters in the mail, which announced the proposed zoning change:
That's a lot of units!  While urban density proponents are probably gitty, many other neighbors are reasonably concerned.  Our neighborhood continues to get more and more crowded.  Generally speaking we are excited about these developments, but the city needs to make sure infrastructure improvements are moving at a similar clip (such as the proposed Wells/Wentworth connector).    

(Hat tip: JG, GM, KP, BS!)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

And the Cup Makes an Appearance at The Scout

Blackhawk fever is definitely in full swing.  We were out early and everywhere we looked we saw red.  Pretty crazy stuff.  It's been an interesting decade to see how far they have come.  Should be a bit of a zoo around the Sloop today, so if you like that enjoy.  If not, you may want to stay in.

Anyway, we were curious if the Cup would be making an appearance at The Scout earlier this week and lo and behold last night a couple readers sent us these pictures:

In terms of the scene at Scout, some people probably weren't happy about this (via a reader):
Got there around 9:30. Private party inside scout. Made everyone finish dinner by 8pm basically kicking them out.
(Hat tip: GM & DL!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Proposed 24-Story Apartment Building at Harrison/Clark Apparently Not Happening

Renderings of Project at SW Corner of Harrison and Clark (via Curbed)
It's seems like everyday there is an announcement of a new real estate project in the Sloop.  Well apparently the proposed project at the southwest corner of Clark and Harrison isn't happening (via Curbed):
The downtown area may be boiling over with new apartment projects, but it looks like one of the announced project for the Printer's Row neighborhood of the South Loop may be frozen. Early this year we heard that the eyesore of a parking lot at the corner of Clark and Harrison was set to be replaced with a shiny new 24-story apartment building with tons of retail space at the ground floor and designed by Thomas Roszak Architecture. There hasn't been any word about this project until the most recent newsletter from the neighborhood group South Loop Neighbors brought word that the sale of the property had "stalled indefinitely", indicating that the deal may have fallen through entirely.

It seems inevitable that this will probably get developed at some point...

(Hat tip:  JH!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Apocalyptic

(Hat tip:  SS & DM!)

Limos at The Scout - Hawks Celebrate?

It isn't as rowdy as the 2013 celebration at The Scout, but judging by the limos, news vans and early morning helicopter, one would assume some Blackhawks are doing some early morning celebrating in the Sloop: 

Anyone have any more details?

(Hat tip: NDS!)

Build Out in Progress for Chop at Roosevelt Collection; Aiming for 6-8 Weeks to Opening

It's been a roller coaster of emotions recently for diners in the Sloop (confirmation of announcement of Belly-up, closing of Zapatista and the uncertainty around Ma & I).  Today, a potential positive development for one of the restaurants at Roosevelt Collection:
Just a note that I snapped the attached pic of a sign being installed at the Roosevelt collection this morning. It looks like Pork Chop is going upscale. One of the contractors said they planned to be open in 6-8 weeks.

Last we heard, Chop was shooting to open in October of 2014.  Besides this restaurant there are two other restaurants that have been announced for Roosevelt Collection - Mirai Sushi and Mago Grill.

Nice to seem some progress on the restaurant front at Roosevelt Collection.

(Hat tip:  EM!)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Now We Track the Stanley Cup - Could It Be Sloop Bound?

So the Hawks are Stanley Cup champions for the 3rd time in 6 years - pretty freaking amazing!

Now the party begins and Chicago's favorite summer game, track the cup, commences.

The question for us Sloopers is if the cup could make another appearance at The Scout (1301 S. Wabash).  As you may recall, back on Monday, June 24th, 2013 the Hawks clinched their 2nd cup in Boston.  Upon returning to Chicago in the early hours of Tuesday, June 25th the first stop was the Sloop.

So where will they take the cup?  Keep your eyes and ears open!
Captain Toews Bringing the Cup into The Scout back in 2013

Green "License Suspended" Sign Appears at Ma & I

A reader writes:
Hi Sloopin--You've probably already heard of this, but in case not, Ma & I on Michigan has been closed this weekend. On Saturday morning, I saw a green "license suspended" sign posted on their front door by the Department of Public Health. The employees were busily cleaning. Today they're still closed. Bad weekend for sloop restaurants!
Sorry to hear this.  Ma & I (1234 S. Michigan) is one of our favorite restaurants.  We even went far enough to say that their Seared Tuna Salad was one of our favorite entrees in the Sloop.

Hope this is just a blip in the road for them.

