Friday, April 3, 2020

Lollapalooza: The Antithesis of Social Distancing

We were just thinking about Lollapalooza (via Chicago Tribune):
The widespread coronavirus pandemic has upended most plans for the foreseeable future — with a statewide stay-at-home order in place through the end of April, bars and restaurants closed to dine-in patrons and a growing number of events either canceled or delayed.
But officials still haven’t pulled the plug on the summer mega concert Lollapalooza, which is still months off on the horizon.
"Lollapalooza is on schedule," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. "It's our hope and expectation that it will go forward, but we will deal with the circumstances when we are much closer to that time."
Lightfoot was asked Wednesday about the music festival’s status, which is currently scheduled for July 30-Aug. 2 at Grant Park, and whether it should be canceled.
“Well, I think Lollapalooza is scheduled to start about four months from now," Lightfoot said. “If we think about where we were four months previous, or four weeks previous, or even four days previous, what we know is this virus is unpredictable, it’s fluid, the circumstances really are kind of changing day to day.
The statement isn't surprising.  August feels a long time from now and everyone is taking things day-by-day.

That said, Lollapalooza is the antithesis of social distancing.  Just let these pictures sit in:

So yeah....seems like Lollapalooza is getting cancelled this year.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

City to Provide Rooms at Sloop's Hotel Essex to First Responders

Looks like a prominent new Sloop hotel is playing a major role in the city's response to the Covid-19 pandemic (via Chicago Tribune):
The city will provide 274 hotel rooms for Chicago’s paramedics, firefighters and police officers as a respite for those who may have been exposed to people with the coronavirus, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday.
The rooms will be provided by the Hotel Essex, 800 S. Michigan Ave., the mayor said, speaking at a graduation ceremony for new Chicago Fire Department paramedics.
“These rooms aren’t for first responders who are themselves sick," Lightfoot said. “We have hospitals for that. However, the reality is that they are coming in contact with the virus everyday and working long, hard hours. And some of them may prefer to stay downtown rather than going home to their spouse, kids or friends.”
Jim Tracy, president of Local 2 of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union, said the new accommodations were a relief.
“Everybody’s got a different situation that they live with, whether they’ve got young children, whether they have somebody with an autoimmune deficiency, whether we have senior citizens or grandparents that we’re taking care of, or grandparents,” Tracy said.

As a reminder the new hotel opened in April last year to much fanfare.  The complex also has a huge, high-end apartment tower next door.  The shared amenities at the building are drool worthy, but we imagine the city's first responders won't be taking advantage of those.  At least they will have the sweeping views of Grant Park, Lake Michigan and our beautiful city.

Obviously the first responders likely don't care about those amenities...but glad to see our local heroes are getting some top-notch care themselves.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Register Your Local Business in University of Chicago's "Shop In Place" Initiative

Tough times for everyone, but especially small, local businesses.  A reader sent us this email:
University of Chicago started a website called "Shop in Place" to list Chicago businesses that are open during the stay-at-home order. Individual businesses need to register themselves and then they will be on the list for residents to see which are open and what kinds of services they are offering.
Here is the link if your a business owner and want to register (or if you're someone who wants to support our local businesses).

(Hat tip:  TG!)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

McCormick Place Will Be Setup to Accommodate Overflow Patients if Hospitals System Becomes Overwhelmed

Last week we were sort of surprised to see that the city was utilizing vacant hotels instead of McCormick place to treat overflow patients for covid-19.  Maybe it just wasn't publicly announced yet, because just a couple days ago it was announced (via Chicago Tribune):
As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Illinois climbed to more than 5,000 on Monday, work began on converting McCormick Place into a medical facility that could handle a potential crush of COVID-19 cases and help ease growing concerns about a possible bed shortage in the Chicago area.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the lakefront convention center will have 500 beds available by week’s end. The medical center, which is being called an alternate care facility, eventually will be able to hold 3,000 beds for patients, most of whom would have mild symptoms and would not require intensive care.
Another group of 500 beds should be available next week, with 1,250 more by April 20. The final 750 acute care beds will be in place by the end of next month, Pritzker said.


The article does note that McCormick Place is a last resort:
Pritzker said the McCormick facility will only be used as a last resort.
“The first place we are directing patients is to existing hospital beds, maximizing our underutilized hospitals first,” he said. “If we never have to go beyond our existing facilities, we will all be extremely happy.”

Monday, March 30, 2020

Tribune: South Loop neighbors stand outside dying man’s condo to pay tribute in his final days

