Thursday, September 19, 2019

Cycmode Closed Up to Move to Atlanta

A reader follows-up on a post we did recently regarding Cycmode:
Re Cycmode - she actually took a big investment and moved to reopen the concept in Atlanta ... so sad to lose her in the neighborhood but she is doing great things down there!
Good for her!

(Hat tip:  SS!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

MingHin Coming to 1234 S. Michigan

Former Ma & I space where new MingHin coming
In case you missed this one, Eater Chicago had a recent blurb about a new Chinese Restaurant coming to the 1200 block of South Michigan:
An essential Chinese mini-chain plans large new South Loop spotMingHin Cuisine, a longtime former Eater 38 Chinatown favorite that’s expanded to three more Chicagoland locations, appears to be planning a large new South Loop spot for its next venture — which could include Japanese food. Management applied for a liquor license for the first two floors at 1232-34 S. Michigan Avenue and the second floor is interestingly under the name MingHin Japanese. Management has yet to respond to email and phone inquiries and additional information is not yet available, so stay tuned for more intel.

We've never been to MingHin, but it's slightly surprising that they're expanding so close to their Chinatown location.  Maybe they're trying to appeal to people who just won't venture a little further south to Chinatown.

This restaurant location was previously one of our favorites - Ma & I.  They closed a couple years back, but there have been persistent rumors of an Asian restaurant coming back to this location.  If the note above is correct, it appears the rumor is true.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Looking in at 820 S. Michigan Unique Rooftop

The Sun-Times has a good, quick read about the Johnson Publishing building on Michigan Avenue being transformed into a rental building.  One of the more interesting things we read was the efforts to add a unique amenity:
On that new 12th floor, the huge “Ebony JPC Jet” sign, heralding the iconic brand for nearly a half century, remains, now overlooking a trendy rooftop terrace with great lakefront views.
But Slezak said he wanted more than just the sign to be a reminder of the history made here.
Subtle touches of Johnson Publishing’s original ‘70s decor are sprinkled throughout. There’s the original wood paneling of the lobby and elevator; the framed Ebony and Jet covers lining a hall in the lobby; salvaged original rugs and curtains, framed, gracing upstairs halls.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Harbor Making Progress at 1312 S. Wabash

Checking in at Harbor - the new restaurant transforming the former Gioco space at 1312 S. Wabash - a reader writes:

While we're not shilling for Harbor's job fair, we did like what we saw regarding their lake michigan-centric logo.  This is also all over their website (although the website is still relatively bare).

For those looking for more background, this is the space that was home to South Loop pioneer Gioco - which closed in 2017.  The property sat vacant for awhile until news came out of Harbor taking over the space in some press in July of 2019.

It's one of the more interesting openings coming to the Sloop and apparently are trying to open in 2019.  Best of luck to them and looking forward to trying them out.

(Hat tip:  GK!)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Printer’s Row Art Fest Returns This Weekend

A fun event that we would highly recommend if you're free this weekend:
SEPTEMBER 14, 2019 10AM-5PM
SEPTEMBER 15, 2019 10AM-5PM
Be part of a new cool vibe art festival, Printer’s Row Art Fest, in Chicago’s up and coming South Loop, a vibrant, diverse and inclusive community. Just one block from famous Michigan Avenue and a short walk to the world famous Art Institute, this fall festival will be the place to be.
The festival showcases the beauty, creativity and culture of the area. Held on Dearborn Street from Polk to Harrison, the Printer’s Row Art Fest will be a buying opportunity for art lovers of all ages. There will be art from all price points by painters, street artists, jewelers, up-cycling artists, artisans of all kinds, photographers, and mixed media artists. Area restaurants and bars will be on hand to serve up their Chicago specialties. Live music will add to the atmosphere.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Pacino's Classic Italian to Open in Roosevelt Collection