(Hat tip:  HF!)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Neighborhood Stalwart Zapatista Closes on Wabash

Our email has been inundated with notes as it looks like a neighborhood stalwart has closed up shop:
We don't have much detail, but apparently this was a pretty abrupt decision as we received pics of employees lined up outside not knowing that they closed:
Employees literally standing outside, obviously not made aware! No additional information available online or on social media. Seems so abrupt! Was just there enjoying a mojito on the patio last Friday. I know they were temporarily shuddered for health code violations last year, but business seemed to pick right back up.

Does anyone have any scoop?  They always seemed to be relatively busy, so this is slightly surprising (despite their run in with the Health Department last year).

While we've definitely had better Mexican food in the city and the neighborhood, we always enjoyed Zapatista.  Sad to see them go.

Hope something/someone seizes this opportunity and something good moves in.

(Hat tip: KT, MS, CD, MP, CB, DS, LP, JM, JY, HB, SF!) 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Good Humor Ice Cream Truck Finds a Good Spot in the Sloop

A reader writes:
Not sure if this is interesting enough to be post worthy, but this Good Humor ice cream truck has been ruling Jones park next to South Loop Elementary Scool for several weeks. I've seen them here in Summers past, but their presence was much more sporadic. They're here several times a week this year. And the response has been quite strong. There's usually a line of folks waiting. In addition to old Good Humor items, this truck has some more atypical fare, like frozen mango with chili popsicles (sweet and zesty at the same time). Lotsa feel good nostalgia for an oldie timey brand and a more neighborhoody Summer existence. Are there more of these in the South Loop this Summer?
We had someone mention this to us once, but they didn't have much background.  We're not aware of any other ice cream trucks in the neighborhood.  Does anyone else know of any?

Seems like a smart business decision to camp an ice cream truck close to a school.

(Hat tip:  AM!)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Full Episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Harvey at Manny's Now Out

So this happened in the Sloop. Wish we would have seen it live:
The full episode is now available and definitely worth a watch.  Not only because part of the show is in the Sloop, but because the show is hilarious and these two clearly are having a good time.

Definitely a lot of shots around the Sloop if you're perceptive.

As you may be aware, this was filmed back in April.  Here is a link to the post we did on the show back then.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Confirmed: New BBQ Restaurant - Belly Up - Coming to 1132 S. Wabash

Well looky here - the building at 1132 S. Wabash is having a big week here at Sloopin. Tuesday it was news about a sweet Hebru Brantley mural and today it is confirmation that the building is getting a new BBQ restaurant (via Eater Chicago):
Bellwether owners Nick and George Tsoukalas picked barbecue as the focus for their third restaurant because of a lack of options in the South Loop. Belly Up is the name of the venture, slated to open by the end of the summer at 1132 S. Wabash Ave. Nick Tsoukalas says the restaurant will feature a mixture of Kansas City- and Texas-style barbecue.
As you may recall, back in March we had a tip from a friend of the blog and it appears that it was dead on.

So what do they have in the works:
Besides Porkchop, barbecue picks are slim in the neighborhood. Belly Up will feature ambient country music and would be the brothers' third restaurant — they also own Vinyl in River North. Tsoukalas didn't want to divulge much about the new restaurant's design inside the building shell, as they're still making decisions. They'll work with the existing exposed brick walls, high ceilings and a garage door — which would be left open on warm days. Tsoukalas is guessing they'll have a bar with 15 stools and seating for about 150, plus 25 to 30 more on the sidewalk.
The one thing that was intriguing to us when we heard about this back in March was the prospect of live music.  The Eater Chicago post didn't really address this topic, so we're going to hold out hope.

Regardless, this seems to be a very promising development for the neighborhood and our restaurant/bar scene.  Couple this announcement with the addition of Burger Bar at 1160 S. Michigan and the impending opening of Aurelio's on Roosevelt between Michigan and Wabash it really feels like we have a lot of options at our disposal.

Looking forward to this one!  

(Hat tip: GC & NL!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Huge Hebru Brantley "Chi-Boy" Mural Unveiled in Wabash Arts Corridor

Watch out Wabash, "Chi-Boy" is flying through!  Local artist Hebru Brantley officially unveiled his new gigantic mural on the south side of the building at 1132 S. Wabash:

A pretty spectacularly amazing piece and just another reason we love the Wabash Arts Corridor.  According to the Tribune:
Called "Chi Boy," the four-story mural will be at 1132 S. Wabash Ave. It is the first in a series of outdoor murals from other street artists including Never 2501, Word to Mother, HERA and Ben Eine (who has collaborated with famed artist Banksy), courtesy of the the Chicago Loop Alliance and the Wabash Arts Corridor, a group of educational organizations, art galleries, performances spaces, hotels and restaurants in the South Loop area.
The murals will be created by artists affiliated with Vertical Gallery, based in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Italian street artist Never 2501's mural will be installed the week of July 6 at 59 E. Van Buren St.
Everywhere we look it seems like we see Mr. Brantley's vividly colorful characters.  Our first experience with him was in the Sloop when he created a pop-up store at 9th and Wabash in August 2013.

