Friday, December 4, 2020

Celebrate Chanukah with a Parade on December 15th

If you're looking to celebrate Chanukah - two events to consider.

First up is a drive-in (link here):

Or maybe a parade is more your style (you can register your car at this link).

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Renowned Restaurant Acadia Faces Uncertainty as Owner/Head Chef Ryan McCaskey Continues to Face Serious Allegations of Fostering a Toxic Work Environment

The Chicago Tribune has an update regarding the serious allegations directed at Ryan McCaskey - the owner and head chef at the renowned Michelin two-starred South Loop restaurant Acadia (1639 S. Wabash):

After the last guests had left on a Sunday evening in March 2018, employees at Acadia pushed the tables and chairs aside in the restaurant’s private dining room and began unrolling sheets of plastic across the floor. A going-away party was planned for that Monday.

According to text messages shared with the Tribune, Ryan McCaskey, Acadia’s chef and owner, promised employees that the party would be an “extra naughty” affair. He said he would supply dollar bills to tip the strippers.

“He pretty much made it mandatory,” said Brendan Smith, a former Acadia cook who said he felt pressured to commute in from the suburbs on his day off to attend the party and a dinner beforehand.

That drizzly Monday night, about 15 people — Acadia staff, their friends and significant others — filed into the private dining room at one of just four Chicago restaurants to have earned at least two Michelin stars. From chairs usually occupied by customers spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars for an evening of food, wine and cocktails, McCaskey’s guests watched a raucous evening unfold.

The two performers quickly became naked and encouraged onlookers to use sex toys on them, people in attendance said. McCaskey was an eager participant, some in attendance said, licking whipped cream from the genital region of one of the performers. According to attendees, McCaskey encouraged others to become involved and chided those who did not participate, including calling Smith a homophobic term for declining to take a turn.

In an interview in September with the Tribune, McCaskey acknowledged hosting the going-away party in Acadia’s private dining room — he called it “a bad judgment decision” — and hiring the strippers to perform. He also confirmed licking whipped cream from the performer’s body.

The article continues to paint a damning picture of the work environment at Acadia.  McCaskey has attempted to brush away the stories and accusations, but it's hard to know what the path forward is for him and his restaurant.

Covid-19 has provided rationale and time for him to close up shop while he sorts these things out.  It seems like it is unlikely that he will reopen the restaurant - but hasn't confirmed one way or the other.  

Is a Conversion to Rentals the Answer to Save 1000M Development on Michigan Avenue?

An update on the 1000M development (via Chicago Tribune):

The biggest Chicago skyscraper to have construction halted by the coronavirus pandemic could be revived in 2021 — as apartments instead of condos.

Unit layouts are being redesigned at 1000M, the Helmut Jahn-designed condo tower on South Michigan Avenue, in an effort to refinance the project and resume construction next year, “primarily as a rental project.”

“The exterior of the building would remain substantially as previously approved,” Francis Greenburger, chairman and CEO of New York-based Time Equities, added in an emailed statement. “Our hope would be to commence construction next year, but this will depend on economic conditions and the availability of financing.”

As a reminder, construction was officially paused in the Summer (see post here) given financing challenges.  At the time it was unclear what the path forward was - especially given all the uncertainties with Covid-19. 

Regardless, the pivot to rental seems like the latest effort to not lose out on this high-rise.  It seems like there are a lot of hurdles to clear for this one - so we will see what comes next.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Shooting Early Monday Morning at 8th and Wabash Parking Garage

 Scary scene at 8th and Wabash parking garage (via Chicago Tribune):

A 16-year-old boy died after he was shot twice in the face while sitting in a parked car in a South Loop parking garage early Monday, according to Chicago police.

The boy was in the passenger seat of the car in the 800 block of South Wabash Avenue when two people wearing black ski masks got out of a black car and fired at the boy, the driver of the car told police.

Monday, November 30, 2020

F45 Open at 1322 S. Michigan

A reader writes:

Saw your business counter (pending)— F45 at 1322 S Michigan is open. Not sure exactly when it opened but it’s been open for a few months I believe. I live across the street.

Good to hear!  We've updated accordingly.

(Hat tip:  LV!) 