In case you missed this (via Eater Chicago):
Reps from the Roosevelt Collection continue their efforts to improve dining in the South Loop as a new Italian restaurant should open this fall in the development that includes the ShowPlace ICON Theatre. Pacino’s Classic Italian is slated for an October debut, replacing Mago Grill & Cantina at 1010 S. Delano Court. Pacino’s chef, Michael Serratore, was the chef at Trattoria Isabella, a West Loop Italian restaurant that closed in 2016.
The article goes on to say some interesting things:
Pacino’s will be a family-friendly Italian restaurant with 335 seats and a private dining room for 150. There’s also an outdoor area with a pergola. They’ve transformed the space to make it feel like Serratore’s native Italy. He’s Sicilian.
The risotto may be Pacino’s signature dish, as Serratore said it’s a labor-intensive item. The menu will also feature plenty of seafood and fresh pasta. Sample dishes include Bucatini Bolognese with Sicilian sausage in a tomato meat sauce; Ivoltini di Pollo with goat cheese-stuffed chicken breast, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, vodka sauce, and mixed vegetables; and Neapolitan-style pizzas. Serratore prefers to lean to traditional cuisine, but he’ll try to modernize a few dishes, to perhaps make gravies a little lighter where he can. There’s a bar with 16 draft lines and also 15 bottles of beer available.

That's a lot of seats to fill, but hopefully the risotto is as good as advertised.  As a reminder, the Mago Grill space was huge and beautiful, but abruptly shut down in the spring of 2018.

The post also references the impending BBQ restaurant called The Lucky Well that is going to open in the development (which we posted about back in June).  And last Wednesday news came out about a crazy concept called X Pot with robots serving dishes and whatnot.

Good to see all the dinning news at Roosevelt Collection.  We wish them well.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Jet's Pizza Apparently Coming to 1140 S Wabash, But Is Chipotle Also?

A reader writes and sends us the pic below:
1140 Wabash- I think it was previously reported this might be a Chipotle.  Now where is that Chipotle?  Maybe former Bongo Room space??

While a lot of people were probably hoping for the Chipotle, apparently Jet's has a pretty loyal following.  All that said, there is sooooo much pizza in the Sloop.  While some may groan about that being a bad thing, pizza is pretty delicious.

So about that Chipotle....

As we reported back in December of 2018, Chipotle was in fact coming to this location.  Even so much so that it was on their website:

So the question is now whether or not Chipotle is coming.  On the Facebook group Hello South Loop, there are rumors that this location will have Jet's on one side and Chipotle on the other.  Time will tell...  

Anyone have any tips?

(Hat tip:  NS!)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Kanye West Bringing His Sunday Service to Sloop, Northerly Island This Morning (9/8)

Hometown kid Kanye West is known for a lot of things, but most recently it's his Sunday Service which has been happening regularly since the beginning of the year.  News of him bringing his "service" to Northerly Island today at 9am popped up in the news yesterday and although it's a free show, it sold out in less than an hour.

We've read about it and watched videos on it and have seen it pop up in the news in a variety of ways.  But what is it - well we're still not really sure.  If you're to believe the purest intention, it's presumably Kanye's vision for giving his congregation some form of spiritual connection.  On that level we're intrigued, if not a little skeptical.

On the other hand, is it just another endeavor to further prop up an already mythical but egotistical, complicated but brilliant artist? 

Who the hell knows - and maybe why does it matter.  It's probably somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.  It's interesting and it's peak Kanye.

If this means anything to you, head on over to Northerly Island this morning and brave the rain for something that could be special.

Or at minimum, you can stream the show at 9am at     

If you're still unsure what we're talking about here is a blurb from Chicago Tribune:
It’s a safe bet that you can’t think of the last time that a ticket to church was the hottest thing in town. But that was before Kanye West’s Chicago iteration of his “Sunday Service.”
The rapper will host a 9 a.m. event at Northerly Island on Sunday, that will be — something.
Previous versions have included celebrities, musical performances and been things that the hoi polloi can only read about. The guest lists were closely held, including the likes of Brad Pitt, Katy Perry, Tyler, the Creator and others. The Chicago event, open to the general public, is a very different take on the weekly thing that West has been doing since the beginning of the year, according to media reports. When Sunday’s event was announced and the free tickets made available via TicketMaster, they went quickly. Northerly Island has a capacity of about 30,000 for concerts, but what the setup will be like for the West event isn’t known.
What is safe to say is that West will be front and center. When NPR chronicled one of the “Sunday Service” events held during the 2019 Coachella music festival, New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino said in that story, “He is the church ... he is the text of the sermon. It’s his songs. He is the worship. He is creating a church in himself and selling it, really.”

Friday, September 6, 2019

PepsiCo & WeWork Looking to Secure Space at Old Post Office

And the momentum appears to be continuing for the Old Post Office (via Tribune):
Another 320,000 square feet of office space is being gobbled up at The Old Post Office redevelopment, continuing a run of big leases in the long-vacant structure that will become one of Chicago’s largest office properties when it opens in October.
PepsiCo is in advanced talks to move into about 200,000 square feet in the 2.8 million-square-foot building along the Chicago River, according to sources. Meanwhile, WeWork is zeroing in on a lease of about 120,000 square feet, the sources said.
The leases are not finalized and could still fall apart.

