Saturday, April 29, 2017

Royal Puppies Moving in at SW Corner of Cullerton and Wabash

A reader writes: 
My sister and I were driving down Wabash and saw some activity at the Southwest corner of Wabash and Cullerton. It appears that a dog store, Royale Puppies, is opening (see image). We don’t know when it is going to open and could not find any information from a quick google search about it. Does anyone know?
Love the name!  Anyone know anything?

(Hat tip: LK!)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Taco Bell Cantina Coming to Old Colony Building (407 S. Dearborn St.)

A reader calls this one a game changer (via Curbed Chicago):
If 2016 deserves further scorn, it’s because Taco Bell failed to open another Chicago restaurant that serves alcohol. Fret not, because it’s 2017 and a second boozy bell appears on its way to the city, this time in the Loop. Taco Bell Cantina has applied for a liquor license for 407 S. Dearborn St., according to city records. 
When news first spread in May 2015 that a Boozy Bell was headed to Chicago, national media went berserk and locals flipped at the notion of a late-night chalupa chased by a cheap beer. The new restaurant would go inside the Old Colony Building, which is a student housing tower. The Bell opened its first U.S. restaurant to serve booze in Wicker Park back in September 2015, featuring spiked Mountain Dew slushies, beer and wine. Outside the U.S., including in Spain, The Bell had served booze to customers for years.
This is one block north of Congress and most of us wouldn't consider that the Sloop.  Regardless, this seems like a nice get for the Old Colony Building which recently went through a big renovation.

Do you think this could eat into Flaco's sales?  Or is this a different concept?

We've never been to the Taco Bell Cantina, but we know it has some buzz!

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mercat a La Planxa (638 S. Michigan) Reopens After Facelift

We received the following from a reader:
Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan) has reopened
Sure enough, it looks like you can go to their website and book tables:

As a reminder, it was announced late last year that the Mercat a La Planxa restaurant was getting a face-lift.

Has anyone been to this since they re-opened?  If so, how was it?

(Hat tip:  SB!)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Site Cleared for Future South Loop Elementary; Some Question Whether It's Necessary

A reader writes:
Thought I would forward on pictures I took of the completely demolished old USPS location at 16th and Dearborn. This has really picked up steam and is a great sign for the Sloop!

As a reminder, about a year ago word trickled out that a new South Loop elementary school was being proposed for the neighborhood.  Details are still limited, but we had a post in August that outlined that a 4-story structure that would be 110,000 square feet would be built to house the school.

While many in the neighborhood are excited about this development, not everyone is as bullish about the school.  One reader recently sent us an article from WBEZ about some of challenges regarding schooling in the city.  More specifically the article talks about National Teachers Academy (on Cermak) and questioning whether South Loop Elementary is necessary given the city's budget crunch.  The reader expounds:
It points out that parents at NTA question whether it's a wise use of funds at this juncture to build a new school for South Loop Elementary (SLE). This is a big deal. In my opinion, from an outside perspective, building for SLE is completely unwarranted and perpetuates racial segregation. (Disclosure: I own in the NTA district.) However, I've heard rumors that the secret plan is to turn NTA into a high school for the South Loop and Chinatown. If true, these discussions should be happening in public, it's a bad idea to have CPS making such big decisions without public input. What are the population projections for the area? How many seats do these schools have? How will charters change the picture? Anyway, I saw this WBEZ article and it made me wonder if the SLE project could blow up the way Obama Prep did.

(Hat tip: DK!)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Swap-O-Rama Replaces CSI at 1725 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
So we woke up a couple of days ago to learn that CSI had left and this new business had moved in. Seeing people come in and out though we haven't gone to investigate yet. Surprised this would move in here (1725 S Michigan Ave) and wonder its impact on our neighborhood.

For those who aren't familiar with this building here is a shot from google maps.  It's on the east side of Michigan avenue and right across the street from South Loop Market (so very close to the intersection of 18th and Michigan).

We've heard of Swap-o-Rama but have never been.  Thoughts?  Has anyone been to this one or another?

(Hat tip:  SM!)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Sloopin Open House: Holy Fridge Batman!

Townhouses seem to be in short supply and the Sloop and this one at 1319 S. Indiana is a prime example of that.  This specific 3bd/3bth unit clocks in at a high $985K, but it's very nice and has amazing finishes.

Maybe that's what the market is asking, but damn that's a lot for a 3bd townhouse.