CTA Holiday Train and Bus Schedule Announced with Some Covid-19 Altercations

 We hope everyone had a safe and festive Thanksgiving.  With the holidays officially here, it looks like the CTA will be doing their annual Holiday Train and Bus despite Covid-19.  That said, they will be making some (warranted) adjustments:


In 2020, the CTA Holiday Train will travel out-of-service, meaning that customers will not be able to board the train. The train will travel all eight rail lines beginning Friday, November 27 (the day after Thanksgiving) through Monday, December 21

In order to help avoid crowding at stations and on platforms, look for the CTA Holiday Train during afternoons on the dates and rail lines listed below (via CTA website ; bolded and highlighted trains that come through the Sloop:

  • Green Line: November 27-28, December 1
  • Brown Line: December 2-5
  • Orange Line: December 2-5
  • Red Line: December 8, 10 and 12
  • Purple Line: December 9, 11 and 12
  • Pink Line: December 15, 16 and 19
  • Blue Line: December 17-19
  • Yellow Line: December 21

For the bus schedule you can click here.

While not a normal activation this year, it's nice to see them trying to keep the tradition going.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy (Covid-19) Thanksgiving!

 It's a strange year, but thankful for all of those that keep us safe:

Be well and we hope you're having a nice and safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Panera Closes Prominent Location at State and Ida B. Wells (501 S. State)

A reader sent us this pic and it looks like a high-profile retail spot is open as Panera at State and Ida B. Wells looks to have closed:

We have updated our running total of business openings and closing.  Despite Covid-19, the Sloop has seen a net of 4 new retail businesses open up in 2020 (according to our count).  This is surprising to us, but good to see entrepreneurs and businesses giving it a go.

(Hat tip:  LA & Mr. South Loop!)

Monday, November 23, 2020

What's Open & Closed This Thanksgiving in the Sloop?

We all know Thanksgiving is going to be different this year.  If you're like us, you'll be staying in the Sloop and keeping it low key.  With that said, maybe you want to takeout from one of our fine local restaurants.  

The great Insta account - Mr. South Loop - has organized a handy resource telling you what is open, closed and having specials this thanksgiving:

Friday, November 20, 2020

Paisans Pizzeria Officially Open at 700 S. Clark

We received the following email and pic from a reader:

Got a flyer in the mailbox Thursday afternoon from the apparently recently-opened South Loop Paisans Pizzeria and had a large thin crust delivered just hours later.  

What was I supposed to do - NOT order "The Best Pizza in the World"? (according to the flyer!)

Pleased to say the pizza was indeed pretty excellent - can't wait to give the extra thin a try next time!

We recently walked by the location and it looks nice.  They also have a banner on the window saying "now open":

In case you missed it we posted about this back in December of 2019.  This isn't the first location of Paisans Pizza so they know what they're doing.  However, the Sloop and Printers Row is jammed packed with pizza options so should be curious to see how they do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Two People Charged in "Chalking" Altercation at Park a Couple Weeks Back

Looks like some legal progress on the altercation at the park from a couple weeks back (via Chicago Tribune):

Alexis Hadac - Woman Attacked in Election Day Altercation

A Chicago woman and man are facing misdemeanor charges for a post-Election Day scuffle captured on video that erupted in a South Side park over chalk markings scribbled on pavement that included “Biden 2020” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Lorena Petani, 64, and Lucio Zapata, 21, were charged with battery over the weekend for the Nov. 4 incident at Chicago Women’s Park and Garden, Chicago police confirmed Tuesday.

The defendants, both of the 300 block of East Cullerton Street, are due in court early next month. Neither could be reached for comment Tuesday.

Alexis Hadac, a 19-year-old college student who filmed the melee, told the Tribune she and her friend, working as nannies, were attacked early that afternoon while having a play date with two children who were in their care in the park at 1801 S. Indiana Ave. The children, both under 4, were not injured.

Hadac said they were blowing bubbles with the children and playing with pieces of chalk that someone else had left behind in the park on the unseasonably warm afternoon when an unidentified, older woman later identified as Petani accused them of vandalism.