If this happen it would join Uber, Walgreens, CBOE, Cisco Systems, Ferrara Candy, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, AbelsonTaylor and Home Chef as other businesses who are also coming to the neighborhood.

While some may question why this is relevant to the Sloop, it would likely bring increased development and action to the north west side of the neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Robot Servers Coming to New Asian Fusion Restaurant in Roosevelt Collection

Ummmmm - if you say so (via Chicago Tribune):
Love Chinese hot pot, but always wished there were fewer real people around and more robots? You’re in luck, as The X Pot plans to move into the Roosevelt Collection Shops (150 W. Roosevelt Road) in the South Loop. According to founder David Zhao, opening is set for May or June of 2020.
Zhao and co-founder Haibin Yang are not kidding about the robots. “We’ll have robots that are similar to Roombas going around the restaurant to make the experience smoother,” says Zhao. “They’ll be the food runners, and any empty dishes we’ll also put on the robots.”
This is not the first time Zhao has integrated technology into a restaurant concept. He’s also the co-founder of Chubby Cattle, another hot pot restaurant chain that has a refrigerated conveyor belt that delivers all the ingredients.
But he’s aiming even higher with The X Pot. Along with the aforementioned robots, he’s billing this place as the “second interactive dining 5D projection experience in the United States,” after the first location of The X Pot opens in Las Vegas later this year. What does that mean? Zhao says that the restaurant will feature “groundbreaking technology to add to the immersive dining experience” which will appeal to all your senses. “There will be music playing, visual projects on the walls and on the tables, interactive ingredients that you touch, and obviously smell and taste coming from the food.”
This is a pretty ambitious concept and while we're super skeptical of gimmick restaurants - we're hoping the food is as good as the tech.

Curious to see where this comes in at Roosevelt Collection.  Does anyone know?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

"Wine Bar Coming Soon" Sign in Window of Printers Row Wine Shop

There has been a lot of positive movement on the restaurant/bar scene in Printers Row.  While Toto's Market isn't a traditional restaurant, it does have some quality QSR type of offerings such as sandwiches and rotisserie chicken.  Across the street Roots Pizza is finally moving quickly and will undoubtedly bring more heat to the area.  Further north (715 S. Dearborn) work on Grail Cafe is underway as well.

But not everything is reliant on new establishments!  It looks like the popular Printers Row Wine Shop (719 S. Dearborn) is opening a wine bar inside their space - assuming this sign is accurate:

Good stuff and can't wait for them to open this up!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Cycmode Closes at 1333 S. Wabash

Cycmode - the immersive cycling studio - has apparently closed at 1333 S. Wabash since the retail space is now available:

As a reminder, Cycmode opened back in July of 2017.  The concept was interesting, but there is a lot of competition these days for health and fitness programs.

Here's to hoping something else good moves in soon.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Molly's Cupcakes in Now Officially Open at 1150 S. Wabash

Likely old news for cupcake aficionados, but Molly's Cupcakes is now officially open at the 1150 S. Wabash:

While some are likely dreading the extra calories that this place will force them to eat, it's a super good addition to the neighborhood.  Hope the location treats them well!

For more background we did a post in July that gives more background on this location and some of the other movement they've had here.

Best of luck and welcome to the Sloop!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Chicago Bicycle Company Closes at 728 S. Dearborn

In case you missed this last week, a reader writes:
Looks like chicago bicycle is closed. They were having a cash liquidation sale today. Real shame.

It truly is a shame because this bike shop always seemed relatively busy and had a great spot along the protected bike lane on Dearborn.  Maybe another bike shop will come?  Hopefully not another nail shop...

(Hat tip:  GC!)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Construction of Roots Pizza Building at NW Corner of Dearborn/Polk Moving Along

A reader writes:
Construction at the Roots Pizza site has entered a new phase:

As a reminder, this will be a two story building with a retractable roof.  See post we did a couple months ago.

(Hat tip: AB!)

Friday, August 23, 2019

Columbia Pocket Park Opens at 11th and Wabash

A reader writes and sends us this:
New semi-sterile park open at 11th&Wabash!

Another reader sends us this pic:
new park is perfect for dancing w your granddaughter!

(Hat tip: GW & JH!)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Is Pete Buttigieg's Chicago Presidential Campaign Office in the Sloop?

We were reading a story about presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg holding a grass-roots event in Bronzeville this morning and while the article talks about the event, one immaterial point stood out to us in the Sloop (via Chicago Tribune):
In an interview earlier Tuesday at the South Loop loft that houses his Chicago campaign office, the mayor said he’s found his Douglass Plan has been “extremely well-received,” but that getting it in front of more people is the challenge.
The location of the interview doesn't have anything to do with the story, but naturally caught our eye given what this here blog is about.  Apparently Buttigieg's Chicago campaign office is in the Sloop!

Initially we assumed this was one of those references of an office building on the south side of the Loop that a reporter calls the South Loop.  But another hint gives us a sense of where the office may be:
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is seen in his Chicago presidential
campaign office on Aug. 20, 2019.
(Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune) is the question - does this picture give anything away about the location?  If we were guessing, we would say this is the Co-Gen working space at 1132 S. Wabash.

Why do we say that?  Well the exposed brick signals an older building, the el tracks signals the back of the building and the wall out the window with foliage and what appears to be a residential building in the back seems to make us think that's the condo building on state.  So we're feeling pretty good about this guess.

Do you agree?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Uber Confirms 463,000 Sq Feet, 10-Year Lease at Old Post Office

Well look at that - the Old Post Office has it's largest tenant secured (via Chicago Tribune):
Uber Technologies has signed a 10-year lease for a massive amount of office space at The Old Post Office, giving it room for thousands of employees.
Uber on Monday confirmed it will occupy 463,000 square feet, becoming the building’s largest tenant. The Tribune reported in May that the California-based technology company was negotiating a move to the post office site.
The deal is the largest office lease signed in downtown Chicago this year, and one of the largest in Chicago in recent years. Not including renewals or extensions of existing office spaces, Uber’s deal is the fourth-largest in the past five years, according to CBRE.
Uber is set to start construction on its new space in The Old Post Office next spring. 
While much ado was made about Amazon's HQ2 search, Uber is a pretty sexy tech business (even though it's stock hasn't lived up to it's high IPO price).  It will be interesting to see what types of jobs come to this location.  As the article mentions, Chicago was already Uber's second largest office in the country.

The building has a pretty impressive roster of companies which hopefully will be a boon for the northwest corner of the neighborhood:
Uber’s lease is more than double the next largest space. Deerfield-based Walgreens in June 2018 announced plans to lease 200,000 square feet, saying it planned to move 1,800 suburban and downtown workers into the space.
Other signed tenants include Ferrara Candy, Home Chef, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and ad firm AbelsonTaylor. The first tenants will start moving in this fall.
More than 1 million square feet of leases have been completed. New York-based 601W also is close to completing deals with CBOE Global Markets and Cisco Systems for about 300,000 square feet combined.
Should be interesting to see how this impacts our neighborhood.  Any thoughts?

Monday, August 19, 2019

All-Star Seafood & Sports Coming to Former Villain's Space (730 S. Clark)

A reader sends us the following:
Walking by the vacant spot of Villains and saw this. I can’t find any info about them at all. Got any background on this new addition to Printers Row?

Seafood and Sports seems like a strange combo, but we like both...but maybe not together?

Maybe they're on to something?

As a reminder, Villain's 2.0 closed their doors last fall.  It was a disappointment because they had by far the most interesting beer menu in the neighborhood.

Anyway - anyone have info on this spot?

(Hat tip:  MB!)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Columbia Park at 11th and Wabash to Open By End of August?

A reader writes about the "Columbia park" at the NE corner of 11th and Wabash:
Spoke to an employee on the parks grounds today and its due to open in aprox'  two weeks whilst the grass [its real!] settles AND IS POOCH FRIENDLY!!!
Go Columbia!!
As a reminder we checked in on the park back in late July.  A reader sent us a picture of the park at that time:

(Hat tip:  AM!)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Chipotle Build-out Starts at 1136 S. Wabash?

It's been awhile since we've seen or heard anything about the rumored Chipotle coming to 1136 S. Wabash.  As you may recall back in December of 2018 a reader tipped us to "coming soon" location on Chipotle's website.

Just recently another reader sent us this email and picture:
Today the workers at 1140 S Wabash told me that the space is being built out for a Chipotle restaurant.

So it seems that this is moving forward.  We also recently saw a light on inside the space, so maybe the construction will pick up.

Between Chipotle and Molly's Cupcakes the 1100 block of Wabash is getting picking up steam.  We'll be curious what type of business moves in at the corner of Wabash and Roosevelt where Bongo Room used to be.  We imagine it will be a restaurant of some variety.  Seems like another coffee spot could be primed to take it over (although the area seems pretty well served on the coffee front...).

(Hat tip: BH!)

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Old Town School of Folk Music Takes Over Sherwood Community Music School at 1312 S. Michigan

Interesting article about some changes to the music community in the Sloop (via WBEZ):
Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, based on the city’s North Side, is taking over Sherwood Community Music School in the South Loop.
In the arrangement, scheduled to be effective Sept. 1, Old Town will take over business operations of Sherwood, which is currently managed by Columbia College.
“With Sherwood, particularly, you have a more than 120-year history of music instruction, a bunch of really talented teachers and committed students,” said Old Town CEO Jim Newcomb.
The acquisition is part of Old Town’s effort to expand into neighborhoods, especially on Chicago’s South Side, Newcomb said. Old Town’s Lincoln Square headquarters makes it inconvenient for students from across the city to attend, he said.

We didn't know the history of Sherwood Music School being around for 120 years!  That's crazy.

Anyway, Old Town School of Music seems to be doing well so maybe some fresh blood will invigorate the school?  We took our kid to Sherwood and had mixed feelings about it.  It seemed busy...but sometimes the instruction was just ok.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Il Culaccino Opens in Motor Row Entertainment District Area

In case you missed it last week, the Motor Row entertainment district had another restaurant open (via Eater):
McCormick Place’s dining scene received a boost over the weekend when a new Italian restaurant, Il Culaccino, debuted. The restaurant is from the owners of South Side stalwart Franco’s, which has been around since 1986 in Bridgeport. The new restaurant includes a wine bar, a tree-covered patio, and Chicago Italian-American classics like chicken Vesuvio. Ownership hopes to install a retractable roof on the patio by fall.
The restaurant is about a minute walk from Wintrust Arena, as the South Loop area continues to see development. Il Culaccino management markets it to students at nearby Illinois Institute of Technology and White Sox fans at Guaranteed Rate Field in Bridgeport. The Italian spot sits at the corner Cermak Road and Indiana Avenue at the Lex Tower at 2134 S. Indiana Avenue.
It's Monday morning, but we're drooling.  Hope to try this one out soon!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Developing the South Brand of the Chicago River to Spur Economic Development on the South Side Makes Sense to Us

My work crew has rented one of those small boats on the Chicago River today and ironically we stumbled upon this thought-provoking Chicago Tribune Editorial.  It makes an interesting case - use the South Branch of the Chicago River to benefit the South side:
It’s a sun-splashed afternoon in the city. You’re trying to think of something to do. For many Chicagoans and tourists alike, one of the first notions that comes to mind is the downtown riverwalk. People-watching on a long stroll, renting a kayak, sipping a pinot at City Winery — the options abound along an esplanade that has become an urban jewel.
Credit former Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the downtown riverwalk’s success. Before leaving office, he also oversaw the makeover of a Chicago River segment between Michigan Avenue east to the Lakefront Trail. And the former mayor was a driving force behind the planned Lincoln Yards mega-development on the North Side, which when finished will include its own riverwalk along the Chicago River’s North Branch.
The Chicago River has a second branch, however, the South Branch. Maybe you knew that, maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t, perhaps it’s because the South Branch hasn’t gotten the same spotlight as the North Branch or downtown stretch of the river.
That needs to change.
Obviously we know that the Sloop is at the forefront of this South Branch transformation and the editorial piece acknowledges that:
Parts of the South Branch have been already transformed. There’s Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown and Bridgeport’s Park 571, which features a boathouse designed by famed Chicago architect Jeanne Gang. Ping Tom also has its own boathouse. South of the confluence of the South and North branches, a quarter-mile stretch of riverwalk is taking shape between Harrison Street and the River City Apartments. And penciled into plans for the planned “78” mega-development is a proposed riverwalk stretching between the South Loop and Chinatown.
It makes the final case nicely:
There’s a cachet now to living, working and playing along the river. Riverfront beautification can spur economic growth — something that has eluded neighborhoods on the South and West sides for far too long. The Chicago River as an asset? Yes, we remember when the river was justly maligned as the city’s waste bin for industrial muck, when Chicago was the only major American city to dump partially treated sewage into a major waterway.
The river’s much cleaner now. We wouldn’t swim in it, but we like that we can enjoy a riverside margarita without getting knocked over by wafts of putrefaction. The Chicago River is indeed on its way toward becoming the city’s second marquee waterfront.
Now it’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s turn. She campaigned on a pledge of equity. She promised that the South and West sides would be just as much of a priority as the downtown and North Side. That can apply to everything from education to development to transit. It should also apply to riverside recreation — and the South Branch.
Interesting perspective - would be nice to see!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Lips Chicago Getting Ready for Grand Opening on August 23rd in Motor Row

Sponsored Post

The Ladies of Lips are excited to announce the opening of their opulent and glamorous show palace at 2229 South Michigan Ave in the heart of Motor Row in the South Loop!

Lips has been serving up dinner, drinks and fabulous drag shows across America for over 25 years, with show palaces in New York City, NY; Atlanta, GA.; Fort Lauderdale, FL; San Diego, CA and now the largest and most grand show palace in Chicago.

Lips will feature shows 5 Nights A Week and for Brunch on Sunday! Twisted Broadway, Dinner with the Divas, Glitz & Glamour, Taboo-The Dirty Show, Showstoppers, and Dragalicious Gospel Brunch are just a few of the shows planned shows. Lips is also the ULTIMATE party palace and the best place to celebrate anything and everything, including bachelorette parties, birthdays, graduations, divorces and more.

Lips offers Chicago's only true and compete LaCage Drag Show experience. The show place features giant crystal chandeliers, plush velvet curtains, glitter covered walls, pink leopard walls, high heel chandeliers and legs that float from the walls completed with one of a kind heels designed by world renowned designer Brenda Starr. In addition to the Glitz and Glam decor, the show palace also features a state of the art club sound system and theater stage lighting.

​The experience is completed with a fabulous menu, amazing food and cocktails prepared under the direction of Executive Chef Tom J Schmitt. Lips menu selections range from pan seared filet mignon and homemade lobster ravioli to flat iron grilled chicken and citrus butter grilled salmon. Cocktails include Lips world famous Frozen Cosmo and Hormone Shots plus a full bar.

​Lips is the best place to celebrate everything! Bachelorette Parties, Birthdays & Divorces are just a few of the many celebrations that occur on a nightly basis at Lips.

​So gather a group of friends or just plan a dinner for two! The Ladies of Lips are waiting for you.

​Reservations Required 312-815-2662

Is Not Just Cookies Still Open?

A reader writes:
Do you know if this is permanently closed? I went by around noon today and no activity and limited signage?

I know they probably suffered due to scaffolding in front that covered the entrance, but enjoyed their baked goods.

This location is sort of hidden and when they do work on the building (which they are now) the scaffolding makes it that much more hard to see.

Does anyone have more details?

As a reminder, NJC opened their doors in late 2017 - see post here.

(Hat tip:  SW!)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Harold's #88 Chicken Shack Moving Into Space at 1450 S. Michigan

A reader sends us the following picture:

It's slightly surprising that another Harold's is coming to 1450 S. Michigan given that there is one at Michigan and Cermak.  That said, we believe they all have different owners.  It's also interesting that they're selling craft beer and cocktails.  We've never seen that at Harold's.

As a reminder, Phenomenal Fitness moved to 2001 S. State from this space back in 2017.  The property has sit vacant since then.

(Hat tip:  JD!)

Monday, August 5, 2019

Friday at Lollapalooza - Hard to Top a Perfect Day...but Then Sunday Morning Hit

Photo credit Charles Reagen Studios
Not gonna lie - Friday at Lolla was one for the books.  Why was it so great?  Hopefully some of these observations and random thoughts can answer that: 

The Weather!
Wow - the one thing organizers can't control - the weather - was amazing for all four days!  That's unprecedented for Lolla.  Usually the heat is unbearable or storms cause havoc (evacuations!).  Four straight days of sunshine and relatively comfortable summer weather simply made the festival experience that much better.  Better yet, hopefully it means Grant Park will be in better shape than it usually is.