During these uncertain and challenging times, it's nice to read stories like this.  We're going to post in its entirety (hopefully the Chicago Tribune and the author Heidi Stevens doesn't care) because it's one of those nice things we need right now:
At noon on Saturday, under gray skies threatening rain and the pall of a global pandemic upending life in a million ways, Bill Hession’s friends and neighbors stood outside his South Loop condo and sent up their love.
Hession, 83, was inside his sixth-floor unit, where he lay dying. His daughter, Katie, and his wife, Joan, stood on the balcony, waving at the 60 or so people standing below on Calumet Avenue, just north of 21st Street.
A woman with three kids — two in a double jogging stroller — waved a giant Irish flag. A couple held up a sign written on the back of a roll of gift wrap: “BILL, FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS. LOVE, TORRES FAMILY.” Another man held a sign reading, “We love U Bill Hession.” Another sign: “Thank you for your friendship.”
Most people brought their dogs. A few exchanged elbow bumps. Bill Hession’s son, Daniel, walked around offering thank-you’s and hellos from a safe distance.
At 12:08 p.m., a woman led the group in “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.” A few minutes later, another woman walked down Calumet with a portable speaker playing Bing Crosby’s rendition.
“It was amazing,” Katie Hession told me afterward. “I knew my dad touched people. I had no idea how much.”
Bill Hession was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in October. He was receiving treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but he moved home March 20 (the one-year anniversary of his only brother’s death) to live out his last days surrounded by his wife, his four children and his beloved dog, Veronica.
Katie Hession knows her dad doesn’t have many days left. He hasn’t eaten since Tuesday. He floats in and out of consciousness, mostly out.
She knows when he passes, she and her mom and her siblings won’t be able to hold a proper wake and funeral for him, given coronavirus-mandated restrictions on crowds.
So she typed up a flyer. She added a photo of her dad walking Veronica. She explained the situation.
“This adds to my family’s heartbreak," she wrote, “he is Irish after all and is so deserving of a fine send-off for a life well lived.”
She invited anyone who might recognize the duo to stand outside his condo Saturday “with more than six feet of social distance” and pay him a small tribute. She would hang a dog leash from the balcony so they knew which one was his.
“I hope you’ll just look up and send up a special thought or prayer to Bill,” she wrote. “He may not see you or hear you, but I hope to capture the procession from above in a photograph and show him how much the neighborhood cares for him, a friend, a fellow dog walker.”
She had six copies of the flyer made at a UPS store and hung them around the neighborhood.
And people showed up.
“We came inside, and I just said, ‘Dad. You had so many dog walkers and friends standing out in front of the building, and they brought their dogs and they sang, ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,’” she told me afterward. “And he opened his eyes a little bit, and he whispered, ‘Oh my God.’”
Bill Hession grew up in Chicago. He graduated in 1954 from Leo Catholic High School, where he was a standout football player. He earned a scholarship to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and married his longtime girlfriend, Joan, his senior year.
After college, he returned to Leo Catholic to coach football and teach Spanish and English. (He was inducted into Leo’s hall of fame in 2011.) As the family and expenses started to grow, he got a job at Reavis High School in Burbank, where he taught and coached for more than 30 years.
At one point on Saturday, a gentleman in a Reavis jacket yelled up to Katie Hession on the balcony, “Your father coached me in football!”
“I told my dad,” Katie Hession said. “You had a Reavis Ram downstairs, and he wanted to thank you for being a great coach.”
Friends and neighbors dropped off cards as well. One was addressed to “The mayor of 2001 S. Calumet and his first lady Veronica.”
Katie Hession, who lives four blocks north of her parents, said she’ll soon be the one walking Veronica, a little bichon found on a Chicago street and saved by an organization called Small Paws Rescue.
“It was a match made in heaven,” Katie Hession said.
Before Bill Hession got sick, the family — Bill, Joan, four kids, nine grandkids — gathered every July in Lake Geneva for a weeklong “Papa-palooza.” (His grandkids call him “Papa,” and his birthday is July 5.) Katie Hession figures they’ll turn that tradition into his memorial this year, “if the world is right by then.”
“He’s a great man and a great person and a great father,” Katie Hession said. “He really deserved this.”
And his people delivered.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

What's Up With All The Shouting (er Singing) at 8pm Everynight?

It appears that some residents have noticed some strange behavior throughout the weeks:
What’s up with the flashing lights, music in the Sloop at 8:00 pm?

Another reader writes:
I was wondering if you or any readers could solve a small mystery!  Have you heard the people screaming and shouting from their windows in the neighborhood at 8pm every night?  Do you know why? 
I've heard about folks in Spain doing something similar as a salute to health care workers, but I haven't been able to track down what the meaning is here.
Well it started on Saturday night and was a city wide thing (via ABC7 Chicago):


The act of unity has continued each night.  One reader sent us this video:

Most of the daily organizing is going on at HSL on Facebook here.  NBC 5 also has an update:
Another massive sing-along - this time to two iconic Queen songs - was set to take place across Chicago Friday as Illinois' stay-at-home order remains in place amid the coronavirus pandemic. 
This week's sing-along was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. on March 27, organizers say, inviting everyone to sing "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions."

(Hat tip: JN, AH, BS!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Hilton Chicago at 720 S. Michigan Shuts Down on Friday

Yesterday we spoke about the city tapping hotels to house the sick.  Today it looks likes one of the Sloop's biggest hotels is shutting down for now (via Chicago Tribune):
The artsy 21c Museum Hotel made its River North debut in February. A little over a month later, the 297-room property has gone dark. 
One of the largest hotels in the city will soon follow suit. The 1,544-room Hilton Chicago at 720 S. Michigan Avenue is notifying guests that it will suspend operations as of Friday, Hilton spokeswoman Laura Ford said. 
Like a growing number of hotels, the properties will be closed indefinitely as the new coronavirus continues to cripple the industry and spark massive job losses and cutbacks that are affecting employees in every department, from housekeeping to the c-suite. 
What started a week ago with a couple of luxury properties downtown has turned into a wave of hotel closures across the city. Ace, Loews, Virgin, The Hoxton, Omni, Four Seasons, Chicago Athletic Association, Park Hyatt, The Peninsula, Hotel Zachary — the list of shuttered addresses keeps getting longer, and experts predict there’s more to come.

While I know it's serious times, some entertainment and humor can be beneficial.  With that said, here is the end of the move The Fugitive which ended at the hotel:

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Some Vacant Hotels in Chicago to Serve As Coronavirus Overflow Beds Once Hospitals Run Out of Beds

Beyond the fear and uncertainty that Covid-19 has brought to the world, one of the more interesting side stories is how different countries, states and city's deal with the threat.

Obviously big cities get a lot of attention given their population and density.  New York is a current hot spot and we were interested when they mentioned they are going to use the Jacob Javits Center to help alleviate some of the strain and demand being put on their hospital infrastructure.

