Friday, February 23, 2018

David Letterman Filming His New Show at Buddy Guy's Legends

Sounds like good old gray beard was in the Sloop (via Chicago Tribune):
Veteran talk show host David Letterman visited Buddy Guy’s Legends in the South Loop and the Athenian Room in Lincoln Park while filming his new Netflix show Tuesday in Chicago.

Despite the rain, Letterman stopped to take selfies with a crowd that had gathered outside the Greek restaurant.

It appears Letterman spent the morning at Guy’s blues club. Parking notices posted outside the club warned of filming of an “Untitled Letterman Project” on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Signs posted on the club’s front door said the club would be closed until 5 p.m. Tuesday for a private event.

Guy’s assistant, Annie Lawlor, said Tuesday the club was being used as a film set but would not give additional details. Music coming from the club could be heard from the street. Guy was a musical guest on Letterman’s “The Late Show,” and both men were among those who received Kennedy Center Honors in 2012.

Pretty cool stuff and looking forward to seeing if Buddy Guy was his guest.  The Tribune article also questioned if they could have been interviewing Tina Fey.  If I had to guess, it wasn't her.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Au Bon Pain Apparently Closes at East/West University Wabash Building

It appears that Au Bon Pain has closed up shop within East/West University's Wabash building (829 S. Wabash):

While you can see some people inside, gone are the pastries, coffee machines and salad bar.  Does anyone have any insight if this has been replaced by some other food option?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Construction for Columbia College Student Center Begins on Wabash

Judging by this picture below, looks like scaffolding and workers are starting to prep the vacant land for Columbia's new student center:

We're looking forward to this building as it likely will provide additional energy to this stretch of the Sloop.  Here is a rendering of how the building is intended to look once completed:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Somber but Beautiful Statement at South Loop Elementary

If you were taking your kids to South Loop Elementary today or happened to be walking by, you likely noticed this:

While it took us a minute to wrap our head around the picture above, it quickly became clear that the Chicago Police department was "escorting" the daughter of murdered CPD Commander Paul Bauer back to school (via CBS Chicago):  
Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer is remembered for far more than his leadership on the CPD.

The commander of the 18th Police District was a man who got involved in his community, whether it was at his church – Nativity of Our Lord in Bridgeport — or at the school of his 13-year-old daughter, Grace.

At South Loop Elementary, blue ribbons line the street. Bauer is being remembered for always stepping up, starting the daddy-daughter dance and always smiling when with his daughter.
We were chocked up by the statement and symbolism as we walked to work.  We can only imagine how his daughter and family are feeling.

Lobo Rey Brings Flavorful Food and Vibe to the Sloop

Lobo Rey has garnered a lot of attention from this here blog and rightfully so.  It took over a prominent spot on South Wabash and was being led by the crew behind The Scout - one of the Sloop's more popular restaurant/bars.  Additionally, they had a well respected chef who was bringing a unique concept of hibachi style Mexican to the hood.

Unfortunately for that chef, Daniel Esponoza, it wasn't meant to be at Lobo Rey as he left in December - a short stint that lasted less than four months.  We've heard that it was a function of creative control of the menu - namely Esponoza wanting a more creative menu vs. ownership wanting something that catered to the neighborhoods more modest desires.

Despite this surprising change in the kitchen, Lobo Rey seems well positioned for the future.  We recently had our first visit and overall had a good experience.  If you've eaten at Zapatista, the previous tenant which closed in 2015, the cavernous layout likely looks familiar.  However, you'll notice a much trendier, airy and updated feel.  Gone are the "rooms" that made the space feel intimate.  Instead you will find more open space:

On the Saturday night we were there, it certainly wasn't crowded, but still felt like the restaurant had a solid energy.  The one other thing that was noticeably different was that there are two bars areas.  One on the south side of the restaurant (where Zapatista had their bar) and an island bar (which you can see on the left side of our panorama pic above).  In the back there is the much ballyhooed about hibachi style grills.  On the night we were there, it appeared there was a private party so we didn't get a chance to check it out, but hope to soon.

Moving on to the most important thing - the food and drinks.  The menu was a single page and seemed like it could have been found at a trendier food neighborhood up North or West.  This isn't a knock on the restaurant, but just an observation - it's a fun menu, but not unique to the city (albeit a trendier one than you would typically find in the Sloop).