(Hat tip: PB!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Million's Crab Appears To Be Coming Soon to 1329 S. Michigan

ANOTHER seafood broil spot appears destined for the Sloop.  This one is a rapidly expanding chain (apparently) called Million's Crab that has locations across many states.  The Sloop location appears to be coming in at 1329 S. Michigan which is the space that housed Succezz urban apparel (but moved down to 2214 S. Michigan back in 2018.

The reason why we emphasized another at the start of this post is that we've seen two other seafood broil spots pop up in the Sloop.  The first was Low Country (1132 S. Wabash) and the second was Asian Cajun further south in the neighborhood (2115 S. State).  Asian Cajun didn't last long and has closed their doors.

Regardless, it seems like people can't get enough of this so we will be curious to see how Million's Crab does in the Sloop.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Shooting This Weekend at Portillo's in the Sloop Started With a Horn Honk

Geez - be safe and smart out there.  When tensions rise, try to stay calm (via CWB Chicago):

An argument that started when one car’s driver honked at another in a restaurant drive-thru ended with a shooting Friday night in the South Loop, according to police and witnesses.

The 16-year-old male victim got out of his car when the driver of a black Jeep behind him honked his horn at Portillo’s, 520 West Taylor, shortly after 11 p.m. The Jeep’s driver also got out, and both men began fighting until the Jeep’s driver pulled out a gun and shot the teen in his leg, according to CPD.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Beauty Bar Chain - Clean Your Dirty Face - Moves in at 1347 S. Michigan

Nice to see businesses still moving into the Sloop.  Beauty bar chain 'Clean Your Dirty Face' looks to have an interesting brand and should inject some fun/life into this stretch of Michigan:

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Ghost Kitchen - South Loop Food Company - Opens Up Shop at 2357 S. Wabash

We've heard a lot about Ghost Kitchens and we recently saw a press release about Red Lobster opening one in the Sloop:

Red Lobster® today announced the opening of its first ghost kitchen, located in South Loop Chicago, marking the first time Chicagoans living in the The Loop, Downtown Chicago, River North, Illinois Institute of Technology, Prairie District and Near South Side are able to enjoy America's favorite seafood restaurant delivered to their doors. The ghost kitchen will be a delivery-only location, serving craveable classics via Red Lobster's third-party delivery partners* – including Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates.

The ghost kitchen, which has emerged as one of the restaurant industry's fastest growing trends, enables Red Lobster to evolve its off-premise capabilities, including touchless delivery, and efficiently expand its presence in urban areas in the U.S. and around the world. The delivery-only restaurant model reflects Red Lobster's investment in innovation and technology to keep up with the rapidly growing consumer demand for food delivery.

So Ghost Kitchens - interesting concept right?

Upon some more investigation we see that a new business called "South Loop Food Company" at 2357 S. Wabash is home to this new trend:

Now that clearly is a rendering and likely the vision for this ghost kitchen, but if you look at their website they have over 30 restaurants operating out of this kitchen.  The options are all over the board - Seafood, Fusion, Fast Casual, Healthy, and Sweets.  

It's debatable whether or not this in the Sloop - we view it just south of the South Loop - but clearly it's intended to serve the neighborhood and all surrounding neighborhoods.  

It's a super interesting concept and one that seems well positioned for future success.  Has anyone used them yet?

Friday, November 6, 2020

Teens in Altercation with Woman After Chalking ‘Biden 2020’ at Women's Park

An unfortunate altercation looks like it took place recently at (Chicago Women’s Park & Garden, 1801 S. Indiana Ave).  A article and video provide some insight into the politically charged altercation and you can read/view it yourself here on Block Club Chicago.

Tensions are high and sad to see this happen.  We did want to bring some attention to an event scheduled tomorrow to showcase community unity and tolerance:

Scott Monaghan, one of the moderators of the Facebook group South Loop Community Public Safety, said he was horrified to hear this happened in such a family-friendly neighborhood, and at a park where he regularly takes his own child.

Monaghan decided to host a community sidewalk party 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the park to show support for Hadac and make it known the community welcomes diversity and freedom of expression. 

Hopefully some good can come out of this ugly incident. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

State Legislature Allocates $50 Million for High-School Aimed at Sloop, Chinatown and Bridgeport

 A new article talking about a high-school for the Sloop and other neighborhoods (via Gazette):

The Illinois General Assembly earlier this year set aside $50 million in its capital budget to construct a new high school in the Near South area to service Chinatown, Bridgeport, and South Loop. 

