Tuesday, October 31, 2017

President Who Didn't Collude with Russia Holds First Ever Foundation Summit Tomorrow in the Sloop

A big event starts today in the Sloop (via ABC7):
Former President Barack Obama will return to Chicago Tuesday for the first-ever Obama Foundation Summit, a two-day event that aims to inspire a new generation of leaders. 
The summit will feature about 500 civic leaders from around Chicago, the United States, and the world who will host lectures, workshops and interactive events. Summit participants will attend five main stage sessions with talks on topics ranging from motivating young people to choose a civic path to technology's role in creating equitable and inclusive communities.

Along with a star-studded array of special guests, the summit will end with a concert features Chicago's Chance the Rapper, Gloria Estefan, and The National. The concert will be open to the community, but only about 1,500 tickets will be distributed. The concert will be live-streaming on YouTube. The summit will take place at the Marriott Marquis McCormick Place, the concert will be at the Wintrust Arena on East Cermak Road in the South Loop.

Heads-up - traffic might be a little tighter - especially in the south side of the Sloop!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Tribune: Man in Custody After Sexual Assault on Sunday

Another scary one (via Tribune):
One man is in custody after he sexually assaulted a woman in a South Loop building Sunday morning, according to Chicago police.

Police responded to a report of criminal sexual assault in the first block of East 16th Street just before 6 a.m. Sunday. When officers arrived, a 31-year-old woman told them a man had sexually assaulted her after somehow gaining access to a residence, police said.

The man fled when a witness interrupted the incident, police said, but he was placed into custody soon after by the responding officers.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Last Printer in Printers Row

A fun read on the last printer in Printers Row (via WTTW):
In its heyday, Printers Row was home to some of the most famous printers in the United States.

The magazine and catalogue publisher R. R. Donnelley & Sons, prominent mapmaker Rand McNally and children’s book publisher M.A. Donohue & Company called the area home during the first half of the 20th century.

But today, there’s only one printer left on Printers Row: Palmer Printing.

Founded in 1937 by German immigrant Everett Palmer, Palmer Printing uses offset lithography, a printing technique in which an image is burned onto an aluminum plate that’s then fed into a press where rubber rollers transfer that image onto paper.

The company also uses the CMYK color model, which is built on cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink.

There is also a good segment if you're interested:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Half Sour (755 S. Clark) Shooting for Late November Opening?

We stumbled upon a piece of information we weren't aware of (via Chicago Tribune):
Steingold’s is the first of a growing number of new Jewish-style delis. Others expected to open soon include Milt’s Extra Innings in Wrigleyville on Oct. 30, and Half Sour in the South Loop in late November. Jared Leonard, best known for The Budlong Hot Chicken and BBQ Supply Co. restaurants, plans to open Norm’s Deli in Uptown next year in his food hall project Beacon St. Market. Leonard currently smokes meat for Steingold’s.

The article focuses on Steingold's, but gives us a hint of an opening date for the Sloop's new deli - Half Sour (755 S. Clark).  As a reminder, we wrote about Half Sour back in late September.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Thief Breaks Into Gioco and Opens Safe with Pots & Pans

A strange story (via NBC5):
Like something out of a heist movie, surveillance video caught a thief breaking into a South Loop restaurant's safe last week using kitchen items and a large file, ultimately making off with thousands of dollars. The suspect tried to break into two businesses early Friday morning on the 1300 block of South Wabash, police said. He managed to get into Gioco, an Italian restaurant on the block, by smashing in the front door.

The suspect tried to break into two businesses early Friday morning on the 1300 block of South Wabash, police said. He managed to get into Gioco, an Italian restaurant on the block, by smashing in the front door.
Also sounds like the thief tried to get into Flo & Santos next door but was scared away by an employee who was inside.

(Hat tip:  JM!)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Look at the Pros/Cons of the Sloop Sites Listed as Potential Spots for Amazon HQ2

Rendering of The 78 from Related Midwest

The Amazon HQ2 speculation is high.  All proposals were due to the tech behemoth last week and more and more details continue to emerge.

As reported, in the Chicago proposal ten different sites were posed for Amazon.  Three of the locations are in or very close to the Sloop (depending on your definition of the neighborhoods boundaries) - via Chicago Tribune:

The 78 
Related Midwest has not disclosed specific details of its plans to bring Amazon to a 62-acre site along the river in the South Loop. In May, the firm said it wants to build more than 10 million square feet of residential, office, retail and hotel space on the vacant land. The plan includes a half-mile-long riverwalk. An early name for the project is The 78, signifying plans to create the city's future 78th community area.
A proposed University of Illinois-led innovation center on the site, called Discovery Partners Institute, could have synergies with a tech-savvy office tenant. The huge riverfront parcel offers spectacular views of the Loop skyline. The developer's parent company, Related Cos., has experience with huge projects -- including Hudson Yards in New York.
The area is currently is viewed more as a residential market than an office destination. Extensive funding could be needed for transportation upgrades, including potential CTA Red Line and Metra train stations.