The table next to us was getting into some Mezcal, but that wasn't the type of night we were getting into - although maybe we should have.  We opted for their signature drinks - a unique version of a Paloma and a Margarita.  Both were fine, but won't have a rushing back for more.  There were some other interesting options, so we'll go that route next time.

Although the drinks didn't really tickle our fancy, the food exceed our expectations.  We ordered some pre-meal guac, which was delicious.  They also had some salsa that had a noticeable kick which we added to each bite of guacamole - yum on that one!

For the main course we did the taco sampler which consisted of 8 total tacos - 2x pork, chicken, steak and mahi mahi:

For us, the tacos were certainly the highlight of our experience.  The presentation was festive and the flavor was bold.  We over ordered for two people, but better to go this route than the alternative.  The steak and mahi mahi were my favorites, while my wife seemed to prefer the pork shoulder.  The chicken was good, but the peppers were beyond hot and frankly overpowered the rest of my bites. 

They also had "foot long" quesadillas which seemed to be a nod to The Scout's similar foot long grilled cheese dishes.  We didn't' check it out, but look to next time.

So what did we learn from our experience?  In the Sloop, Lobo Rey has the most flavorful tacos in the neighborhood!  The vibe is fun and more hip than most other options in the neighborhood.  Compared to other Sloopin taco spots - Flacos Tacos, Spanglish, Mago Grill  and La Cantina - Lobo Rey provides a differentiated "Mexican" approach.  Trendier, more flavorful and a better "going out" experience overall. 

If we had friends coming down who wanted Mexican, we likely would head here.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Taco Bell Cantina at 407 S. Dearborn Getting Close to Opening

A reader provides an update on the Taco Bell Catina:
I know you folks can be sticklers about boundaries - but have lived in this area since '98 and consider this at least "southside" if not South Loop! Barely north of South Loop? Anyway - very close here. No inside info but bet by the weekend they go live.

As a reminder, we first heard about this back in April of 2017.  Some time passed which made us question whether or not this was actually happening, but then construction picked up in January of this year.  Judging by the above looks like this is close.

(Hat tip: IC!)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Construction Progress Check-in at Rafael Viñoly Megatall High-rise on Roosevelt

Joe Zekas from YoChicago! snaps some fun shots of the rapidly rising highrise at Roosevelt and Indiana (via 
The Rafael Viñoly-designed tower will bring another 792 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail space to the southern border of Chicago’s front lawn. And at 887 feet, it will be the tallest building in the South Loop when completed. 
There’s still a year of building to go, but it’s already making a visual impact. Check out the photos below from Joe Zekas at YoChicago!, the man who puts the “OG” in “OGP.” (That’s One Grant Park.)
Looking east at the building from across Michigan avenue

Looking northwest from Indiana.  The scale of the building is clear on
this side and sorry about your amazing view people to the south - gone!

Monday, February 12, 2018

After 6 Years, Our Second Acadia Dining Room Experience Leaves Us Satisfied

Scallop at Acadia circa 2018
It's been a grip since we've ventured past the bar at Acadia and into the dining room (hello 2012?!?), but recently that changed.

When we first went to Acadia it was their opening week in January of 2012.  At the time we knew we were going to have a nice meal at what we presumed was a good addition to the neighborhood, but looking back we definitely didn't anticipate this unassuming, yet immaculate restaurant would reach the upper echelons of the Chicago dinning universe.

Some things have certainly changed since then.  An expensive traditional menu has been replaced with an expensive tasting menu.  They're closed on Mondays and Tuesday and oh yeah...reservations are still tough to come by.

Another softer feature, but one noticed by us was the level of service.  Not saying our first experience was bad, but it was clear that the staff has upped their game and was super attentive, coordinated and professional.

The decor was the same as we remembered - high-end, simple but comfortable.  A fun change was the music at the restaurant.  Pretty sure we got some Radiohead and Outkast subtly complementing our experience.

So let's move to that!

Our tasting menu consisted of Acadia staples and upon further review many similar dishes that we had back in 2012:

We had the Scallop, "Risotto" and Biscuit before and all were excellent again.  As you can see in the picture above, the scallop presentation was simply amazing and something that clearly has improved since Acadia's early days.

Beyond that the premium A5 beef was good - but maybe not spectacular IMO.  Others in our party thoroughly enjoyed it though, so take that for what it's worth.

Surprisingly, one of my favorite dishes was the carrot.  Again, you can see it's beautiful but the mix of ingredients really made this one sing.  Different textures, temperatures and taste profiles made a truly unique dish.