“I was really pleased that it did make it into our capital budget,” said Representative Theresa Mah (D-2nd), who proposed the appropriation. She noted Chicago Public Schools (CPS) administration “is on board, and we will be starting the process of planning for the high school with robust community engagement. The origin of this project comes from the desire from the community to have a high school.

“There are a number of leaders in the Chinatown community—leaders and organizations—that have been involved over the years,” Mah continued, citing David Wu, Pui Tak Center executive director, and the Coalition for a Better Chinese-American Community (CBCAC) as local stakeholders who have helped realize the vision for a high school. 

Mah stated she has not heard of any opposition to the high school from constituents or other stakeholders. “I would be surprised, just because there’s been years and years of activism around this,” she said, noting that, when CPS tried to convert the National Teachers Academy into a high school, “there was opposition to the conversion.” CPS abandoned the effort after a court injunction halted it. 

The article doesn't provide a ton of additional info on timetables or next steps, but good to see this news.  Where the highschool would be located is also uncertain but given that it's intended to serve Chinatown and Bridgeport as well we assume it might be outside of the traditional Sloop boundaries or maybe towards the southern edge.


Monday, November 2, 2020

Restaurants Gear Up for a Challenging Winter as Covid-19 Cases Increase & New Rules Are Implemented for Public Safety

We know winter is upon us and with rising Covid-19 cases in and around Chicago we all are preparing to move indoor.  With that in mind, the state has put in place new measures to mitigate spread of the virus and that impacts indoor dining/drinking.

It's a tough move that no doubt has drawn criticism from restaurant owners and others.  As we look around the Sloop, some restaurants are uniquely positioned to offer outdoor dining.  Places like Flo & Santos, Chicago Firehouse and Roots Pizza have amble outdoor space and seem able to offer outdoor dining (although it's not without challenges and uncertainties).

We noticed Sofi - the Italian Restaurant on Dearborn in Printers Row - has constructed tents on the sidewalk with heaters inside:

We applaud these businesses for trying to soldier on through these difficult times.  

As residents in the Sloop, we highly encourage everyone to try your best to support these businesses.  Even if it doesn't mean eating at the restaurant outside, takeout & gift certificates will go a long way.

Stay safe and support our local business and restaurants!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Everest - Michelin Starred Restaurant at 425 S. Financial - to Close at Year's End After Three Decade Run

It looks like one of the neighborhood's top restaurants is closing at years end (via Tribune):

 After more than three decades as one of Chicago’s peak dining experiences, Everest is stepping down. The four-star restaurant will serve its last meal on New Year’s Eve.

“Many times in life, you have to know when it’s time for something to end,” said chef/proprietor Jean Joho. “It feels good, after all this time, to close.”

This year has seen a number of high-profile Chicago restaurants announce their departure. But in the case of Everest, Joho said, the coronavirus pandemic was not a factor.

“It’s all about the lease,” he said. “The lease was up, and I was in negotiations way before COVID. But the building didn’t want to renew the lease. I’ve known for a while we would close — I knew before COVID — but then COVID came and I didn’t want to close then, I wanted to wait. I wanted to be open for my customers, my staff.”

While it's debatable if this is really a "Sloop restaurant", it is certainly close to the neighborhood and one that has stood the test of time.  We never actually went to this restaurant (French cuisine isn't really our thing), but it was one we kept our eye on.

It's sad to see them close up shop, but it sounds like it was just a matter of time.  Couple this news with the uncertainty of Michelin starred Acadia on south Wabash and the Sloop's fine dinning scene has taken a big hit.  That said, it seems like fine dinning is of small concern in the era of Covid-19, but something tells us that on the other side of the pandemic these ones will hurt.  

Regardless, congrats to Chef Joho on an amazing run (35 years!!!) and best of luck in your next chapter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Nema Chicago Officially Done with Completion of "Skyline Collection" Floors

Judging by an article we just read on the website Chicago Architecture, Nema Chicago (1200 S. Indiana) is officially completed now that the "upper tier" of residences have been finished:

Miami developer Crescent Heights announced recently that the skyscraper designed by Rafael Viñoly at 1200 South Indiana Avenue is officially complete, including its “Skyline Collection.”  