That being said, upon scrolling through their pictures this amazingly large fridge stood out:

Regardless if this is in your budget, it would be a fun open house to check-out.  If you do, please open the fridge and take a picture...we're curious what it looks like inside!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Who's Ready for the Free Millennium Park Summer Music Series

Yeah for free music at Pritzker Pavilion.  Time Out Chicago gives us the rundown:
This year's lineup of acts is one of the most diverse to date, including a number of international artists—a calculated approach on the part of DCASE to showcase "Chicago’s status as a welcoming city." Highlights of the concert series include Grammy-winning jazz singer Gregory Porter, Norwegian jazz fusion act Jaga Jazzist, Colombian singer Totó La Momposina, alt-country band Drive-By Truckers and Mali guitar and vocal duo Amadou & Mariam. 
Take a look at the full Millennium Park Summer Music Series lineup below and look forward to late evenings on the Pritzker Pavilion lawn with friends, drinks and free music.
  • Monday, June 12 Otis Taylor + Ben Sollee & Kentucky Native
  • Thursday, June 15 No BS! Brass Band + Dayme Arocena
  • Monday, June 19 Gregory Porter + Tomeka Reid Quartet
  • Thursday, June 22 Hurray for Riff Raff + Matthew Santos
  • Monday, June 26 Jaga Jazzist + AfrotroniX
  • Thursday, June 29 Lady Wray + Zeshan B & the Transistors
  • Monday, July 10 Natalie Prass + Angelica Garcia
  • Thursday, July 13 Totó La Momposina + Xenia Rubinos
  • Monday, July 17 Big Thief + Overcoats
  • Thursday, July 20 Drive-By Truckers + Honeysuckle
  • Monday, July 24 Amadou & Mariam + Frank Waln 
  • Monday, August 7 Gaby Moreno + Centavrvs
  • Thursday, August 10 Youssou N’Dour + Bassel & The Supernaturals
  • Thursday, August 17 Joshua Nelson + Tone Ross & Inspired
  • Monday, August 21 TBA

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What's Going on in the Retail Space at 2113 S. State?

A reader writes:
After seeing that no one else clued you guys in to the grocer on State closing, looks like Stone Grill, formerly Big Mikes Gyros, formerly something else a couple years ago is either closed or remodeling. Lots going on in the building just to the south of them, so not sure if that property has a tenant moving in, but last week the windows were all papered at Stone Grill, this week paper is gone, so not sure what is up...
The last time we posted about this place was when we got word that Jack's Chicago Grill (2113 S. State) was going to replace Big Mikes Gyros back in 2015.  Clearly we haven't had our finger on the pulse of this one.

Anyway, anyone have the scoop on what's going on here?  Pretty much this entire block south to Cermak is empty with remodeling and renovating going on in almost every spot.

(Hat tip:  KS!)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Time Out Chicago Profiles a Couple BYOF Sloop Spots

We really want to go to Jazz of these days...

Anyway looks like we can bring our own food if this article in the Time Out Chicago is right:
Let's face it, bar food can get really old, really fast. Why not save room (and cash) for some of Chicago's finest drinks by hitting up a BYOF (bring your own food) joint? Here are a few of our favorites. 
The Jazz Showcase: See jazz greats perform at this Chicago institution in South Loop. Located in the old Dearborn Station around the corner from Harold Washington Library, Jazz Showcase has played host to the likes of Roy Hargrove, Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Vice District Brewing Co.: Enjoy some local flavor at the Vice District taproom, where you can pair handcrafted Chicago brews with food from the heart of the city. Located within walking distance of Soldier Field, Museum Campus and countless other downtown attractions, the taproom welcomes dogs, babies and even folks just looking to get a little work done on the free WiFi. 

We've actually brought Kurah (1315 S. Michigan) to Vice (1454 S. Michigan) and it was a lovely time.  We would recommend it to anyone.

Monday, April 17, 2017

D'Jons Barbershop (1514 S. Wabash) Relocating Out of the Sloop

A reader writes:
We heard this business was moving soon because it's close to our building and my boyfriend would get his haircut there.  
Didn't know the timeline to the move, but they are now gone. Glad they are just moving and not going out of business. Nice guys. New location is in Bronzeville close to Sox park.
We've never actually been inside, but every time we walked by it seemed like they were busy and had a nice vibe going.

Anyway, sad to D'Jons move out, but hopefully something else good will go in.

Seems like it would be a good space for a restaurant or something.

(Hat tip:  HH & LW!)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Sloopin Open House: Easter Weekend at the Pope Building

Seems fitting that the open house we're checking out this weekend is in the Pope Building (633 S. Plymouth Ct Unit #802).  But Easter goers don't fret, the open house is on Saturday - not Easter Sunday!

This specific unit looks very spacious and while it's a 1 bed / 1.5 bath clocking in at $315K, it's a great location and has some solid character (fun windows!):

This specific open house starts at Noon and goes until 2pm.  Hop on over and say hi to the Pope for us!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Curbed Checks in on 9 Current Development Projects in the Sloop

If you walk outside in the neighborhood, chances are you're going to stumble upon a large scale development underway.  If you're a reader of Sloopin you probably have your pulse on most of these, but Curbed Chicago has a great post providing an overview of 9 current projects:
Development at 1136 S. Wabash (image via Curbed)
Construction crews are busy adding several major new projects to the South Loop area which will not only reshape the neighborhood’s skyline, but will deliver thousands of new apartment units and hotel rooms to the area. The upcoming entertainment district at McCormick Place is finally taking shape as the 39-story Mariott Marquis hotel is clad in glass and the new Wintrust Arena starts filling out. 
However, the most dramatic project underway in the South Loop is the 792-unit One Grant Park which will exceed the 800-foot mark. The tower’s design, which resembles the bumbled tube style of the Willis Tower, comes from star architect Rafael Viñoly. Some skyscraper watchers suggest that the structural pinnacle could eventually reach as high 892 feet. 
Construction activity doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon either as the area has at least one more major project that has yet to line up permits and financing. 

Believe it or not, there is actually more than this...they didn't include the Riverline project (Harrison and Wells), the apartment development at Polk and Federal, and the nearly complete "30 East" apartment development at Wabash and Balbo.

It's a lot, so curious to see what impact this has to the neighborhood regarding traffic, retail development, congestion, etc.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Roosevelt Park Gets Re-sodded; Dearborn Park as Well?

A reader writes:
Came by Roosevelt Park this morning and saw workers positioning heavy landscaping equipment- on my way home just now, the whole grass field has been roped off and work has begun. Was about time for some new grass! Looks like the neighborhood canines need to find a new place to frolic. 

Additionally, we saw that Dearborn Park (Polk and Plymouth Ct) was roped off so imagine the same thing is happening there.

Both parks weren't looking very good so hopefully this helps!

(Hat tip: HD!)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lakeside Grocery Closes at 1912 S. State

It appears that Lakeside Grocery (1912 S. State) has closed their doors judging by the sign in the window.  We're not sure when this happened, but did notice it recently.

We doubt anyone is truly going to miss this place (clearly as no one flagged this to us!).

As a reminder they opened back in late 2011.

Business Counter is up-to-date!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Two Michigan High-Rises Get Building Permits to Begin Their Ascent

In case you missed it last week, two large Michigan Avenue high-rises received building permits to start their vertical accent.

First up was Essex on the Park at 808 S. Michigan (via Curbed):
While the 56-story Essex on the Park tower at 808 S. Michigan Avenue celebrated a formal groundbreaking with shiny shovels and VIP photo-ops back in January, the upcoming high-rise is now ready to begin construction in earnest. Yesterday, the project was granted its first building permit covering work on its foundation and structure up to the underside of the tower’s 6th floor.

Later in the week, it was announced that a 47-story tower at 1326 got theirs (via Curbed):
Approved by the City of Chicago in spring of 2016, a glassy 47-story high-rise proposed for the parking lot at 1326 S. Michigan Avenue has received the official go-ahead from the city and can begin work on its caisson-supported foundation system.  
Designed by local firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), 1326 S. Michigan features a glassy facade with chamfered corners. The look is somewhat evocative of Norman Foster’s lantern-like Hearst Tower in New York and the "stacked frustum" geometry of Jeanne Gang’s Vista Tower under construction in Chicago’s Lakeshore East.
Get ready for two more cranes to join the neighborhood!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Wait...When Did Nice & Distressed Open at 723 S. Dearborn?

The weather was beautiful this weekend and as a result we went for a stroll through Printers Row something caught our attention - a store front full of antiques!

We noticed this a couple months backs but honestly didn't think much about it.  However, this time we noticed some signage:

While it's a little hard to read in the picture it says "Nice & Distressed - Furniture, Decor and Gifts".  Their website is pretty sparse and their Facebook page has some stuff going back to October of 2016.

What we're unsure of is if this store is sharing space with Farmer Insurance?  There is still a Farmers Insurance sign perpendicular to the sidewalk so we're not really sure what's going on here.

Has anyone been inside?  Does anyone have any scoop?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Sloopin Open House:
Lofted Living Room and Remodeled Kitchen

We're a fan of lofted living rooms, but these features tend to be more prevalent in the burbs where space is ample.  So when you see it in the city it stands out!

That brings us to our featured Sloopin Open House this week which is a townhouse in the Dearborn Park II neighborhood (1328 S. Federal St. Unit L):
We've always found the units in this development more interesting than the normal townhouses in the neighborhood and it appears that the owners/real estate agent have factored that into the price (this is registering in at $700K).

That being said, the kitchen looks to have been recently remodeled and the overall appearance of the unit looks nice.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Carjacker Update: 1 Held After Brazen Attempt on Wednesday Evening

This story gets crazier.  Please be aware (via NBC):
One man is in custody after a daring carjacking attempt at a gas station that led to a police chase beginning in downtown Chicago, authorities said Wednesday.  
Around 6:50 p.m., officers responded to a “holding the offender” call in the 1200 block of S. Wabash in the city’s South Loop neighborhood, according to police. A man was being held by a security guard at a gas station after an attempted car theft at what many patrons said is a popular BP.  
Another vehicle sped away, resulting in a crash before continuing to flee the scene, officials said.

Just crazy.  This is one of the most highly trafficked areas of the Sloop and this happened during a busy time of the day.

All we can say is wow and hopefully they find the other person/people.

(Hat tip:  ND!0

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Be Aware: Carjackings on Michigan Avenue

Wow - this seems like a pretty brazen act!  Hopefully it was a one day thing (via CBS):
Imagine sitting in traffic on a busy city street when, out of nowhere, you’re facing a gun and a demand for your car. 
It happened twice in one day last week in the South Loop.

Police believe the same suspects are behind both crimes, CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports. 
Chicago police say keep watch for a black Chrysler Sebring. They believe carjackers used one to approach two drivers on South Michigan Avenue at gunpoint last Wednesday and demand their cars.

Dave Sudzus, who started the South Loop Safety Association last fall, says once police issued an alert his group blasted it out on its text thread.

Police say two male suspects first approached a driver in traffic at gunpoint near 9th and Michigan last Wednesday. The driver got away, but later that night, police believe they did it again near 21st and Michigan. This time, they got the car and the driver’s phone.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

DePaul Arena - Will it Thrive or Falter?

The sun-times ponders whether or not the new DePaul Arena is going to thrive or struggle:
Coupled with 17 home games for DePaul men’s basketball and “six-to-eight” games for the Blue Demons’ women’s team, Kennedy said he’s more than half-way home toward the goal of booking the arena for 50 events during the first twelve months.
“It’s a beautiful new venue. It’s a beautiful new campus. Two additional hotels under construction. The Marriott Marquis will be open late summer. New restaurants just popped open down the street. Motor Row is invigorating these days. We’re excited. I have full confidence of being able to get to 50 events,” he said.

The other perspective plays out like this:
Even if the 50-booking benchmark is reached, Chicago-based sports business consultant Marc Ganis predicted that most of the events would be “economically meaningless, both to the facility and to Chicago taxpayers.”
I fully expect they will do whatever they can in the first few years to try and gin up a positive spin because this was such a foolhardy project in the first place,” said Ganis, who has opposed the project from the get-go. 
“It was a ridiculous use of limited public money at a time when we’re raising taxes to unprecedented levels and still see no light at the end of the tunnel. Every now and then, governments decide to build vanity projects. That’s what this is.”

As most debates the reality is probably somewhere in the middle.  Regardless of how you feel, the new stadium is opening in October.  Hopefully it proves to be successful.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Portillo's Famous Double-Layer Chocolate Cake is $0.54 on April 6

Because this cake is good (via Chicago Tribune):
To celebrate its 54th anniversary, the popular restaurant chain will be offering patrons 54-cent slices of its double-layer chocolate cake (regularly $3.09 a slice) on April 6.  
And let’s be clear: Portillo’s cake isn’t some generic, run-of-the-mill confection. It’s the kind of chocolate decadence you hope Miss Trunchbull forces you to eat (“Matilda” throwback).

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Parish 14 Looks to be Open at 2333 S. Michigan

A reader writes:
Looks like the restaurant Parish is now open 2333 S Michigan. (Caribbean fusion food)

(Hat tip: EH!)