This was a school night (aka weekday) soiree so our crew didn't get super aggressive on the booze front - although we did opt for the wine pairings.  As expected, Acadia did well on this front.  Not gonna even try, this part of the experience is lost on me.  I like wine, but don't have enough of a sophisticated pallet to give you much color here.  Everything seemed to pair well - so cheers to that Acadia (seems like this is table stakes for a two-star Michelin restaurant)!

The overarching experience this time was better than the first.  They've been doing this for 6 years now and clearly have assessed what works and what doesn't.  Additionally, the tasting menu portions seemed appropriate and we left satisfied, but not stuffed.

We'll be back, but likely next time at the bar to consume the Lobster Roll.  That being said, hopefully we don't have to wait another 6 years to make back to the dinning room.

We're lucky to have Acadia in the Sloop.  If you haven't been, we suggest you splurge!

(Hat tip: AS & DK!) 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Won Kow Restaurant - 90-Year Old Chinatown Pioneer Closes as Owner Retires

Although most wouldn't consider Chinatown in the Sloop, we still like to keeps tabs on the neighborhood mostly because we love that it's so close.  Anyway, Eater has the scoop on a Chinatown pioneer closing up shop:
The oldest restaurant in Chicago’s Chinatown closed last week after 90 years on the South Side. Won Kow Restaurant, the once-bustling spot in the heart of Chicago’s Chinese community, closed on February 1. Signage at the restaurant read that the owner had decided to retire.
Won Kow was a community tentpole for nine decades at 2237 S. Wentworth Avenue. The neighborhood’s changed as much of the attention has shifted north to the intersection of Archer and Wentworth. There’s also more interest in Chinatown Square — the two-story outdoor mall. Reports dispute the year Won Kow opened — it was either in 1927 or 1928. Customers would haul up the stairs to find a massive dining room. Bartenders served large tiki-like drinks as diners enjoyed dim sum.

A sign on the window reads “we appreciate all the business that you have given us over the years. We hope that you have enjoying dining here as much as we have enjoyed serving you.”

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Fun With Interactive Maps: Zoom in On the Sloop with Strava Global Heatmap

Who doesn't love a fun interactive map?!?!? 

After perusing Curbed Chicago recently and clicking to the Strava Global Heatmap, we found ourselves down a rabbit hole of different views of activity around our city and neighborhood.  Probably not shocking to a lot of you, but it's fun to play with:
If it wasn’t already obvious how much Chicagoans love their parks, a new map from Strava makes that abundantly clear. The heat map shows fitness patterns of people from around the globe, and may have gotten into a little trouble revealing sensitive information about U.S. military bases.

Nonetheless, the exercise tracking map illuminates Chicago in a fascinating way. City parks are lit up and the Lakefront Trail is white hot as a result of all the runners. Look closely and you can make out the bottom half of the Chicago Marathon route too.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

More (Serious) Momentum for Motor Row: Wicker Park's Fatpour Tap Works Coming to the Area

A couple weeks back, we sort of joked about a Subway coming to Cermak as a sign of momentum for Motor Row.  Well it appears there is some legit momentum if this one actually happens (via Eater):
Fatpour in Wicker Park
The area around McCormick Place’s food and dining options are famously sparse, but that’s slowly changing with new construction. One of those new South Loop options will be a second location of Fatpour Tap Works, the Wicker Park sports bar that opened in 2012. A new, two floor location should open in late October inside the under-construction Hilton Homewood Suites at 1101 S. Wabash Avenue.
“We are looking forward to pumping some energy into the area,” said Erik Baylis, a partner at Big Onion Tavern Group, Fatpour’s parent company.

Baylis said they’ll have two floors and a mezzanine. They’ll serve lunch and dinner to cater to the convention goers at McCormick Place.
The point of the post is that this would be some serious momentum for Motor Row's entertainment district.  We'll be curious and excited to see how this progresses.