A number of Chicago skyscrapers, like One Bennett Park, Aqua, and the former John Hancock Center, have “upper” and “lower” tiers of residences.  The lower tier is awesome.  The upper tier is all that and a bag of chips.

In NEMA’s case, the upper tier residences run from the 49th through the 76th floors.  There, if you have the cash or the right friends, you will find two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments ranging from $4,889 to $14,900 per month.

Breathing the air up there also gets you a private lobby, higher ceilings, a private amenity floor, and a balcony.  NEMA states these balconies are “20-square-foot private outdoor terraces perfect for dining and entertaining above it all.”  We’re going to assume that should be “200-square-foot” balconies, otherwise the only entertaining going on out there will be awkward middle school slow dancing.

The article has some great eye candy of what the views of Chicago look like from these units and shared spaces so head on over to check them out.  It's a cool building and seems like a great addition to the neighborhood.  

We will be curious to see if/when they consider they second tower at Michigan and Roosevelt.  Our guess is that it will be some time before plans are developed for that one...

Monday, October 26, 2020

Things Pivot But Continue at Garden Atop McCormick Place

We know the pandemic has crushed business at McCormick Place, but we recently found an article about something that has pressed forward at the hulking buildings (via Venuesnow):

Amid the pall of the coronavirus pandemic sits a rooftop Chicago oasis that’s being used to help the less fortunate. The garden atop McCormick Place, North America’s largest convention center, has gone from feeding event guests to providing healthy food and generating funds for vulnerable members of the Windy City area’s population.

Concessionaire Savor, which runs the garden, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the convention center’s owner, decided in the spring to go ahead with planting of the garden despite the standstill in conventions and trade shows brought by the pandemic.

The produce, including honey from rooftop hives, has made its way to the South Loop Farmers’ Market, with proceeds going to Windy City Harvest urban agriculture education programs and unsold food being donated to Lawndale’s Hope House, a community-based reentry program. Windy City Harvest is part of the Chicago Botanical Garden and operates gardens around the city, some in formerly derelict locations. 

Good to see some semblance of normality during these strange times... 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Sloopin Real Estate Highlight: Expansive, Rarely Available 3 Bed/2.5 Bath Corner Unit

Sponsored Post

If you like space and views, we highly recommend taking a look at this 3 bed / 2.5 bath at 701 Wells (unit #2403).  As you can see from the picture above the views to the south and southeast go on forever and give you a perfect vantage point to monitor the progress of the ever changing Sloop.  

Beyond the views, the unit has many upgrades and a flowing open concept. 

The unit features a full-size, side by side washer/dryer, large rooms, remote controlled window treatments, and premium parking. It truly lives like a single family home. Assessments include just about everything. This is a secure building with a 24-hour doorman, fitness room, sundeck & office center. 

Best of all, its location in the Sloop puts you minutes away from everything.  

For more information checkout: or contact:  Brian Ban Cell/Text 773.454.7423 or 

Parents at Old St. Mary's Church Write Letter Opposing Marijuana Dispensary

Looks like the parents of Old St. Mary's Church and School are the latest to oppose a proposed Marijuana dispensary on south Michigan (via. Fox 32):

We understand the push, but it feels a bit NIMBY - especially this quote “Schools and drugs do not mix. Today it’s Old Saint Mary’s, tomorrow it could be your school,”

Will be curious to see how this one plays out.  It seems like a matter of time until a dispensary comes to the Sloop - just seems like the main question is where.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Upcoming Events at Willow Creek Church at 13th and State

It's becoming colder and people are searching for things to do.  Here is something that was brought to our attention at Willow Creek Chicago a church in the South Loop at 13th & State. 

We have several safe, outdoor events coming up this fall that are open to the community. Not sure if event promotion is something you all do, but I thought I would throw it out there. 

Here's the list:

  • October 31: Trick or Treat Trail (safe trick or treating in our parking lot)
  • November 28: Holiday Market (various fair trade and local vendors)
  • December 5: Canine Christmas (dog-friendly Christmas fun)
  • December 24: Christmas Eve service

We'll have a large tent outside for these events, so it will stay out in the open and safe.