For those who don't know, the Javits center is a huge convention space similar to our McCormick place campus.  This got us wondering if McCormick Place might be used for overflow patients who were sick, but didn't require ICU type of treatment a hospital could provide?

We haven't seen any news about this and did a quick Google search which didn't provide much insight on the thought.  Instead, it was announced that the city of Chicago was working with hotels to use their empty floors/room to meet the demand of sick patients (via Chicago Tribune):
The city of Chicago plans to rent thousands of hotel rooms to be used for people diagnosed with the new coronavirus or those who believe they’ve been exposed, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus and relieve the burden on hospitals.
By Tuesday, the city will have more than 1,000 rooms in a combined five Chicago hotels available to isolate people who are mildly ill with COVID-19, who fear they’ve been exposed, and for those who are awaiting test results. The city already has an agreement to rent rooms in the 215-room Hotel One Sixty-Six Magnificent Mile, formerly a Cambria hotel.
By the end of this week, there will be more than 2,000 hotel rooms available, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced at a Monday news conference.
“People in Chicago are stepping up and rising tall in this moment,” Lightfoot said.
In addition to helping on the health care front, the effort will provide a source of revenue and continued employment for the hospitality industry, which has been hobbled by travel restrictions and the growing number of cases.

It's an interesting idea and at face value seems like an ingenious solution.  Sure there are a ton of questions - who is paying?  how will the hotels be cleaned afterwards?  are the hotel staffs really equipped to tend to the sick?

Assuming the details get sorted out, it meets the likely demand surge most experts are warning us of and potentially props up a sector of the economy that has been decimated by the shelter in place order.  The article notes some chilling (yet unsurprising) stats about this industry:
Chicago’s decision to rent hotel rooms comes as the hotel industry struggles to weather a plunge in demand for guest rooms. Occupancy levels at hotels in the central business district hovered at nearly 53% during the first week in March and dropped to 35.6% the following week — about half as high as occupancy rates for the same time period last year, according to hotel industry data firm STR.
Occupancy levels are “in the single digits across the city,” Jacobson said. “I heard one of the largest hotels downtown had one flight crew last night of 10 rooms and one other person. Another hotel had a single guest check in earlier last week.”

Will any of the Sloop's hotels be tapped to help here?  It seems like the hotels around Northwestern in Streeterville are likely the first ones that will be utilized, but we will see. 

Regardless, we applaud this thinking by the city and hopefully it lives up to its potential. 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

South Loop Resident Sets Up Volunteer Network to Help Residents in Need

A reader writes:
My name is SM (abbreviated for privacy) and I am a proud South Loop resident.  Currently I am coordinating volunteer efforts for Covid-19 pandemic mutual aid. Right now I have over 200 volunteers that are ready and excited to help, but we do not have anyone with a need yet. If you know any neighborhood groups to share this form it would be greatly appreciated. Then we can start matching volunteers to neighbors in need.  
https://forms.gle/k5q18tDsBVThkvrd7

Hoping to help spread the word - please do!

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: Light Traffic


Friday, March 20, 2020

Acadia Introduces ala Carte Carry Out Starting Today at 4pm and Free Market for Restaurant Industry

It's a tough time for many and we wanted to amplify some of our cherished local businesses.  Here is a facebook statement by Acadia:

(Hat tip: ND!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Boutique "Motor Row Hotel" Pitched for South Michigan at 2328 S. Michigan

Some more big plans for Motor Row (via Chicagobusiness.com):
A former Related Midwest executive has picked up a property just west of McCormick Place with a plan to develop a boutique hotel on the site.
A venture led by Nick Anderson paid nearly $6.3 million last month for a property at 2328 S. Michigan Ave. in the heart of historic Motor Row, according to Cook County property records and people involved in the deal.
Anderson's real estate investment firm, Fern Hill, which he launched in 2018 after a decade at developer Related Midwest, bought the property from a venture of Chicago-based real estate firm JRG Capital Partners.
Details of the plan for the 30,415-square-foot parcel are unclear and Anderson couldn't be reached. But multiple people familiar with the firm's vision for the site confirmed its plan for a hotel. The Fern Hill website also promotes a "Motor Row Hotel" project that would "engage the community and encourage visitors to interact with other local businesses and entertainment venues."

The article goes on to say that the current land is a Burger King that has a lease through 2021.  So we will see how this progresses, but more action in Motor Row to watch.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Who Needs a Some Sloopin Sushi

We took our own advice and ordered dinner from one of our favorite places - Asian Outpost.

To our surprise, as we looked at the online menu we saw something we've never seen before:
SLOOPIN on Da Big Island
Sushi rice | softshell crab | tempura shrimp | avocado | topped w salmon | hamachi | tuna | lemon miso aioli | spicy creamy Sriracha aioli + mini riceless poké bowl: mixed greens | salmon | hamachi | tuna | beets | red peppers | cucumbers | seaweed salad | carrots | red cabbage | avocado | mukimame | sliced inari

It was a sign and we have the photo proof:


By our count that makes two dishes in the neighborhood named after this here blog (also a hat tip to Umai Sushi's Sloopin roll).

Go out and support our local businesses and restaurants!

Stay safe everyone.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Don't Forget About Your Favorite Local Store

Strange times.  All we can say is follow the science and be safe.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware of this (via Chicago Tribune):
Chicago moved closer to a total shutdown Sunday as the number of cases of COVID-19 in Illinois grew to 93 and Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants in the state closed to the public. Hours earlier, international travelers awaiting screenings were packed together at O’Hare International Airport, sparking an outcry from local officials for more staff. 
Effective end of business Monday, bars and restaurants will be closed to dine-in customers, with options of delivery, drive-thru and pickup through March 30, the governor said. The state is working with bars and restaurants across the state to ensure they can keep kitchens safe enough to continue home food delivery.
While everyone is trying to adapt to a new normal, there has been much discussion about the impact this news is having on small and medium sized businesses.