Burnham Lakefront plan from Farpoint Development

The Burnham Lakefront

A group of developers led by Farpoint Development and Draper & Kramer wants to bring residential and office towers to a sprawling parcel just south of McCormick Place and west of Lake Michigan, extending the downtown skyline south. The Bronzeville project includes the former Michael Reese Hospital site, as well as marshaling yards where trucks load materials for McCormick Place conventions.

Large sites near Lake Michigan are scarce. Some of the nation's best high-speed fiber-optic cable runs beneath the site -- a plus for technology companies.

It's in an undeveloped void between downtown and South Side neighborhoods. The development will likely require more transportation options. That includes a proposed new 31st Street station on the South Shore Line.

The Downtown Gateway District
Space would be combined in several nearby buildings, including the city's tallest, Willis Tower, and another of its largest, the old main post office. The long-vacant post office at Congress Parkway and the river is being redeveloped into 2.5 million square feet of offices, plus a food hall and other retail and a 4-acre rooftop park. The Union Station redevelopment and other buildings in the area are also part of the proposal.
Unlike ground-up developments, the existing buildings would easily meet Amazon's need for an initial 500,000 square feet of office space, as well as subsequent phases of growth. CTA and Metra trains are easily accessible.
Amazon would need to negotiate with several landlords for space. Existing buildings provide less flexibility in designing a campus to meet Amazon's needs.

If Amazon actually came to Chicago and chose one of these sites are neighborhood would be radically changed forever. 

This surely could be good and bad, but curious to hear thoughts.  Let us know.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Acadia Retains Michelin Two Star Rating for Third Year

In case you missed, on Friday the Michelin stars were announced and Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) retained it's two star rating for the third consecutive year.  It's a pretty special honor and puts them in a top tier of Chicago restaurants.

It's been awhile since we've been to the dinning room, but man o man we love the bar both for their food and drinks.

Anyway, congrats to Chef Ryan McCaskey and the crew at Acadia.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Mai Tai Officially Open at 614 S. Wabash

We posted about the impending opening of Mai Tai at 614 S. Wabash, but the Tribune has a quick blurb on it and it appears it's open (tribune):
SOUTH LOOP — Pad thai and sushi come together at Mai Tai, which features lunch specials for those working downtown. Other menu items include curries, fried rice and other pan-Asian favorites. 614 S. Wabash Ave. 312-583-9633, www.maitaichicago.com.
Has anyone been?  Good?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Governor Rauner and University of Illinois Proposing "Discovery Partners Institute" on Related Midwest's 62-Acre South Loop Land

The latest and most concrete news on some of the intended plans for Related Midwest 62 acre vacant South Loop lot (via Tribune):
Gov. Bruce Rauner and the University of Illinois are pursuing a sprawling innovation center in the South Loop with two other research universities, but the project’s backers have yet to forge a political consensus and a lack of detail about how it would be funded has created uncertainty about the project.

Rauner is backing the University of Illinois-led Discovery Partners Institute, a public-private facility for conducting specialized research in an array of fields, including computing and big data, food and agriculture, and health and wellness.
Seems like the Tribune is pretty skeptical on this one.

Anyway, another interesting tidbit is that Related is said to be "donating" the South Loop land:
Killeen said the university wants to recruit 90 new faculty members and up to 1,800 students to the center, whose total cost has not been finalized but potentially would attract hundreds of millions in investment. No opening date has been set, but a location has emerged in the South Loop on highly coveted land to be donated by the development company Related Midwest.
We'll be curious to understand what "donating" really means, but regardless it would certainly provide this development with a nice, high-profile anchor that they could build around.

For the broader Sloop neighborhood, this would also add more students to the neighborhood (in our opinion a good thing!).  Cynics will first question how this development - and the density it could bring - would be handled from a traffic standpoint.  Roosevelt road is often a parking lot of traffic and this undoubtedly would make it worse.

With that said, the renderings are drool worthy.  If this materializes how it's drawn up above, it would really make for a new dynamic development in the Sloop.

So Sloopsters - what do you think?