More recently we've seen his work on display at the Chicago Cultural Center and more recently in the new El CTA station at Cermak.

We have received quite a few emails and pictures of this and some catching the artist in the act:
(Hat tip: JF!)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Haberdash Closes at Roosevelt Collection

Another one bites the dust - Haberdash, the high-end mens clothing shop, has closed at Roosevelt Collection.  A reader writes:
Looks like Haberdash in the Roosevelt Collection finally closed for good. Merchandise has been removed from their windows and this sign is posted on the door.
While it's unfortunate to see a store close, frankly this isn't surprising.  About a year ago, they closed for a couple months to "relaunch" the store.  At the time, many suspected that Haberdash wouldn't reopen, but they did.  The new store didn't really feel that different, but was supposed to also serve as a studio for their online stores.  It was valiant effort and interesting strategy to salvage their store at Roosevelt Collection, but apparently it didn't work.

In our opinion, this store was always a head scratcher to us.  We really liked the store and their merchandise, but at the end of the day it was expensive.  Maybe the clientele at their store on State street will pony up for this stuff, but in the Sloop it seemed like a tough sell.  Yes, there is money in the Sloop, but the neighborhood seems slightly more value oriented.

Anyway, business counter is updated.

(Hat tip:  RB, SH, JY!)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Sloopin Open House
Live Like a Movie Stars (sort of) in this Sloop Loft Building

The Sloopin Open House is a weekly feature on the site where we highlight some of the more interesting open houses we see every week. We're not claiming they're the best deals or that we would necessarily recommend jumping all over the opportunity, but I doesn't hurt to look, right? 

1307 S. Wabash was the first building we ever stepped foot into in the South Loop, so for sentimental reasons its near and dear to our heart.  It's also arguably located at one of the more desirable locations given it's proximity to the restaurants on the 1300 block of Wabash.

The building also boasts an interesting history.  It's called the "film exchange lofts" as it was at one point a film exchange building for Warner Brothers.  While you might not live like a movie star, you can at least get a taste of the movie business.

Ok, so enough about things that don't have to do with this open house.   On Sunday (6/7), unit #303 is having an open house from noon to 2pm.

The unit, like most in the building, are true loft style.  This is what we picture when we think of a converted South Loop loft.  This unit is a 2bed/1.1 bath and has a nice balcony with a view:

The unit itself is nice, but rather standard.  However, at $305K it seems reasonably priced for a good location and view.

If it speaks to you, head on over this Sunday!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Crescent Heights Continues to Invest in the Sloop; Buys Burnham Pointe (730 S. Clark)

Northwest view of Burnham Pointe (via Crains) 
It's a hot real estate market again and some of the investors who bought after the bubble bursting are seeing some impressive returns (via Crains):
The downtown apartment boom is paying off handsomely for a Texas investor that's selling a South Loop tower for $126 million, 43 percent more than it paid in 2010.
Monogram Residential Trust is selling Burnham Pointe, a 298-unit high-rise at 730 S. Clark St., to Crescent Heights, a Miami-based investor and developer that has been busy in downtown Chicago, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Crescent Heights is an active real estate player in Chicago and especially in the South Loop (via Crains):
More recently, Crescent Heights been in buying mode, acquiring five downtown buildings with 1,355 units since 2010, according to Chicago-based consulting firm Appraisal Research Counselors. In the South Loop, it already owns Astoria Tower, a 205-unit high-rise at 8 E. Ninth St., the Lex, a 296-unit building at 2138 S. Indiana Ave., and the Park Michigan, a 344-unit tower at 1212 S. Michigan Ave.
As you may recall they also own one of the Sloop's most high-profile pieces of vacant land - the southeast corner of Michigan and Roosevelt.  While nothing has been announced for this land, a rumored project called "The Chicago" continues to show up randomly across the web.

They also own the one-acre vacant lot at 13th and Indiana (northeast corner).

Anyway, nice to see a respected company continuing to invest in the neighborhood.

If you're wondering about this hot market, the article does end by saying that their are concerns for investors (however we assume they mean real estate companies) - via Crains:
The neighborhood's biggest risk for investors is a surplus of land for new developments. Several apartment projects are under construction or in the works that will compete for renters with Burnham Pointe. 
Burnham Pointe was 96.3 percent occupied in the first quarter, according to an Appraisal Research report. Rents ranged from $1,730 a month for a one-bedroom unit to $6,182 for the most expensive two-bedroom.