To that point, we want to urge everyone to think about your favorite restaurant or shop.  Order some lunch or dinner.  Buy a gift card.  Go on a shopping spree.  It's going to be difficult so if you think they're important to the fabric of the Sloop then we need to support them.

Stay safe everyone.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: End of the World As We Know It

A reader sets the scene:
Trying unsuccessfully to beat the weekend Coronavirus panic crowd by shopping the morning of Friday the 13th at South Loop Costco, where checkout lines ran the length of the store. Oops. Kudos to amazing Costco workers though!

Seems like a time to post to this song:


(Hat tip: TC!)

Friday, March 13, 2020

New Health Innovation Center Floated for Part of Former Michael Reese Hospital Site

Looks like there is some new momentum around the former Michael Reese lot south of McCormick Place (via Chicago Business):
The group planning a huge mixed-use project just south of McCormick Place has landed an anchor tenant to kick off the first phase of the development: a medical innovation center founded by the largest hospital in Israel.
The ARC Innovation Center would open in the first building on the former site of the Michael Reese Hospital, part of a 15-million-square-foot development that could cost as much as $7 billion. The project’s developers, a joint venture led by Chicago-based Farpoint Development, aim to build an ARC-anchored health-science cluster that would spin out new biomedical technologies—and create thousands of jobs—by harnessing the collective power of the area’s universities, companies and entrepreneurs.
The focus on health will seep into all aspects of the project, which will include apartments, a community center, and retail and office spaces.
“We envision it being the healthy community of the future,” said Farpoint Principal Scott Goodman.
The ARC deal represents a key first step for the project, known as Bronzeville Lakefront Development, currently 100 mostly empty acres stretching from McCormick Place to 31st Street. Once considered a site for Amazon’s second headquarters, Bronzeville Lakefront exists only on paper right now, one of a group of Chicago mega-developments that could add tens of thousands of jobs and homes to neighborhoods ringing the central business district.

So when could this move forward:
Before it can break ground on Bronzeville Lakefront, GRIT needs a zoning change from the city and financing for the project’s first phase. Goodman, who aims to begin construction in 2021, has one financing edge: The Michael Reese site sits in an opportunity zone, part of a federal program that provides tax breaks to investors if they back projects in blighted areas.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

All-Star Seafood and Sports Set to Open This Friday (3/13) at 730 S. Clark St.

Looks like All-Star Seafood & Sports is opening this Friday (via Hello South Loop Facebook Page):

There is certainly a lot of activity happening in Printers Row right now and we're curious to see how this concept resonates with the neighborhood.

As a reminder, this space (730 S. Clark) housed Villain's - a swanky bar with one of the most interesting beer lists in the neighborhood.  That bar/restaurant closed in August of 2018 presumably due to slow business.  It simply was never very busy.

That said, All-Star is a completely different concept and maybe the owners know something we don't.  Looking forward to seeing it.

Monday, March 9, 2020

To Magic Nails Closes at 1255 S. State

A reader writes:
Walked by To Magic Nails (1255 S State) today and it appears to have closed. Brown paper up on windows and yelp notes it as closed. This was the nail salon I went to, although hadn’t been in a couple months. It used to be Salon Vision, which was always busy. But every time I went into To Magic there was never anyone in there...

Judging by Yelp, seems like it was time they closed (they had only 2 stars).  Maybe another nail place will come in...or maybe something more interesting.

The 2020 Business counter is up to date with this closure.

(Hat tip: LV!)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Dearborn Denim & Apparel Opening in Printers Row This Saturday with Launch Party

 Looks like Dearborn Denim & Apparel (728 S. Dearborn) is opening this Saturday:

Really excited about this store opening up and providing a new vibe to Printers Row!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Fear Around Coronavirus Causes Trade Show at McCormick Place to be Canceled

Corona Virus hits the Sloop (...sorry probably not the best intro) - via the Tribune:
A March trade show expected to bring 60,000 people to Chicago’s McCormick Place — as well as the city’s hotels and restaurants — has been canceled amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The International Housewares Association on Monday announced the decision to cancel the annual trade-only event, The Inspired Home Show, which was scheduled for March 14-17 and was expected to attract 2,200 exhibitors from 45 countries. The show was expected to bring $77 million in spending to Chicago, including on hotels, restaurants, transportation and entertainment, said association spokesman Leana Salamah.
It is the first major trade show in Chicago to be canceled as reports of coronavirus cases spread around the U.S. Virus concerns also have canceled industry events in Denver and Houston, as large companies opt out of even domestic events.
It was estimated the Inspired Home Show was responsible for 47,155 hotel room nights that would have been used during the show, McCormick Place spokeswoman Cynthia McCafferty said.

The story for the Sloop is that this type of development impacts our local businesses and prevents them from getting people in the door. 

Hopefully it's a short term thing, but the uncertainty and fear around the virus is impacting many many things.

Monday, March 2, 2020

South Loop Elementary Walks Back Change to Food Policy Intended to Prevent Exposure to Cannabis

This is a head scratcher of a story, but seems like it's been rectified (via CBS Chicago):


What about kids with allergies who can't have all store bought foods?  Seems like the policy has been walked back substantially (if not completely) but seems like a big "whoops".