(Hat tip:  JW!)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Kenny Johnson - Owner of Bureau Bar + Restaurant - Demands More Than Allyship from His Industry

Eater Chicago has an informative write-up on Kenny Johnson and the challenges he's faced as a Black entrepreneur in the city.  The article headline says it all "A Black Chicago Bar Owner Demands More Than Performative Allyship From His Industry".  

As a reminder, Kenny just opened up the Bureau Bar + Restaurant (2115 S. State) and also owns 16th Street Bar (formerly called Bureau Bar at 75 E. 16th).  We know Kenny had issues opening up on 16th street and he outlines it well here:

Most operators expect hurdles when opening a bar: financial constraints or trouble finding and keeping staff are typical. But in the process of Johnson opening his first tavern, 16th Street Bar, he encountered a stunning barrier. While much attention was paid toward downtown businesses impacted by looting over the summer, a great many locally owned and operated small businesses were damaged across the entire city. Johnson’s bar is included in the tally. In an Instagram post, Johnson talks about the damage to his bar and goes on to describe how a white neighbor in the bar’s building essentially halted its very opening several years ago. “[The neighbor] had never met me and never been in the place, but they literally wrote a letter [to the city] saying ‘they’re going to have gang activity, they’re going to do this, they’re going to do that,’ because I am Black,” Johnson tells Eater. “They stopped us for nine months. I had to appeal it, I had to get lawyers involved. It was a whole mess just because they only saw the color of my skin.” As it turns out, there’s a precedent of neighbors — residents and business owners — tactically weaponizing city bureaucracy and leveraging gatekeepers to keep Black-owned establishments from opening in predominantly white neighborhoods.

The article also talks about the new restaurant's vibe and we also found out that Kenny has a stake in the Sage room (67 e. Cermak) just around the corner.  Needless to say, he's heavily invested in the neighborhood and glad to hear his perspective and advocacy.  Hopefully it continues to get the oxygen it deserves and real change comes about. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Construction on Building at Southern End of Southbank Development is Apparently Starting

We posted a couple weeks back about some movement at The Southbank development (corner of Harrison and the Chicago River).  The Chicago Architecture website got some more info:

According to the mouthpiece for Lendlease, “The next phase is going to be along the river on the southern end of the site.”  That means Building E, according to the documents drawn up by Perkins+Will and filed with the city on November 15, 2015 by CMK when it was still part of this project.

The construction of Building E will also bring the city a new section of Chicago Riverwalk.  And like we’ve seen with Wolf Point West, and 110 North Wacker, it’s going to run underneath the building’s cantilever.  In Building E’s case, there will be about a hundred feet of clearance above the riverwalk.  Everyone living on the fourth floor and above on the west side of this building will be hanging over the edge.

It seems like an interesting time to be starting a project, but good to see that there is faith in the neighborhood and apparently demand for these types of units.  

The addition of the riverwalk is also nice.  We've been impressed with the work to-date and adding more public amenities is a nice thing for the neighborhood.

What isn't so nice?  If you reside in River City apartments and had a nice northern view of the Willis tower and skyline - that seems to be going away pretty quickly.    

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Essex on the Park High-Rise Being Sold to San Francisco Investment Firm

It looks like the Essex on the Park is changing hands (via Global Tall Building News):

A San Francisco investment firm is paying US$190 million for a new 56-story luxury apartment tower along Grant Park, the biggest Chicago multifamily sale of the year, according to a report.

Iconiq Capital is buying Essex on the Park, a 479-unit high-rise at 808 S. Michigan Ave., from the development joint venture that built it, according to Real Estate Alert, a trade publication. The venture between Chicago-based Oxford Capital and Quadrum Global, which has offices in New York and Miami, completed the project in spring 2019, one of three big South Loop apartment towers to open last year.

The article provides some perspective on the background, but unless you're in the real estate game it probably will go over your head (it did ours!).

In some perspective, it's nice to see that high-profile buildings in the neighborhood can fetch a hefty sum - but we don't know what to make of this.  Does anyone else?