PLEASE NOTE:  earlier version of post questioned some of the location information from the Eater article we referenced.  They've since updated their post with correct information.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Take Me Out to the Near South Little League Ball Game

A reader writes:
I am sending this email on behalf of Near South Little League. Attached to this email is the registration flyer for Near South Little League. Our website is
It would be great if you could post information about registration for Near South Little League so that your readers know how to register for baseball this summer. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!
This is something we can get behind!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Field Museum's T-Rex Sue Begins To Be Dismantled Today

A couple weeks ago we wrote about how the Field Museum was getting a new, larger Titanosaur.  Before that happens they have to move Sue.  The Tribune has an interesting read if you're curious:
The Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton we know as Sue exists somewhere on the spectrum between sculpture and erector set. Sue stands in the Field Museum's central Stanley Field Hall thanks to an armature, a metal framework, that holds in their proper place the bones discovered in the South Dakota earth in 1990. The skeleton was mounted to convey ferocity but also with dismantling in mind, so that scientists wielding Allen wrenches could take out bones and study them as needed.

Beginning Monday, the Field's $8.36 million apex predator - and apex museum specimen - will begin the process of permanent removal from the only Chicago home it has ever known. Sue is making way for a replica skeleton of a new dinosaur, the largest-ever-found Patagotitan mayorum, to take occupancy of the central hall. Over the course of February, the tyrannosaur will be deconstructed, spirited upstairs to its new home in the museum's former 3-D theater on the second floor and then remounted in place for an unveiling in early 2019.

Friday, February 2, 2018

"No Condo" Yard Signs appear on Vacant 630 S. Wabash Lot

A reader writes:
Do you know what this is about? It's the vacant lot at 630 S Wabash next to Warehouse Liquors.
Not sure what this is about, but not sure if this vacant lot is serving much of a purpose right now.  If we were playing devils advocate our rebuttal would be "If no condos, then what?".

Maybe a Columbia building?

Anyway, the only thing we've written about regarding the lot was that a reader saw soil boring equipment taking samples way back in clearly not much movement has happened since then.

(Hat tip:  MJ!)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lowcountry Soft Opens and it Looks Amazing!

Looks freaking amazing - both the food and the space (via Eater):
After a successful three years in Wrigleyville, the owners of Lowcountry hope to duplicate the formula in the South Loop at their second restaurant. Lowcountry, known for its Cajun seafood boils, started serving patrons over the weekend at 1132 S. Wabash Avenue. Besides spicy crab legs, shrimp, and lobster tails, this Lowcountry features surprises including drinks from a Japanese highball machine, deep-fried Oreos, and plenty of liquor on tap.

As a reminder, we posted about this back in the fall of last year.  They've been clearly working on this and we're super excited to check it out.

Best of luck to them!

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sign Appears For and Seems to Indicate Progress

A reader writes:
Came across what looks like a new kickboxing gym on Michigan between 13th and 14th, basically next door to UFC gym. Interesting location.
While we posted about this back in November, the addition of the sign seems to indicate things are moving forward.

We agree with the writer that this blocks is becoming a fitness haven - Air Aerial Fitness, UFC Gym and Pure Bare all call this block home!

(Hat tip:  KK!)

Monday, January 29, 2018

1 Dead and 11 Injured in Scary Crash at Congress and Wells on Saturday

A scary scene this past Saturday at Congress and Wells (via Chicago Tribune):
One man is dead and 11 people were injured in a multiple-vehicle crash Saturday afternoon near Congress Parkway and Wells Street, officials said.  
The accident happened around 4:30 p.m. and Chicago police said eight cars collided. Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, citing preliminary information, that a motorist appeared to have lost control of a vehicle before it crashed into others near Congress and Wells.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Lex is Getting a Subway

Ok ok - the addition of a Subway sandwich store to your neighborhood shouldn't warrant excitement, but for some reason it feels like this is worthy.  Judging by the giant sign that recently popped up within some of the longstanding vacant space at the Lex, it looks like Cermak is getting another tenant.

Is this a game changer?  No.

Is it a sign of progress?  Sure.

(Hat tip:  KS!)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Looks Like Taco Bell Cantina is (Finally) Moving into 407 S. Dearborn

A reader writes:
Taco Bell Cantina coming to SLoop. It's on Dearborn in one of the retail spaces for the ARC at Old Colony building. I walk by there all the time and this seems to have come out of nowhere. See attached pictures.
We wrote about this in April, but haven't seen much action until this user sent us these pictures.

(Hat tip:  DS!)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bar22 Opens on Motor Row at 2244 S. Michigan Avenue

Looks like we have a new bar in Motor Row (via Eater Chicago):
SOUTH LOOP— Bar22 on Motor Row opened earlier this month. They’re promising a relaxed vibe and TVs to watch sports. Take a look at the photos here. Status: Certified open, 2244 S. Michigan Avenue.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Last Printer in Printer's Row is Moving!