Friday, February 28, 2020

Union Station Powerhouse Lands on Chicago's Most Endangered Building List Again

Again a big South Loop building lands on  the “Chicago 7”—a list of seven significant buildings, pieces of infrastructure, parks, or public artworks that the city’s leading nonprofit historic preservation group, Preservation Chicago, considers most endangered (via Curbed):
3. Union Station Powerhouse
301 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
The iconic twin-smokestack structure along the south branch of the Chicago River was designed in the Art Moderne style by the architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. The difficult-to-reach building hasn’t generated power since 2011, and owner Amtrak is looking at demolishing the structure and putting a maintenance shed in its place. Despite the many challenges associated with the site, preservationists are hoping to see the power house saved and converted to a new use—like a data center or cooling plant. The building also appeared on Preservation Chicago’s 2017 list.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

My Gym Coming to 1333 S. Wabash Retail Space

Looks like My Gym is coming to the Sloop - kids and families rejoice:

We've been to the My Gym in Lincoln Park and it's a nice place and will be a nice addition to the Sloop.

For those who aren't familiar the 1333 S. Wabash space was where the Cycmode resided for a bit.  They closed in the fall of last year. 

We imagine the space is nice given that the building is very new.  Best of luck to My Gym and welcome to the neighborhood.

(Hat tip: NS!) 

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Look Inside the New Walgreens' Office Space at the Old Post Office

First peek at Walgreens' new work space at the Old Post Office looks.....blah according to these three pictures (via REjournals):



The mural is sort of cool (?!?!?!) but the work space looks like every other open space trend permeating throughout corporate America.

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Sloop Registers a +7 Net New Businesses in 2019

We wanted to confirm that we registered a +7 net new businesses for the Sloop in 2019.
  1. Kido (Roosevelt Collection)
  2. Elite Eye Care (555 S. Dearborn)
  3. Grant Park Bistro (800 S. Michigan)
  4. Bob's Furniture (Roosevelt and 90/94) 
  5. Kids Wonderland Play & Party (2028 S. Michigan)
  6. SX Sky Bar (808 S. Michigan)
  7. South Asia Institute (1925 S. Michigan)
  8. 9 Round (777 S. State)
  9. Sumi Japanese Restaurant (1303 S. Michigan)
  10. Mei's Asian Small Plates & Dumplings (1101 S. Wabash) 
  11. Totto's Market (751 S. Dearborn)
  12. Giglio's (825 S. State)
  13. Harold's #88 Chicken Shack (1450 S. Michigan)
  14. Lips (2229 S. Michigan)
  15. Il Culaccio (2134 S. Indiana Ave)
  16. Molly's Cupcakes (1150 S. Wabash)
  17. GoGrocer (1401 S. Michigan)
  18. Dentart (2106 S. Michigan)
  19. Pacino's Classic Italian (1010 S. Delano Ct.)
  20. Sultry Steps (1112 S. Delano Ct.)
  21. Jet's Pizza (1140 S. Wabash)
  22. Chipotle (1136 S. Wabash)
  23. Urban Hair (2132 S. Michigan)
Closed or Moved Out of the Sloop in 2019
  1. Z Gallerie (Roosevelt Collection)
  2. Bongo Room (1152 S. Wabash)
  3. The Lobo Cantina (1307 S. Wabash)
  4. Vice District Brewing (1454 S. Michigan)
  5. Wabash Tap (1233 S. Wabash)
  6. Bella Bronze Tan (1503 S. Michigan)
  7. Mai Tai (614 S. Wabash)
  8. Chicago Bicycle Company (728 S. Dearborn)
  9. HAX Hops & Hamburgers (733 S. Dearborn St.)
  10. Cycmode (1333 S. Wabash)
  11. Fruve (1130 S. Wabash)
  12. The Nail Social (73 E. 16th)
  13. 14 Parish (2223 S. Michigan)
  14. White House Black Market (1112 S. Delano Ct)
  15. Mac Kelly's (1347 S. Michigan)
  16. Hair Cuttery (1103 S. State

Friday, February 21, 2020

Caribbean Jerk Palace Looks to Be Moving Into Former Hax Space in Printers Row

A reader writes:
Hello, I noticed this public notice on Hax old main door. Great food, I've had their other locations food. Cant wait. 

We're not familiar with the restaurant but found this on their website:
From the heart of Owner Reno to the heart of Chicago.  Caribbean Jerk Palce serves Jamaican Cuisine that is filled with love and legendary flavor.
"It all started in my Grand Mother's kitchen who made Jamaican food and American Food a staple in our house. Watching her work and seeing the smiles and satisfaction of those who tasted the fruit of her labor. That gave me the dream to someday see her recipes bring smiles and satisfaction to more and more people. My dream became a reality in 2014 when we opened our first Caribbean Jerk Palace Chicago Restaurant."
Here we don't just serve food, we make you part of our family!
Mr. Reno
As a reminder Hax closed in October 2019 and it was uncertain what would come next.  Looks like a Jerk restaurant is coming to 733 S. Dearborn. 

Still don't know if Gordo's will reopen.  One hint on their Facebook page was a walk thru video that showed the door between the two restaurants boarded up - so maybe?

(Hat tip:  IM!)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

What is ISAP at 2245 S. Michigan?

A reader writes:
I passed by this office a few times (2245 S. Michigan) this week and they I just saw this posting in the window. 
Any idea what they do there?  The office is ALWAYS packed full of people. 
Just curious if you all know of or have heard anything about what they do here.  
Any information would be greatly appreciated. 

We did some searching on the interwebs, but have no clue what this.  Anyone?

(Hat tip: LC!)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

All-Star Anthony Davis & Second Presbyterian Church's Blue Gym

All-Star weekend is gone, but some of the stories coming out of the weekend are still trickling out.  While the Sloop wasn't the main destination for the festivities, there were a number of connections to the neighborhood.