(Hat tip:  AR, CH, GM!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Hotel & Arena on Cermak a Step in the Right Direction for the Neighborhood

Yesterday we posted about some retail openings on Cermak and today we post about Blair Kamin's take on the new Marriott Marquis and the Wintrust Arena.  All in all, he's not super impressed with the architectural additions, but did note that simply building these structures were a step in the right direction for the area (via Chicago Tribune):
However one comes down on the issue of whether the hotel and arena were worth building, it’s likely that they will advance McPier’s goal of creating a vibrant convention and entertainment district. But achieving that goal will require the endurance of a marathon, not the short-burst energy of sprint. There are good steps here and they could some day help lead to a buzzing South Loop version of the city’s revitalized Near West Side. But it will take much more, particularly the restoration and re-use of historic buildings in the nearby Motor Row district, to make the area around McCormick Place walkable and an authentic part of Chicago — in short, a place with a there there.

We were recently down in the area and while it still lacks the buzz of Roosevelt or some of the streets north of that, it does feel like it's moving in the right direction.  We'll see if it can be sustained.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Steve's Bite Opens at 80 E. Cermak

Looks like a new diner type of restaurant has opened at 67 E. Cermak (between Michigan and Wabash).  We can't find much online in the form of a website or yelp reviews.  A reader sent us the following pic of their menu:

Additionally, we noticed that Chef Luciano has done some additional renovations and has opted for a very clean, modern look for their restaurant.

This stretch of Cermak continue to evolve.  Should be curious if the momentum continues.

(Hat tip:  NL!)

Monday, October 16, 2017

No Sloop Restaurants Earn Michelin Bib Gourmand Ranking

The Michelin Bib Gourmand rankings are out again and again no South Loop spots make the grade.  If you're not familiar with these rankings, here is how they're classified (via Eater):
The Bib Gourmands reward "quality restaurants that have menu items that offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (excluding tax and gratuity)." Restaurant owners, including the owners of San Soo Gab San, have said the honor often attracts new customers.
As far as we can tell, the last restaurants in the South Loop to earn the classification was Kurah and Opart Thai during the 2015 awards.  Why they fell of in subsequent years - your guess is as good as ours.

As of now, it doesn't seem like the Sloop has many "Bib's" on the horizon.  Maybe Lobo Rey could be considered for next year?  Outside of that not sure...

The "Bib's" are awarded the week before the more prestigious Michelin stars come out.  So expect to hear some news on that front this week.  The venerable South Loop fine dinning spot Acadia likely will earn stars again.  For the past two years, it has earned two-stars which puts it in a rarefied dinning class in the city.  Curious to see if they can make it three years in a row.

Friday, October 13, 2017

In Case You Missed It - Jamacia Jerk Villa & Bar Opens on Motor Row

A reader writes:
Jerk Villa finally reopened and I haven't seen it mentioned.

Judging by Yelp, it appears that it's actually been open since late June.

As a reminder, the original Jerk Villa was located at the NE corner of Cermak and State and was destroyed during a huge fire on December 31st, 2014.  This new location has been rumored for awhile and glad to see it finally open. 

(Hat tip: JH!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Dollop Coffee Co. Coming to New High-Rise at 801 S. Financial

Looks like the neighborhood is getting a popular, local coffee shop chain - Dollop Coffee Co:

It appears that this is going in the new 33 story high-rise dubbed Alta Roosevelt at the corner of Polk and Financial.

Probably smart move by Dollop.  There is going to be a lot of new people buzzing around with all the development in this area.

(Hat tip:  SL & SE!)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Not Just Cookies Moving into Retail Space at 901 S. Plymouth Ct. in November

A reader forwards us an interesting email from the property managers at 901 S. Plymouth Ct:
Hello 901 Residents,

As we prepare for the new commercial lease beginning in November with Not Just Cookies, a retail space for their bakery, 901 Cleaners have begun the process of moving their items from the space. They expect to be finished and no longer open and accepting packages as of October 8th.

If you have clothes at the cleaners currently, please plan to pick them up at earliest convenience, and note that further clothing drop offs will not be accepted.

Not Just Cookies will also be accepting packages when they move into the space, and we will post their hours once confirmed, but they are to have more consistent weekday and expanded weekend hours than the cleaners.

In the interim, we will be working with staff on accepting deliveries and storing packages for pickup onsite during business hours, and will have further details shortly on the process that will be in place in the down time between tenants while some light remodeling is being done.

Again, further details are to come and door drops with said info will be made early next week, but we look forward to the positive change.

Best regards!

Very interesting!  Seems like there are some unknowns still, but if this is a legit bakery it's something that the neighborhood has been craving for some time.  That being said, we're pretty sure the retail space is relatively small, so uncertain if this is just a retail spot for the distribution of Not Just Cookies.

Upon searching the web, information was a little spotty.  Their website seems up-to-date, but doesn't have a ton of information.  Here is how they describe themselves:
Not Just Cookies - NJC is a cookie company providing, natural desserts superior in quality and taste. Our cookies and pies are made with the finest ingredients. We offer select gluten free and vegan desserts that our rich in taste. Not Just Cookies is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). NJC was created ten years ago by Johnathon Bush.