Remember in October when we posted about the last printing house in Printer's Row?  At the time they relished their location and place in an industry that has since vacated the name it helped coined for the neighborhood.

Well...that's no longer the case - he gone!  (via Chicago Business):
The last printer on Printers Row is preparing to turn out the lights.

Palmer Printing is looking for a new home after selling its plant at 739 S. Clark St. to a developer. Palmer, founded in 1937, has endured over the decades as printing houses in the neighborhood have shut down or moved out and residential developers have moved in.

The sale marks the end of an era for the company and printing industry, which has had a presence in the South Loop since the 1880s.

So what happened?  A highly active real estate developer in the South Loop - CMK - aparently purchased the property for $14M.  So like many pretty much comes down to money:
The vibe in the South Loop has changed a lot over the decades as developers have moved in, converting old buildings into apartments or condominiums or putting up fancy new high-rises. CMK has been especially busy there in recent years, getting started in 2016 on Riverline, a 3,600-unit residential development on the east side of the Chicago River between Congress Parkway and Roosevelt Road. In late October, CMK acquired a 32,400-square-foot parcel at 1415 S. Wabash Ave.
It's unclear what the developer plans on the Palmer Printing site. CMK President Colin Kihnke did not respond to a call or email.

Likely a bittersweet moment for the owners, workers and sentimental types.  All that being said, not terribly surprising.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

2018 Women's March Begins at 9am at Grant Park

In case you're going to or interested in the Women's March (via Sun Times):
Before Chicago area residents take to the street Saturday for the Women’s March, here’s what you should know about traveling to and from the march route, street closures and how bundled up you should to be for the day.

LOGISTICS: The rally site at Grant Park opens at 9 a.m., kicking off with recorded videos and music. The speaking program, which includes Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, begins at 11 a.m.

The march will start at 12:30 p.m.

Starting at Jackson Street at Columbus Drive, marchers are expected to head west on Jackson to Clark Street. From there, they’ll head north on Clark to Federal Plaza. Organizers expect marchers to disband at Jackson and Dearborn Street.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Field Museum's Stanley Hall Getting a Rennovation

Looks like Field Museum's main hall is getting a rennovation (via Curbed):
The Field Museum’s stately marble hall is about to get a lot more wild.
Later this year, the skylit vaulted ceilings of Stanley Hall will be overtaken by a flock of flying reptiles and hanging gardens containing over 1,000 live plants that thrived alongside dinosaurs. These additions accompany a soon-to-be unveiled model of a titanosaur species, the largest dinosaur discovered so far, that will eat up a third of the central hall.

Seems like a good shot in the arm for Field Museum and fear not - the popular T-Rex Sue isn't leaving the museum.  She's being moved upstairs.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our First Jazz Showcase Experience Prompts a Desire for a Second

We finally made it! 

Late last year, we made our first ever visit to the venerable Jazz Showcase in Dearborn Station (806 S. Plymouth).  It's slightly embarrassing that it's been this difficult for us to go, but enough about that...

On a blustery Saturday evening, we scampered down Plymouth Court in the snow to take in students from the Columbia Jazz Ensemble collaborate with saxophonist Jon Irabagon.  Frankly, we didn't know anything about the show and were mainly going for the overarching experience.

I was a little uncertain on what to expect or if my party would enjoy themselves (since none of them were what I would consider "Jazz Enthusiasts").  What I can say, is that it was an experience that exceeded my expectations.  Upon walking into the venue, you're completely engulfed by Jazz.  Pictures and show posters hang on every wall and ambiance is certainly old-school cool.

We were greeted at the front desk by Joe Segal, the owner and founder of the Jazz Showcase.  His age was showing, but his wit and personality were immediately noticeable upon first blush - namely his comments and excitement for the upcoming show as he took our money.

As a waitress sat our party of five in the back, the buzz of venue was encouraging.  It wasn't packed yet, but was filling up bristly.  Our waitress was bouncing around the venue and although it wasn't the fastest service it was certainly fine - after all, you come for the music first and drinks second.

If you're looking amble space, this place isn't for you.  Tables and seats are packed together very tightly to maximize seating but also adds to the intimacy of the venue.  One exception is the various couches that are situated in the middle.  Those seem like the prime seats and something we would seek out for our next visit.

As the musicians started to assemble on stage, Mr. Segal grabbed the mic and provided the introduction.  Here's what we captured:

The show was fun and if you're a fan of live music we highly suggest a trip to the Jazz Showcase.  

Similarly to Buddy Guy's Legends, we're lucky to have such a unique and highly respected live music venue in our neighborhood.

We'll be back - hopefully soon!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fashion Geek Closes at 69 East 16th

A reader writes:
First closing in 2018 for business counter - Fashion Geek at 69 E 16th has vacated.
Many people might not be familiar with this store, but as fas we could tell it was a boutique owned by Alonzo Jackson.  There isn't a lot of information online about why the store closed, but judging by his instagram account (which has 30K+ followers), he's likely still going to have some influence over fashion.

Best of luck to him and as the reader states - this is our first closing of the year.  Check out the business counter as we keep tabs on openings and closings in 2018.

(Hat tip: DK!)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Lobo Rey Chef Daniel Espinoza Out at 1307 S. Wabash Restaurant

Looks like Lobo Rey's Chef left (via Eater):
SOUTH LOOP— Big changes at Lobo Rey where chef Daniel Espinoza, pastry chef Jhoana Ruiz , and much of the staff left on December 23. The Mexican restaurant, which was supposed to mix Japanese flattops with casual taqueria opened in September at 1307 S. Wabash Avenue. The restaurant is still trying to find its identity, just blocks from Soldier Field. Espinoza has gone back to focusing on his Anomar Mexican pop-up.

It was always a intriguing concept, but one we weren't really sure how it would pan out.  The Yelp reviews generally seem positive (4 stars currently), so we will see what transpires at Lobo Rey.

Has anyone been lately?   Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Remodeled Dunkin' Donuts at 16th & Michigan Reopens

A reader writes:
The Dunkin’ Donuts on 16th and Michigan has reopened from Construction! One of the friendliest and Nicest owners of a location I have ever met. Glad to have him back in the neighborhood.
We've always found this Dunkin' Donuts interesting given it's relatively tiny building.  Anyway, nice to have a well though of owner in the hood

(Hat tip:  BL!)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

+20 is Our Official Count for the 2017 Sloopin Business Counter

Alright is the final business counter for 2017.   

Opened in 2017
  1. Bar Method (2112 S. Michigan)
  2. Orange Theory Fitness (1005 S. State)
  3. Air Aerial Fitness (1317 S. Michigan)
  4. University of Chicago Center for Advanced Care (1101 S. Canal)
  5. The Chicago Firehouse (1401 S. Michigan)
  6. Pizano's Pizza (2106 S. Indiana)
  7. Parish 14 (2333 S. Michigan)
  8. Poke & Roll (555 S. Dearborn)
  9. Mercat a la Planxa (reopens 638 S. Michigan)
  10. Pure Barre (1336 S. Michigan)
  11. Timothy's Hutch (636 S. Michigan)
  12. Hax: Hop's and Hamburgers (733 S. Dearborn)
  13. Gordo's (729 S Dearborn)
  14. EZ Dental (1466 S. Michigan)
  15. Brighter Dental of South Loop (1620 S. Michigan)
  16. Weissbluth Pediatrics (1471 S. Michigan)
  17. Bulldog Ale House (15 E. 9th)
  18. Title Boxing (250 W. Roosevelt)
  19. Lobo Rey (1307 S. Wabash)
  20. Royal Puppies (2000 S. Wabash)
  21. Phenomenal Fitness (2001 S. State)
  22. Himalayan Express (606 S. Wabash)
  23. Cycmode (1333 S. Wabash)
  24. Athletico (State and Harrison)
  25. Half Sour (755 S. Clark)
  26. Not Just Cookies (901 S. Plymouth)
  27. Pazzo's (825 S. State)
  28. Kome (1303 S. Michigan)
  29. South Loop Market (9th and State)
  30. Mai Tai (614 S. Wabash)
  31. Steve Bite's (80 E. Cermak)
  32. Jamaica Jerk Villa & Bar (2216 S. Michigan)
  33. Asian Cajun (2113 S. State)
  34. Art of Pizza (727 S. State)
  35. Clark St. Cross Fit (730 s. Clark)
Closed or Moved Out of the Sloop in 2017
  1. Tamarind Sushi (614 S. Wabash)
  2. Ameritalia (1303 S. Michigan)
  3. Toppers Pizza (727 S. State)
  4. Porkchop (555 S. Dearborn)
  5. Jimmy Green's (825 S. State)
  6. Blackie's (755 S. Clark)
  7. D'Jons Barbershop (1514 S. Wabash)
  8. Lakeside Grocery (1912 S. State)
  9. Bentley's Corner Barkery (250 W. Roosevelt)
  10. Lofty Aspirations (1934 S. Wabash)
  11. Belly-up Smokehouse and Saloon (1132 S. Wabash)
  12. Phenomenal Fitness (1450 S. Michigan)
  13. Freshii (1154 S. Clark)
  14. Health Elements (79 E. 16th)
  15. The Foundry (730 S. Clark)
Since we're talking lists, here are some other businesses that may or may not open up in 2018:
Reflexology Foot Parlor (1319 S. Michigan)
• TBD Salon (705 S. Dearborn)
• Pin me up (2411 S. Michigan)
 Natural Girl (1547 S. State)
• Big Shoulders Chicago (1449 S. Michigan)
• Rosebud's Artist's Cafe (1150 S. Wabash)
• The Vault (1325 S. Michigan)
• M Vie (TBD)
 TBD tattoo Parlor  (2008 S. Prairie)
• TBD Asian Restaurant (1234 S. Michigan)
• TBD Medical Services Business (41 W. Congress)
• Taco Bell Cantina (407 S. Dearborn)
• Taco Madre (823 S. State)
• Low Country (1132 S. Wabash)
• Poke Burrito (453 S. Dearborn)
• Team Rehabilitation (2100 S. Michigan)
• (1325 S. Michigan)
• Dollop Coffee Co (801 S. Financial) 
• Willow Creek Community Church (1319 S. State) 
Blaze Pizza (511 S. State) 

Stay tuned!

For a look back here is our final tally for 2012 (+25 new businesses), our final tally for 2013 (+41 new businesses), our final tally for 2014 (+19 businesses), our final tally for 2015 (+19 new business) and our final tally for 2016 (+12 new businesses)!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Crazy Icicle's Close Down Wabash

In case you missed this over the weekend (via Chicago Tribune):
A block of Wabash Avenue was closed Saturday evening and was expected to remain closed overnight after ice engulfed an old-fashioned fire escape on a high-rise building, authorities said.  
City officials closed Wabash from Harrison Street to Balbo Avenue at 5 p.m. because of falling ice, according to police.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Willow Creek Community Church Taking Over Entire Property of 1319-1347 S State Street?

A reader sent us a link (via Willow Creeks website):
Willow Chicago has been searching for a permanent home for a number of years. While we have enjoyed hosting services in the Auditorium Theatre, the cost and the limitations are hindering us as a church community. After years of searching for a permanent home, God has answered our prayer with the property at 1319-1347 S State Street.
You can read more about their plans on their website, but judging by this rendering it seems like they're taking the whole building over:

Congrats to them, but curious what's happening to the rest of the businesses in the building.  We know Rainforest Learning Center had a pretty big space in the middle, so wonder if they're relocating or what.  Anyone have the scoop?

It looks like their "Worship Center" is slated to open in Spring 2018.  This appears to be on the south-side of the building, so maybe they will be gradually taking over the building?

(Hat tip:  CW!)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Some of Chicago's Most Popular Instagram Photo Spots in the Sloop

Probably not surprising, but some South Loop staples were some of the most Instgrammed spots in 2017 (via Curbed):

Coming in at #9 was Lollapalooza (aka Grant Park).  This was the only "spot" that was an event vs. a location:
And at #4 was Soldier Field:
A post shared by Amurta Nath (@natham2132) on

Blaze Pizza Coming to University Center (511 S. State)

A reader writes:
Lots of loud construction noises coming from the space next to Panda Express. I did a little investigating and found that Blaze Pizza is opening a location there. See link.
Interestingly another create your own pizza concept - Pizza Studio - was supposed to open up at University Center.  That didn't happen.

We've never had Blaze, but know they have a good following.  Thoughts?

(Hat tip: PL!)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

World Market Closing on Jan 20th at Southgate Complex's the new year and we have our first business closing (via Daily Herald):
Two area Cost Plus World Market stores confirmed today that they are closing in January.

Stores in Northbrook and the Chicago South Loop will close on Jan. 20, store employees said.
Curious to see what might go in.  Interestingly it's been some time since the space above World Market was occupied.  As a reminder, that was a Office Depot that closed back in December of 2008 (wow 10 years!).