The Music Actually Beat Expectations
Obviously this is highly subjective, but across the board we were pleasantly surprised that everywhere we went the performers were better than expected.  The under card shows are always hard to predict.  They can be historic (ex - Lady Gaga in 2007 before she was Lady Gaga!) or it can be a buzzkill if the artist isn't ready for their shot at fame or if the sound mixing is bad.  For us, all the shows we took in were better than expected - Tessa Violet, Teirra Whack, Party Favor, Matoma and 21 Savage.  It set the mood for an evening to remember! 

With a Little Help From Their Friends
Unexpected music collaborations and guest appearances are always a nice touch for live shows and Friday proved just that.  Childish Gambino (one of the headliners on Friday) dropped in on 21 Savage's song Monster.  That was pretty rad, but another guest appearance really stood out.

We had a slight hunch last week that Death Cab for Cutie might call out Chicago's very own Chance the Rapper to perform their new single off his album (The Big Day) which was released on July 26th.  As suspected, this unusual collaboration materialized into a "historic" moment at Lolla:

We actually thought we might have two Chance the Rapper guest appearances as he has a well documented friendship with Childish Gambino.  He actually appeared at his Gambino's Coachella show earlier this year.  Seemed like a natural fit in Chance's hometown and with him in the "building".  Maybe Chance took in the show, but there was no sightings or anything.

A New Lolla Surrogate?
While we were hoping for two Chance sightings - a different and better thought crossed our mind.  Wouldn't it be perfect if Chance the Rapper took the reigns from Perry Farrell as the face of the festival.  

No offense to Perry Farrell - who is a legend and the visionary for Lolla - but most of the crowd probably doesn't even know who Jane's Addiction is (if you don't that's ok you can click here).  

Similar to Farrell, Chance is known as a lover of all music genres (just look at his aforementioned collaboration with Death Cab for Cutie above).  He is a talented, powerful musician in his prime and has a history at Lolla.   

Oh and he's a CHICAGOAN!  

There are likely some business complications that would prevent this, but just saying - give Chance a chance.

This is America
While Friday was a glorious day at Lolla, one of the biggest takeaways didn't happen until Sunday morning and wasn't as rosy.  Gambino's headlining performance was truly unique and special.  If it had to be described, stir up some James Brown showmanship, add some Parliament-Funk groove, a little Outkast genre-bending flow and a sprinkle of raw Prince sensuality for good measure.  It was a performance, not a music show - a theatrical performance!

He told us he was taking us to "church" and in the moment you nod your head, scream "preach" or do whatever you do.  The entire set was an experience - new songs, old songs, songs that everyone knew and songs that only some did. It didn't matter - they all worked.  

But...he had to play This is America - his popular, controversial song and violent video that many credit as an artistic masterpiece that encourages dialogue around what's happening in our country.  The bi-polar song touches on many subjects, but one key one is gun violence.  In the context of Lollapalooza it's strange - a sea of (generally) privileged people bouncing to the beat and likely oblivious to the song's message (if you want a primer on the message click here or here).  

But the show went on...another unfortunate metaphor to how our country deals with mass shootings.

Waking up to the Sunday morning headlines of two mass shootings in less than 24 hours - first 20 dead in El Paso followed by 9 in Dayton.  While these get the headlines because they're heinous acts with many casualties, let's not forget 5 miles west of Lollapalooza and the Sloop 7 people were shot in Douglas Park on Saturday night.

It's crazy, but this is America.  What's it going to take for something to be done?  

As Childish Gambino's song suggests "...ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody, you go tell somebody..."

It's easy to tell somebody, but we need to #DoSomething...  

This has to change.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Looked like Jesus

Image from Rolling Stone

From Forbes(!!!!!):
With a black-robed choir of around five or seven singers to support him, and a variety of dancers of different sizes, he told a narrative of summertime and kicked the night off with "Altavista," as he stood in a tower in the middle of the crowd with a single, white spotlight drowning him in light. Someone in the crowd remarked that, with his thick, curly hair, bushy beard and shirtless, linen pants, while walking out of the lights toward the stage, he "looked like Jesus."
YouTube video (shaky at start, better towards the end):

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Apparently All the Mailmen Are Going to Lollapalooza!

Hey hey Lolla is officially here and apparently that means you can't drop off mail!?!?!?!
See photo below...huh? What does Lolla have to do with the USPS collecting mail from its mailboxes?

We also noticed the same thing on Plymouth Ct so it must have something to do with proximity to the fest.  Anyone know why they're doing this?

(Hat tip: PB!)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hamilton the Exhibition To Close Up Shop Earlier than Expected on Northerly Island

We were always skeptical about the concept and location of the temporary "Hamilton: The Exhibition" on Northerly Island.  Not surprisingly, sounds like it didn't go so well (via Tribune):
In the first significant disappointment for the hugely successful team behind “Hamilton,” one of the most successful Broadway musicals of all time, the spinoff known as “Hamilton the Exhibition” is to close down in Chicago on Aug. 25. And the original plan to move the exhibition around the country following the end of the Chicago stand has now been abandoned.
Aug. 25 is two weeks before the end of the current block of tickets being booked for the walk-through attraction exploring the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. The early exit will necessitate refunds for patrons with tickets purchased for Aug. 26 to Sept. 8, and it occurs well before the producers’ more optimistic projections for a privately financed project that cost in excess of $13 million to create and erect inside a giant temporary structure on Northerly Island in Chicago, following revenue-sharing negotiations with the Chicago Park District. In earlier interviews with the Tribune, those involved with the exhibit had said they expected it to play here for at least six to twelve months, followed by similar runs in other cities that have been hospitable to the show.
Maybe if it was at an easier to access location for the general public - maybe (and that's a big maybe) would it have done better.

Don't cry for the Hamilton team though, the Tribune makes sure to put into perspective how much of a juggernaut it still is:
Although he declined to offer precise attendance figures, Seller said the exhibition had been popular, especially now that Chicago’s peak tourist season is underway. In general, he put the best face on the situation, saying that the publicity and interest generated by an exhibition that charted new territory for a Broadway show also helped buoy interest in the musical itself, which likely will have generated a staggering $400 million in Chicago ticket sales by the time it leaves the city on Jan. 5, having sold virtually every available ticket.
That $400 million places the $13 million in a useful context.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Chance The Rapper Hosts "The Big Store" at 1006 S. Michigan in Honor of New Album

It's Lolla week!  While Chance isn't officially playing this year, in honor of his new album he opened a pop-up store in the Sloop:

Judging from his Twitter feed the store will be open through Wednesday.  Has anyone been?

We found this article which takes you on a tour of the whole experience:
To celebrate the release of his debut ‘owbum’ The Big Day, Chance The Rapper held a pop-up shop in his hometown of Chicago. The shop doubled as a museum of sorts — visitors were escorted through a dozen rooms, with each one providing an intimate look at the musician’s personal life and professional career.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Molly's Cupcakes Coming to 1150 S. Wabash (Artists Cafe)

A reader writes:
There has been quite a bit of news regarding what is gong to replace the Artists Cafe on Wabash.  Well I guess it has finally been decided, Molly’s Cupcakes will be replacing that space.  See pics below:

This prime space had a tough go with Artists Cafe but we chalk that up to the business since Five Guys seems to be killing it next door.  As a reminder, Artists Cafe opened back in the fall of 2012.  We like the restaurant, but it was pretty pricey for what it was.  They closed four years later.

Quickly after that in 2016, a permit for a Rosebud Cafe showed up which seemed promising.  That never materialized and in hindsight maybe for the best. 

While we're not sure how a cupcake shop will do in the Sloop, it is a different business and all things equaled should be a great addition to the neighborhood.  Hopefully they kill it!

(Hat tip: NS!)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Columbia Pocket Park at 11th and Wabash Could be Beautiful

A reader writes:
corner of 11th and S. Wabash is going to be a gorgeous park - yet to know if its allowing pooches aerial view attached - the grassy area’s are slightly elevated:

For those who don't remember, Columbia had some "internal miscommunication" on the park which presumably cause the demolition - whatever that means?!?!?!

(Hat tip: AM!)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Convenience Store Wars! Go Grocers Opening Another Location One Block From Existing Location on Michigan Avenue?

Looks like something is coming to the former Square One space (1400 S. Michigan)

While many were hoping for a new restaurant or bar, it sounds like a it's going to be another Go Grocers (according to the comment section of Facebook Group Hello South Loop!).

If true, that a head-scratcher.  Two convenience stores within a block of each other?  Maybe it was an offensive move to stem off the likes of South Loop Market which has been springing up left and right across the neighborhood and city?

The convenience store wars are heating up!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Asian Restaurant - Mai Tai - Apparently Closed at 614 S. Wabash

Judging by this picture, it looks like Mai Tai is closed at 614 S. Wabash:

For those of you who care, they opened this restaurant back in October of 2017.  This strip has seen a variety of places come and go.  Will be curious who is the next to take the space.