It also seems as if Mr. Bush started the business in 2006 when he was 13.  So we guess that means he's in his mid-20s? 

Anyway, curious to hear more about this one!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pazzo's Appears to Be Coming to 825 S. State (Former Jimmy Green's Bar & Grill)

Looks like a new restaurant is heading to South State street:

We're not familiar with Pazzo's, but it appears they have a restaurant/event space at 311 S. Wacker and a closed restaurant at 23 E. Jackson Blvd.  From looking at their website and yelp pages it looks like a moderately priced traditional Italian restaurant.

Has anyone been?

Seems like a good addition to the neighborhood.

This stretch of South State has seen a lot of activity recently and with Pazzo's, the entire block appears to be leased.  Just north of Pazzo's will be Taco Madre (which you can see in the pic above).  Additionally, South Loop Market is moving in at the corner of State and 9th.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

It's Chicago Marathon Weekend!

It's Chicago Marathon weekend and the race is coming to the Sloop on Sunday (via Tribune):
On Oct. 8, for 26.2 miles through 29 neighborhoods, about 40,000 participants and about 1.7 million spectators will descend on the city for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Officials encourage the use of public transportation to get to the course and transit agencies will beef up service. The route begins and ends in Grant Park, passing some of the city's main landmarks along the way. See the map below for when streets, which will be closed for most of the morning, will reopen, on a rolling basis.

The course

Description: The fast, flat course is home to four world records, several national records and countless personal bests. There is only one slight incline in the final mile of the course on Roosevelt Road. (Note: The route is subject to change.)

Start times:

Wheelchair race: 7:20 a.m.
Handcycle: 7:21 a.m.
Athletes with disabilities: 7:23 a.m.
Three waves of runners start at 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. and 8:35 a.m.
Duration: The course is open for six hours, 30 minutes. Registrants must be capable of completing the full distance, start line to finish line, within this time requirement (approximately 15 minutes per mile). Participant net times greater than the event time requirement will not be recognized as official.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Las Vegas Shooter Had Hotel Room in Sloop During Lollapalooza

As the investigation around the Las Vegas shooting tragedy continues, a chilling piece of information hits close to home (via Chicago Tribune):
The mystery over mass shooter Stephen Paddock deepened Thursday with news he rented rooms at Chicago's Blackstone Hotel overlooking the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park in August, two months before he opened fire at a country music concert in Las Vegas.

Paddock reserved two rooms on the park side of the hotel with a clear view of the outdoor festival, but he never showed up, according to a law enforcement source, who asked for anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly disclose the details.

Pretty scary stuff.

This story reminds us of the Obama election rally in Grant Park in 2008.  Security was very tight obviously, but we were concerned about the vulnerabilities.  Here is a picture from a post we did on November 2nd 2008.

While they had bullet proof glass protecting Obama, it still felt risky:

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ko Me Japanese Eatery Appears to Be Making Progress at 1303 S. Michigan

Looks like we have a name for the new spot at 1303 S. Michigan:
This was in the window of the old Ameritalia restaurant on Michigan and 13th...

So we know it's going to be called Ko Me and we now know it's going to focus on some trendy stuff (hello Ramen and Poke Bowls!).  Word was that this restaurant was from the Kai Sushi peeps when we posted back June.

Seems interesting to us.

As a reminder, the most recent restaurant in this space was Ameritalia - which closed in February.  This was proceeded by the popular Italian Deli Panozzo's which closed way back in 2013.

(Hat tip:  HL!)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

More Renderings Revealed for Post Office Rennovation

More deets and renderings for the Post Office renovation (via Curbed):
Developer 601W Companies and Mayor Emanuel are taking the wraps off of the Old Main Post Office renovation this afternoon by revealing new renderings and more details on the $600 million project. While the renovation of the hulking 2.8 million square foot building has been underway for about a year, today signals the beginning of a major marketing push to attract interest and leases for future office tenants.
Originally built in the 1930s to help serve Chicago’s mail order behemoths such as Sears and Montgomery Ward, the Art Deco giant is currently being transformed by a team of 200 construction workers representing 27 different contractors, 601W reveals in a press release. Simply titled The Post Office, the upcoming development will feature large spans of office space for 21st century businesses.

Monday, October 2, 2017

62-Year-Old Woman Fights Off Potential Kidnapper

WTF (via chicagotribune.com):
A man tried to pull a 62-year-old woman into a car in the South Loop neighborhood Sunday night, but she was able to fight him off, police said. 
The woman was in the 200 block of West 19th street just after 8 p.m. when the man drove up in a light-colored sedan and tried to pull her into the car, police said in a media notification.

Stay safe and be vigilant!