The new Wintrust Arena played host to the celebrity game on Friday night.  The weekend also prominently featured Chance the Rapper - a talented musician who went to Jones College Prep and we've written about a bunch (all the way back in 2013).  Another muscian - Common - introduced all the All-Stars on Sunday and held real estate in the Sloop.

More related to the actual All-Star game is Chicago's role in producing talented basketball players.  Homegrown boy Dwayne Wade certainly got some love and naturally so did Michael Jordan (although he's not from Chicago...he gets linked to the city for OBVIOUS reasons).

Another major star who is actually still playing in the league is Anthony Davis.  Besides hitting the game winning free throw on Sunday night, we noticed a fun little read about where his basketball career sprouted - the Sloop at Perspectives Charter School (via Medill Reports): 
Anthony Davis’ basketball career began in a florescent blue gym, on the third floor of the all-stone, Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.
The church, a Gothic age creation that was rebuilt after the fire of 1900, boasts nine Tiffany windows and was named a Chicago Landmark in Sept. 1977 and a National Historic Landmark in March 2013.
A gorgeous church. A subpar basketball facility.
During that time 10 years ago, Davis was an unknown product, playing for an unknown school, staring into an unknown future. Just another teenager, ascending three-dozen winding steps to reach the dusty court that was closer to 64 feet in length than the regulation 94 feet.
Coming from the city which has produced players such as Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade — stars who frequently are found in powerhouses like Simeon or Whitney Young.
Never before had Perspectives Charter Schools — a school so small it didn’t even have its own basketball court — had an elite athlete.
Davis attended the school’s Joslin campus, on the corner of Archer and State, and remembers the days of walking two blocks over to the aforementioned church with his teammates for practice.

We knew about Anthony Davis coming out of the Sloop (see story from 2012), but we had no idea that there was a basketball court at the church.  Pretty cool story. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Akhirah's Moving to Pilsen at the End of March?

A reader writes:
I’m devastated to learn from the staff that Akhirah’s Praline Candy store at 1845 South State Street will be moving out of South Loop and to the Pilsen area.
Such a great little coffee shop with so much more than Pralines …  wonderful French Roast coffee, chicory coffee, beignets, and delightful mini sized desserts.  My heart is breaking!!  This sad news seems to be “word of mouth”  as I don’t see it on their Facebook page.

For those who aren't familiar Akhirah's opened in 2016 at 1845 S. State.  There was a point when they were going to close down, but apparently that didn't happen. 

Maybe they're moving now?  We shall see.

(Hat tip:  MW!)

Friday, February 14, 2020

NBA All-Star Weekend = Poop on the Streets?

A reader writes to the 3rd Ward Alderman Team:
For some reasons, all the trash cans on the street corners in our neighborhood have disappeared. They were collected by what I think was a Streets and Sanitation truck a day or so ago. What is going on? Are we getting these trash cans back? Obviously, our neighborhood needs trash cans. It is especially important for dog owners like ourselves who need to dispose of pet waste. Unfortunately, if these trash cans are not returned, I fear that trash, including pet-waste bags, is going to be thrown on the ground, and nobody wants that. Can you please let us know what is going on and when we can expect to see the trash cans back?

Response:
Thank you for your email.  As you know, the NBA All Star Weekend is upon us and Wintrust Arena is one of the main venues for the weekend activities.  Celebrities, national and local government and elected officials, and NBA officials and athletes are attending and the City is responsible for securing the area.  The trash cans were removed as a precaution to insure the safety of all visitors and residents of the area.  The cans will be returned to their locations at the end of the weekend.  
The 3rd Ward Team

We haven't heard of trash cans being removed before, but we did post about Mail Boxes being removed due to protests or sealed up for Lollapalooza:

Understand security measures taken for high-profile attendees (sounds like Obama is going to be in the city), but wonder how they will feel about poop bombs on the street.  Watch where you're walking.

(Hat tip:  AB!)

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The 78 To Kick-off Construction of First Phase Within a Year

Sounds like The 78 is getting another step closer to actually breaking ground on buildings (via Chicago Tribune):
The 78 megadevelopment along the Chicago River in the South Loop will start construction in the next year with a nearly 3 million-square-foot first phase that will include apartments, student housing, retail space and a long-discussed University of Illinois-led innovation center.
Related Midwest, the developer behind the $7 billion riverfront project, on Wednesday confirmed details of the first phase of the 62-acre project that will eventually stretch from the South Loop to Chinatown and bring as many as 10,000 homes to the new neighborhood.
The U. of I.-led Discovery Partners Institute has signed a letter of intent to begin building its research facility within the next 12 months on land donated by Related Midwest. Other buildings will be under construction within the next year.

The article really focuses on the Discovery Partners Institute being the initial catalyst.  Not shocking as it's a tenant to build around.  That said, at some point you have to take the "if you build it they will come" mentality and it sounds like we're almost to that point.

The other interesting (and unsurprising) point to us was where they will be starting:
The more than $2 billion first phase also will include 1.5 million square feet of loft-style and high-rise office space; 700,000 square feet of apartments and student housing; and 100,000 square feet of fitness, retail, hotel, restaurant, retail and cultural space. Related said it plans to complete the first phase, mostly at the north end of the site, by 2024.
It's a big site so guess it makes sense to start further north where there is more action and closer proximity to downtown.  That said...how are they dealing with the extra traffic?  Roosevelt can be such a pain - this only seems to be exacerbating the problem.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Tejas Yoga Moving to 1345 S. Michigan

Tejas Yoga is moving:

This yoga studio is a favorite in the Sloop and nice to seem them moving into some new digs.  For reference they're currently at 1300 S. Wabash on the second floor above BMO Harris bank and the former Subway.