(Hat tip:  BT!)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Controversial Spike Lee Movie "Chiraq" Filming in the Sloop

A reader writes:
Looks like The Shrine on the 2100 block of S Wabash is another location being used for the Spike Lee movie Chiraq.

The controversial "Chiraq" title has gotten a ton of publicity around town.  Frankly we understand the furor, but also think a more tempered perspective is warranted.

We recently read an article in the New York Times that provided some interesting thoughts on the title:
“A lot of people have opinions about the so-called title of the film who again, know nothing about the film,” Mr. Lee said. “Way, way back when I made ‘Do the Right Thing,’ there were people who said this film would cause riots all across America, that black people were going to run amok. They wrote a whole bunch of things.
“But those people ended up being on the wrong side of history,” he continued, “And the same is going to happen in Chicago. They are going look stupid and end up on the wrong side of history. We’re here for peace.”
To the people who have expressed displeasure over the movie, he said: “Wait until the movie comes out. You don’t like it, you don’t like it, but see it first.”

Also at Mr. Lee’s side was John Cusack, who grew up in a Chicago suburb and will appear in the film. “I love my city of Chicago,” he said, taking the microphone. “And I would never do anything to hurt it.”
While that's easy for them to say right now to quell public outcry, it also seems fair.  We shall see.

Also of interest in the NYT article was this paragraph that discusses an interesting premise:
Mr. Lee, who declined to be interviewed, has not publicly confirmed the title of the movie, but city officials who have met with him said he had told them that he intended to call it “Chiraq.” The film, Mr. Lee has said, is focused on gun violence on the South Side; some reports, unconfirmed by Mr. Lee, offer the intriguing possibility that the film is a comedic reimagining of “Lysistrata,” the ancient Greek tale by Aristophanes in which women withhold sex to force the men to end the Peloponnesian War.
That's definitely not what we were expecting the movie "Chiraq" to be about, but if it is sounds pretty provocative.

(Hat tip:  DN!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Professional Eye Center Opens at 1130 S. Wabash

It looks a new place to get your eyes checked has opened up on South Wabash.  Professional Eye Center, which apparently has two other locations in Chicago, has opened up at 1130 S. Wabash.

This location used to house to businesses that had a hard go of it - Computer Gurus (closed in 2013) and Elements of Style Boutique (closed in 201).

While we aren't intimately familiar with the business model and longevity of eye care, we assume it's more stable than the two other businesses that previously occupied this space.

Anyway, welcome to the Sloop and business counter is updated.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Construction Underway at Buffalo Wild Wings at Taylor and Clinton; Shooting for Fall 2015 Opening

Build-out construction underway at Buffalo Wild Wings (Clinton and Taylor)
A reader writes:
I came across this article that says BWW is slated to open Fall 2015. I noticed recently it looks like construction is actually happening in the space now.
The article confirms this notion (via rejournal.com):
Englewood is also building a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood at the corner of Taylor and Clinton streets in the recently built Maxwell Building. This restaurant will open in the fall of 2015. 
We also recently drove by the location and did notice some activity inside as well.

(Hat tip: HB!)

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's Lit Fest Week In and Around Printers Row

One of our favorite and one of the city's more unique festivals kicks-off on Friday in our backyard.  We're of course talking about the 2015 version of the Printers Row Lit Fest.

It seems like this fest continue to evolve and get bigger every year.  If you're new to the neighborhood or just aren't familiar with the fest, here is a quick synopsis from the events website:
The Printers Row Lit Fest was founded in 1985 by the Near South Planning Board to attract visitors to the Printers Row neighborhood (once the city's bookmaking hub). By 2002, it had grown to five city blocks (on Dearborn, from Congress to Polk), attracting more than 200 booksellers from across the country displaying new, used and antiquarian books and featuring more than 200 authors participating in panels, discussions and a variety of other programs.  
As part of its ongoing commitment to the written word and its support of literacy and literary endeavor, the Chicago Tribune purchased the Printers Row Book Fair in 2002 from the Near South Planning Board. Recently renamed to be the Printer's Row Lit Fest, it is considered the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest-drawing more than 150,000 book lovers to the two-day showcase.
With this evolution their remains a lot of great free events and things to do, but it has also come with the addition of some high-profile speakers and ticketed events.  Two that stand out this year are a Saturday panel event including David Axelrod (former Tribune writer and key advisor for the Obama presidential campaigns) and a conversation with Bob Sagat on Saturday evening.

Even if you're not willing to pony up the funds for these events, we highly suggest a visit to the festival.  You will be amazed what you will stumble upon in some of the tents.

If you still are unsure and need a little motivation here is video from last year: