Thursday, June 29, 2017

Exciting Info on Lobo Rey - The New Concept for the Former Zapatista Space (1307 S. Wabash) from The Scout Team

One of the more exciting current culinary stories in the Sloop is the concept from the Scout guys at the former Zapatista space (1307 S. Wabash).  It's a story that's been developing nicely.  We first posted about it in March based on a rumor.

Turned out to be true!  We also learned that the concept was part Mexican part Teppanyaki - which was pretty intriguing on many levels.

Chicken enmoladas at Lobo Rey
Well yesterday we got the most detail yet (via Chicago Magazine):
The South Loop is in for some south-of-the-border cooking. Lobo Rey (1307 S. Wabash Ave.) opens in the former Zapatista space in August, and will offer table seating for 100, plus a 35-seat bar for sipping cocktails, snacking on tacos and churros, and watching tortillas being made fresh.

Daniel Espinoza will head up the kitchen. The Chicago-born chef took his show on the road, cooking in France and New York, before returning home for stints at the Drawing Room, Mexique, and the underground dining club Dinner Lab. Fresh off of a consulting gig with Lincoln Park’s Holy Taco! (which he says provided a nice intro to more casual dining), he’s teamed up Scout Waterhouse + Kitchen owner Chris Bravos to launch Lobo Rey (which translates to “Wolf King”) next door to Scout. seems like the Teppanyaki component is for making the tortillas?  Curious to see if that's it or if it's a more in-depth component of the concept.

Looking forward to this one...

(Hat tip:  JB!)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Construction Retail Space at Roosevelt and Dan Ryan?

Looks like developers are selling a prominent and presumably renovated retail space on Roosevelt by the Dan Ryan:

It appears that it will be ready in 2018.  Additionally the image above says they have 83% of the building available?  or is it the opposite?

Regardless, appears they have at least someone moving into this space.  Anyone have any ideas?

(Hat tip:  AG!)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What's Up With All the Billion Dollar+ Developments in Chicago?

Related Midwest's 62 acre site
In case you missed this article in the Chicago Tribune about some of the city's massive developments, it's a good read.  The article states that there are about 10 projects that will have development price tags over 1 billion dollars - pretty crazy.

If you're like us, you questioned where all this demand comes from.  The article sums it up succinctly as follows (via Chicago Tribune):
Developers are emboldened by a convergence of trends, including a surge in headquarters relocations to downtown Chicago, low interest rates, years of increased real estate values, changing preferences of office and residential tenants, new zoning policies and a willingness by big funds and wealthy foreign investors to plow large chunks of cash into single, high-impact projects.  
Among this era's largest projects are multibillion-dollar ones such as Related Midwest's $5 billion-plus vision for a 62-acre site along the Chicago River in the South Loop and Sterling Bay's yet-to-be-unveiled blueprints for more than 40 acres on and around the North Side site where the A. Finkl & Sons steel plant once stood along the river.

Well there you have it.  Should be interesting to see how these all come to life (or if they don't).

Monday, June 26, 2017

Activity at Old Ameritalia Space - Could it be Kai Sushi Peeps?

A reader writes:
Any rumblings about what’s happening with the former Ameritalia space? I haven’t been able to grab a photo, but it’s a beautifully renovated, full restaurant space now. We’ve seen who we think are some of the management from Kai Sushi going in and out, but aren’t 100% sure. Either way, lots of activity!
As a reminder, Ameritalia closed back in February of this year.  There have been some rumblings of a new spot coming, but we haven't heard much since the note above.

Any intel?

(Hat tip: MB and MEK!)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Sloopin Open House: Timber Loft with Big Windows

This week we head towards the south side of the Sloop and find a high ceiling timber loft with huge living room windows - 2303 S. Michigan (ave. #210):

The unit is listed at $235K and is a 1bd/1bth - and doesn't include parking (that will be another $30K).  It looks like a pretty hip unit, but does seem kinda high upon further consideration.

That being said, it looks pretty cool.  If you need to or want to go to Motor Row this weekend this open house is on Sunday (6/23) from 11-12:30pm.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Blackie's (Polk/Clark) Closes - New Deli Spot Taking Over?

We've had a couple different readers send us notes about Blackies:
Blackies on Polk and Clark has been sold and is currently closed for remodeling. The new owners are the owners of Jefferson Tap in river north. They are planning a Jewish style food and deli\restaurant. Though Blackies had solid consistent food, it seems they couldn't keep up with the changing neighborhood.

Another writes:
It appears Blackies on Clark st has closed! I walked by there and they appeared to be having a goodbye meeting to all the staff there. I overheard someone saying there's a change of ownership and it looks like something new is going in there. 
Have you guys heard anything about it? 
Very sad to see since it's been a staple of a restaurant for several decades and in my neighborhood!

In our opinion, it's probably good to see some evolution here.  While Blackies was fine, it seemed to get overshadowed by the other options popping up in the Sloop.  We'll be curious to see if it's true about the deli concept.

Is there room for Manny's, Eleven City Diner and another deli spot?  Maybe we will see.  

(Hat tip: SC & NP!)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Timothy's Hutch Opens in Lobby of Blackstone Hotel (636 S. Michigan)

This is funny.  We actually just had a great meal at Mercat a la Planxa (more to come at a later date) and walked through the lobby of the Blackstone and was taken aback by the scene.  Makes sense now (via Eater Chicago):
The 107-year-old Blackstone Hotel is banking on attracting more guests to the South Loop by opening a lobby lounge that specializes in craft cocktails. Timothy’s Hutch opens today, part of a multi-million dollar renovation for the hotel which Marriott recently brought into its Autograph Collection imprint. The lounge, in the hotel’s lobby, serves 1960s-style cocktails and small bites.
It was pretty cool.  However, it didn't seem like there was a "waiter/bartender".  Maybe we just didn't see them.

I actually thought to myself "If you're a guess at the hotel, do you just have access to this bar to make your own drink?"

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Former D'Jons Barbershop Retail Space Sold - Is Something Moving In?

A reader writes:
While walking my dog this morning, I noticed the "for sale" sign in the window of the former D'Jons Barbershop location (1514 S. Wabash Ave.) had been removed. I googled it later, and sure enough - the space was sold on May 23rd:  

No details on who purchased it or what might be going into the space.

As a reminder back in April we posted about D'Jons barbershop moving down South.  Does anyone have any knowledge of what may be moving in?  Or is this just a real estate transaction and a new tenant hasn't been identified?

(Hat tip:  JD!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Futuristic Cycling Studio Cycmode Opening at 1333 S. Wabash in July?

If you recall we posted about a new cycling studio opening at the new retail space at 1333 S. Wabash.

Well a reader sent us the following email that provides a more detailed look at what this appears to be:
I remember a while back you had posted about a permit for a cycling studio at 1333 (or 1335?) S Wabash. Looks like there's some more information about it. (Opening July 22nd) 
This looks like the official studio page: 
And this is a little bit more about the type of workout:

Looks pretty interesting.

(Hat tip:  AS!)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Sloopin Open House: Who Wants a Townhouse with a Grass

We've toured units within this townhouse complex at 1315 S. Plymouth Ct and legitimately liked it.  This specific unit is listed at $465K and is a 2bd/1.5bth.  It's a unique space and for whatever reason the half moon windows speak to us:

Outside of that the unit is pretty basic, but it has a front-yard and some grass - YES GRASS:

If this looks interesting go check it out on Sunday from 1-3pm.  The address is 1315 S. Plymouth Ct unit B.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Former Taco Bell Space at 41 W. Congress Becoming Medical Services Office?

A reader writes:
I love your blog and thought you might be interested in this story. I noticed work started recently at the long-vacant building on the corner of Plymouth & Congress (41 W Congress - formerly a Taco Bell / Subway) and found this building permit online: 
While it doesn't sound like the sexiest thing in the world, the building has been sitting vacant and I guess something is better than nothing (I know some people will disagree with this mentality, I understand)?

Anyone know anything about this?

(Hat tip:  CW!)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Police "Beefing Up" Patrols After Rash of Robberies Targeting Bike Riders

Again...WTF (abc7):
Chicago police are beefing up patrols in the South Loop neighborhood after seven robberies in the last 10 days, the latest of which was Tuesday morning of woman riding a bike.

Just before 10 a.m. Tuesday, a man in a red jeep pulled alongside a 38-year-old woman on a bike near Cullerton and Indiana. He reached out from the moving car, grabbed her shoulder bag and sped off.

Most of the robberies have targeted people on bikes, and most of the victims have been women. Chicago police issued a community alert warning residents. And many are taking notice.

On Sunday, two men robbed a 14-year-old girl on a bike around 8:40 p.m. near East 16th Street and South Indiana Avenue. One man got out of the passenger seat of a car to rob her, then got back in and rode away, police said. The girl suffered a few minor injuries.

Investigators only have vague descriptions of the suspects and vehicles involved and there appears to be several. But generally the offenders stop a cyclist with their car, sometimes knocking them over. In at least one case, they dragged her a short distance. Then, they grab a purse or bag and take off.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Looks Like One Grant Park is Going Vertical!

After starting underground foundation work back in January, Chicago’s upcoming One Grant Park tower is starting to rise above street level at the corner of Indiana and Roosevelt. Keeping pace with construction, the City of Chicago just granted the high-rise project another partial building permit estimated at $64 million. Crews are now authorized to continue structural work up through the building’s eighth level.
Ultimately expected to rise 76 stories and in excess of 800 feet, the Rafael Viñoly-designed skyscraper is a modern day homage to the Chicago School of structural expressionism with “bundled tube” layout similar to that of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. When completed, One Grant Park will be the South Loop’s tallest structure—or at least until developer Crescent Heights tops-off an even taller twin tower planned for the site to the immediate west.

Looking forward to seeing this one climb!

Monday, June 12, 2017

In Case You Missed it...A Lit Fest Recap

In case you missed this past weekends Lit Fest (via Chicago Tribune):
Consuming literature is a lonely endeavor. Unless you're reading out loud, sitting down with a novel is an intimate experience between you and your pages. But it doesn't have to be.

A lover of books also loves to talk about favorite authors and works, which is where Printers Row Lit Fest steps into its role. The outdoor festival held Saturday and Sunday provides a space for bibliophiles to come together to create a community accepting of any and all kinds of literature.

John Glover, owner of Glover's Bookery, says there's a value in sharing what you enjoy. "People that talk books are either really interesting or really weird, but I enjoy learning what everyone else likes," the bookdealer said. Glover has trekked to Chicago from Lexington, Ky., for Lit Fest every year since 1986 to sell rare, used and out-of-print literature.

In the tents that line the middle of Printers Row in the Loop, you can often catch parts of conversations on why Thoreau is a great writer, or how unbelievably cheap an antique Twain hardcover was.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Sloopin Open House:
2bd/2bth Printers Row Loft Overlooking Lit Fest Festivities

In honor of Printers Row Lit Fest, we're highlighting a loft on Dearborn (727 S. Dearborn Unit 212) that would allow you to overlook the fest.  The open house is today (6/10) from 1-3pm - so go to the fest and check out this unit.

You know we're a fan of these old buildings and the character they offer and this specific unit meets that test.  It's a 2bd/2bth and is listed at $465K.  Not cheap, but it's a unique, open space:

The listing provides some insight into the unit:
At last. A REAL loft in the Donohue Building where the first loft living began in Chicago in the 1970's. 14 ft concrete ceilings, concrete columns & floors, brick walls, huge west windows flooded with sunshine overlooking the fabled Dearborn Station/Printer's Row neighborhood

Friday, June 9, 2017

Looks Like Official Opening of Hax Isn't Until 7/17

Lots of excitement about Hax (and Gordo's) impending opening.  Looks like some of the early speculation of them opening this week was a little premature.  That being said, we imagine they may be "open" this weekend during Lit Fest - seems like a good way to get some attention to their new concept.

Anyway, a reader stopped by on a recent day and sent us the following:
Today was a soft/test launch for Hax...Offering free food and drinks off a limited menu for honest feedback.  
Signs say Grand Opening set for 7-17-17

(Hat tip:  JC!)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

CPS Floats Idea to Turn National Teacher's Academy (55 W. Cermak) into High School to Serve Sloop

Lots of coverage and news coming out of Tuesday night's CPS community meeting regarding schooling in the Sloop and surrounding neighborhoods.  Race and affluence is a key issue being raised (via WBEZ):
Chicago Public Schools proposes converting National Teachers Academy, an elementary school at the southern end of the South Loop, into a high school. This move satisfies the desires of new, wealthier residents in the area who want a high school. But parents of students at NTA, who are mostly black and low-income, don’t want to lose their school and say they are being ignored.

CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson defends this plan, saying it was devised to create more integrated schools and not to exclude the area’s longtime, mostly black, low-income residents. The plan includes moving NTA students to South Loop elementary, which is getting a new building.

“You see a community that welcomes diversity, that has welcomed the idea of merging the two schools [NTA and South Loop], despite some of the socioeconomic and racial differences that exist,” Jackson told WBEZ. “So I think that they are actually a model community for that kind of diversity.”

While that may be spin from the CPS CEO, it's a nice sentiment and something that we agree is a unique quality about the Sloop - it's diversity.  Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

That being said, a high school that adequately serve the neighborhood is sorely needed, so it seems like this is a good development.  We've heard from many people and many families that feel schooling options are limited and thus feel the need to leave the area and the city.  We applaud the city and CPS for at least trying to offer an adequate solution.

Anyway, here are some of the links if you'd like to read further.  For our money the Tribune's is the best and easiest to follow:

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

It's Here! The 2017 Printers Row Lit Fest - This Sat (6/10) and Sun (6/11)

It's one of our favorite festivals in Chicago and that's not just because it's in our backyard.  Printers Row Lit Fest is unique and this year looks to have a great lineup (via Tribune):
About 200 authors and presenters will gather June 10 and 11 in the historic Printers Row neighborhood in Chicago's South Loop. The lineup promises to enlighten and entertain with headliners such as U.S. Sen. Al Franken, author of "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate," and NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, author of "Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court."

The festival will kick off with Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove. She will receive the 2017 Harold Washington Literary Award. More Pulitzer winners — two from 2017 — will appear elsewhere during the fest. Heather Ann Thompson, who was recognized for her narrative history book "Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy," will speak on mass incarceration. The Chicago Tribune's own E. Jason Wambsgans, who received the Pulitzer for feature photography, will discuss his photographs portraying a family's struggle after a 10-year-old Chicago boy survived a shooting.

It's a great event - see you there!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Woman Punched and Robbed Sunday Afternoon

WTF (via ABC7):
A woman was punched and robbed Sunday afternoon in the city's South Loop neighborhood, police said.
The woman was on a bike near 21st and Calumet when a man jumped out of a silver car, punching her in the face and stealing her purse.

A witness said the woman was headed to McCormick Place for a convention on a Divvy bike.

Monday, June 5, 2017

City Chooses Developer for Vacant Michael Reese Hospital Campus

When the city bought the former Michael Reese campus we were curious (and excited) to see what would transpire.  Would we win the Olympics and would this site become a legacy project for the city?  We all know the answer was no.

That being said, there were a ton of discussions about what the land may become.

Well according to Crain's and Curbed Chicago, a plan is in place and it's pretty practical:

The latest plan would encompass both the 49-acre Michael Reese site plus air rights over the 28-acre truck marshalling yards controlled by Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority. Initial phases of the lakefront redevelopment could include a logistics center servicing McCormick Place as well as a new event space. Longer-term plans would feature "more than 5 million square feet of technology-oriented commercial spaces, retail uses, homes and a hotel, depending on market demand," read a statement from the City of Chicago.

I guess it's good something is coming to the space, but seems relatively blah.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Greg Kot's Top 10 Concerts to See This Summer - 3 in the Sloop

Summer in the city usually means a plethora of concert options.  Yes, Lollapalooza is the biggest event in our hood, but Greg Kot - the venerable Tribune music writer - lists his top 10 for the summer (presumably outside of Lolla).

Three of these are in the Sloop:
GorillazDamon Albarn has put together his virtual band with human stand-ins for cartoon characters Murdoc, 2D, Russel and Noodle. His recent guest-laden album, "Humanz," includes cameos by Chicago greats Mavis Staples and Jamie Principle, so who knows who might show up on stage? 7:30 p.m. July 8 at Huntington Pavilion, Northerly Island, $142-$882;

Nick CaveThe singer is a rocker who happens to be a poet. In concert, he suggests a fallen preacher, an assassin, a rogue or a romantic, sometimes all in the same song. He's coming off one of his best albums, the 2016 "Skeleton Tree," and his shows with the Bad Seeds are must-sees. 8 p.m. June 16 at the Auditorium Theatre, $49.50-$99.50;
U2In which the Irish quartet joins the parade of major artists celebrating past triumphs by playing its 1987 album "The Joshua Tree" in its entirety. As usual, expect spectacular visuals and a game attempt to put it all into contemporary context. 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, $70-$134;

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Booze Cruise Brings Drunks to River City?

Yay for Summer!  Not yay for drunks...

A reader writes:
I contacted Alderman Solis about this, but I wanted to reach out to you as a resident of the Sloop (Wells/Polk) to express my displeasure with yet ANOTHER season of weekend drunks pouring themselves off of The Summer of George booze cruise boat that docks at River City each weekend.

This weekend, when the boat unloaded on Saturday, as per usual, the hordes of drunks filled the parking lot just south of River City, blocking the road. These people were yelling at my husband and I in our car as we attempted to drive into the parking lot. They scattered into the street, blocking traffic and being belligerent and disrespectful to the neighborhood.

Thing is, this has grown in nuisance levels over the past three years. We've had to call the cops a couple of times when fights have broken out amongst the drunk young people and this weekend I witnessed a girl relieving herself between parked cars on Wells. The 2nd time I've witnessed Summer of George drunks peeing in public and it is just the start of the summer "drunk season".

I just wanted to let you know what is going on - this is a nuisance to me and my neighbors and I am hoping the Alderman responds.