Best of luck!

(Hat tip: MP!)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Israel Idonije Opens RSTR Gym at 1325 S. Michigan

It looks like a new gym owned by former Bear Israel Idonije has opened a new gym called RSTR at 1325 South Michigan Avenue. 

So what is this?  According to their website:
WE ARE RSTR (re•store)
We believed that a commitment to health and wellness is the most important investment you can make in yourself. Everyone's Journey towards achieving the best version of themselves Physically and Emotionally is different. When it comes to RESTORING self, some lift, some run, others meditate, massage and the list goes on.  We believe every individual's journey of TRANSFORMATION begins with a Restoration plan.

Of interest we've been told that "Israel is currently teaching classes Monday to Friday as well as on Saturdays."

So there you have it.

(Hat tip:  TM!)

Monday, February 10, 2020

Lao Sze Chuan Another Popular Chinatown Restaurant Expanding North into the Sloop

Wow another Chinatown restaurant making its way north into the Sloop:

Lao Sze Chuan is a popular, Chinatown staple that we love but moving into this location seems strange to us.  Its had challenges keeping tenants (Mai Tai closed at this location last year) and isn't a strip known for restaurants.

All that said, Lao Sze Chuan has had numerous locations throughout the city - so the move isn't completely a shock.  As of now they have Chinatown and another location up in Uptown.  There was also a location on the Mag Mile for a little bit, but that appears to have close.

More interesting to us is that this is the third Chinatown restaurant spill north into the Sloop.  Ming Hin opened a huge, sparkling two story restaurant at 1234 S. Michigan and just two weeks we posted about My Place opening in the former Lobo Canteen restaurant at 1307 S. Wabash.

(Hat tip: MM!)

Friday, February 7, 2020

Xiang Hot Pot Looks to Be Coming Soon to 2201 S. Michigan


According to Eater Chicago:
Chinese hot pot chains are snapping up locations across the U.S. — and locally in Chicago — and now a New York-based company is leaping into the fray. Xiang Hot Pot, which operates locations in Brooklyn and Queens, is “coming soon” to the South Loop, according to its website.
Hot pot devotees should be able to try a selection of classic and non-traditional ingredients at the new Chicago location. And the company’s signature gimmick — edible teddy bears made with mala soup and butter that dissolves (slowly, it seems) into steaming broth — could be available too. Reps have not yet responded to a request for more information.
Xiang Hot Pot is slated to open in the space above S.K.Y. chef Stephen Gillanders’s forthcoming restaurant Apolonia inside a Hilton Hotel, he said. The building at 2201 S. Michigan Avenue, near Wintrust Arena and McCormick Place, also houses the second Fatpour Tap Works, a Starbucks, and VU Rooftop Bar.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Pier 1 Imports is Officially Closed at 1014 S. Canal

Just to close this one out, Pier 1 Imports is officially closed at 1014 S. Canal.

We posted about this back in early January and snapped the pic below. It is completely empty and all signage is removed:

Our 2020 business counter is updated with this closure.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Chicago Tribune Food Critic Suspects Moody Tongue is Going to Get a Michelin Star

So it sounds like Moody Tongue is a winner (via Chicago Tribune):
The only brewpub in America with Michelin-star recognition is Band of Bohemia. I strongly suspect that, in the next Michelin Chicago Guide, the Ravenswood restaurant will have company.
Moody Tongue, in its spacious new South Loop digs, combines a serious, large-scale brewing program with the cuisine of chef Jared Wentworth, who, through his stellar work at Longman & Eagle and Dusek’s Board & Beer, has had considerable success in capturing the Michelin Man’s attention.

The review goes into deep detail and likely will leave your jaw dropped:
Wentworth offers two menus at Moody Tongue. There’s a 12-course tasting, priced at $155 (which includes beer pairings), and an a la carte menu. My guess is that most people will pick a la carte, especially the first time out, so I’ll start there.
The menu reads simply — few terms will induce head-scratching — but the dishes are executed with precision and uncommonly pretty presentation. Grilled octopus arrives as five medallions dabbed with saffron-lemon aioli, arranged in a slight curve on a bed of slow-simmered eggplant and chickpeas, and chunks of morcilla sausage. Beet tartare is magazine-cover pretty, a tall disk of smoked beet topped with spruce-infused ricotta, gelled egg yolk and mustard seed.
Celery root rotollini features pasta rolled tall and filled
with celery root and ricotta. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Bread plays a large role in both menus; Wentworth is playing off the beer-is-liquid-bread saying. Crusty, toasted sourdough plays nicely with that smoky beet tartare; chicken liver mousse is paired with a yummy pecan toast. And the mussels, mentioned previously, are matched to wide slices of toasted baguette smeared with black-garlic aioli.
I’m particularly fond of the rotollini, contributed by sous chef Emily Phillips. The pasta pieces are like oversized tortellini, rolled tall and filled with celery root and ricotta. Brown-butter solids are scattered at the base, while Parmesan foam and slivers of black truffle sit on top.
Main courses include an exceptional dry-aged pork chop with pears, cabrales cheese and fennel conserva, and an imaginative bouillabaisse with prawns, mussels, striped bass, and a scallop-mousse and king crab cannelloni. What’s rapidly becoming a signature entree is the skillet-fried chicken with black-truffle cavatelli; it’s a good chicken, but it didn’t curl my toes the way the pork and bouillabaisse did.
The tasting menu gets off to a rousing start with a trio of single bites: A puffy gougere topped with smoked-bass mousseline and arctic-char roe, an oyster with kalamansi vinaigrette and a tall samosa of butter-crisped phyllo filled with ground lamb, topped with a dab of yogurt and finger lime.
In rapid succession come chawanmushi topped with lobster and shaved truffle, and a fanciful nigiri of madai (sea bream) draped with lardo and topped with sea urchin, wrapped in braised kombu (in lieu of nori).

And look at the beers - this looks like fun, can't wait to try this place:


Monday, February 3, 2020

Opart Thai Houses License Appears to Be Revoked

We received various emails from readers pondering if this is true:

Unfortunately we first heard about this on Thursday and as of Sunday no one was picking up the phone at Opart Thai (1906 S. State).

Opart Thai House has been a popular restaurant in the Sloop for awhile and is one of our favorite curries in Chicago.  Hope they get this sorted out soon.

(Hat tip: KM, MG, AR!)

Friday, January 31, 2020

My Place Looks to be Moving in to Former Lobo Ray Space at

A reader writes:
I also wanted to let you know that a new sign went up at the former Lobo Canteen on Wabash yesterday (Tuesday, Jan. 28). I snapped a picture while hurrying to the train, so it's not useable, but I wanted to share it with you for the info it includes. It reads:
MY Place
Authentic Chinese Cuisine and Seafood
We saw people (presumably workers) in the space last Monday night (Jan. 20) from across the street when we were leaving dinner at Flo and Santo's.

We then got this from another reader which goes into the concept (via LTH Forum):
Exterior signage for Myplace is up at the former Lobo Ray space on Wabash. A quick scan of the interwebs shows that the restaurant was formerly located in Chinatown; its original incarnation focused on noodle/casserole/congee dishes + the usual bubble tea and smoothie assortment. Smart move to hightail it up north a few blocks: the neighborhood needs this sort of place, and they'll have no competition. (Ming Hin, which also just opened in the neighborhood, is going for something much, well, louder.)

As a reminder, this spot once housed Zapatista but that closed in 2015 after a good run.  After that Lobo Ray - an upscale, trendy taco spot took over in 2017, but had struggles and closed in 2019.  Will be curious to see how My Place does given that their is another Asian restaurant (Asian Outpost) next door. 

Interesting that another Chinatown restaurant is moving into the Sloop.  Seems to be a trend with MingHin moving in at 1234 S. Michigan.

(Hat tip:  MY & CF!)

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Apolonia Restaurant - from the Chef of S.K.Y. in Pilsen - Coming to Corner of Michigan and Cermak

A reader sent us this link and sounds like a huge get for Motor Row Entertainment District (via LTH Forum):
Chef Stephen Gillanders, owner of acclaimed S.K.Y. restaurant in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, introduces the launch of a unique new concept slated to open this fall. Apolonia, named after Gillanders’ grandmother, will be located in South Loop and feature European-Mediterranean fare with an emphasis on seafood. The bright, 100-seat space will evoke a contemporary, approachable atmosphere, and offer Chef Gillanders' signature shared-plate, social dining experience.
"I'm excited to show how much range we have as a team. Apolonia will differ completely from S.K.Y. conceptually, however, we will carry with us the things that have worked so well for us operationally: service, technical execution, creativity and culture. The idea is to provide a completely new experience to our guests, rooted with the same principles we have grown into and executed with the same precision we are known for,” Gillanders explains.
The space is located at 2201 S. Michigan Ave. and will offer dinner service five days a week with plans to expand into weekend brunch and eventually lunch. According to Gillanders, "The South Loop area is beautiful and growing and absolutely ready for a restaurant such as Apolonia."

We've heard of S.K.Y. but have never been.  Doing some googling and it looks like it's killing it in Pilsen - 4.5 stars on Yelp, positive write-ups in Chicago Tribune, recognition from the Jean Blanchet Awards.

While the corner of Michigan and Cermak hasn't historically been a coveted spot, the vision and potential has always been there.  This is another MAJOR step in the right direction for this area and in our opinion is probably the biggest indicator of a potential tipping point.  If this restaurant can thrive it could easily spawn the entertainment district the city has been coveting for some time.

(Hat tip:  CF!)

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Recreational Dispensary Scouts Out Locations In and Near the Sloop

Looks like a new business on Wabash could change how people experience the Wabash Arts Corridor (via Block Club):
As cannabis companies race to open new dispensaries in Chicago’s lucrative retail corridors, the field has now been expanded to the South Loop.
PharmaCann, which is currently permitted to open four recreational dispensaries in Chicago — including two in the lucrative Central Cannabis District — is eyeing two locations along South Wabash Avenue in and near the South Loop, according to documents filed with the city.
Those locations include a one-story building at 418 S. Wabash Ave. across the street from Roosevelt University on the south end of the Loop. The building rents for $225,000 per year, according to commercial real estate brokerage Sperry Van Ness.
The company is also looking at a retail space below the Fairbanks Lofts at 900 S. Wabash Ave. on the Columbia College campus in the South Loop.

To be clear the 418 S. Wabash location is north of Ida B Wells (formerly Congress) and we would argue is more "Loop" than "South Loop" - but it's still damn close.  Here is a look at that building:

What is definitely in the Sloop is the 900 S. Wabash location:

This location has never had a long term tenant since we've been doing Sloopin (over 12 years).  That said, it has a myriad of pop-up stores - things like seasonal Halloween store and pop-up stores from artists and Nike (in 2014).

While the space at 900 S. Wabash is pretty dated, it's a good location and has a lot of "character".  It would probably make a great spot for a weed shop given it's proximity to many colleges and central location within the neighborhood.

The article surely doesn't seem to say it's a slam dunk, but this is the first concrete story we've read about a dispensary coming to the South Loop.

(Hat tip:  DS!)