Of interest, the Essex Inn Hotel is not part of the deal - so should be interesting to see if the original builders hold onto that part of the asset (that said, it's probably harder to sell a hotel during the pandemic). 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Thursday, October 8, 2020

No Contact Order Extended as Founder/Chef of Acadia Faces Serious Harassment Allegations

There has been a lot of discussion and accusations online about Ryan McCaskey - the founder and chef at Michelin starred Acadia (1639 S. Wabash) - and this week a judge granted a former employee an extension on a no contact order.

The story is ugly and you can read the full background on Chicago Tribune, but essentially:

Cody Nason, a former employee at McCaskey’s fine dining restaurant, Acadia, was granted a no contact order last month after alleging in a court petition that the chef created a website, multiple email addresses and fake online reviews to harass him.

“We want to conduct discovery and figure out who actually did this,” McCaskey’s attorney, Roger Malavia, said during Monday’s hearing.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Levander Smith Jr. set a hearing for Oct. 22. The no-contact order will remain in effect at least until then.

Last month a judge ordered the chef and owner of the Michelin-starred Acadia not to contact Nason after Nason alleged in a court petition that McCaskey launched the website on Aug. 13, posting Nason’s photo, phone number and home address, along with claims that Nason is “a pedophile.”

Acadia temporarily closed in August "due to the pandemic’s impact.”  It remains unclear if/how this story has contributed to that closure.

From a culinary standpoint, Acadia is the Sloop's most high-profile restaurant and has consistently been credited as one of the best in the city.  We've had good experiences, but that doesn't mean much as it relates to the inner workings of the business.  

We will stay tuned to hear how this progresses and what impact it has on the future of the restaurant.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Taking Stock of the Retail Situation in the Sloop During Covid-19

So we're deep into the pandemic and where it goes from here is far from known.  We're not going to speculate any further, but one thing that gives a sense of the economic toll close to home is our business counter. 

This isn't a perfect barometer (obviously), but still interesting to see what this has done to the Sloop.  

Interestingly, by our current count the Sloop has added 3 net new businesses to the neighborhood in 2020.  We probably have missed some, so please let us know if our list is off in anyway:

Opened in 2020
  1. The Grail Cafe (715 S. Dearborn)
  2. Momentum Coffee & Coworking (2119 S. State)
  3. MingHin Cuisine (1234 S. Michigan)
  4. Harbor (1312 S. Wabash)
  5. RSTR (1325 S. Michigan)
  6. My Place (1307 S. Wabash)
  7. Dearborn Denim & Apparel (728 S. Dearborn)
  8. Teriyaki Madness (829 S. Wabash)
  9. Caribbean Jerk Palace (733 S. Dearborn)
  10. Allstar Seafood & Sports (730 S. Clark)
  11. Honey Berry Pancake & Cafe (901 S. State)
  12. Fruve Express Juicery (1131 S. State)
  13. Hoots (1238 S. Canal Street)
  14. Roots Handmade Pizza (744 S. Dearborn)
  15. Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care (1135 S. Delano Ct)
  16. Mau's House of Grooming (901 S. Plymouth Ct)
  17. Taketei Sushi (800 S. Michigan)
  18. Bureau Bar + Restaurant (2115 S. State)
  19. Adorable Baby (1462 S. Michigan)
  20. Fast Signs (1315 S. Michigan)
Closed or Moved Out of the Sloop in 2020
  1. Pier 1 Imports (1014 S. Canal)
  2. Not Just Cookies (901 S. Plymouth Ct)
  3. To Magic Nails (1255 S. State)
  4. South Coast Sushi (1700 S. Michigan)
  5. Carter's (1143 S. Delano Ct)
  6. Sod Room (1454 S. Michigan)
  7. Tiny Tunes Studio (69 E. 16th)
  8. SRO Chicago (610 S. Dearborn)
  9. Kroll's (1736 S. Michigan)
  10. Giglio's Tavern (825 S. State)
  11. Bridgeport Coffee Company (1021 S. Delano Ct)
  12. Tantrum (1023 S. State)
  13. Arts & Craftsman Supply (828 S. Wabash)
  14. Vanille (800 S. Michigan)
  15. The Scout (1301 S. Wabash)
  16. Royal Puppies (2000 S. Wabash)
  17. Starbucks (1101 S. Canal)
Additionally, here are some of the businesses that may or may not open in the neighborhood:

• Sage Room (67 E. Cermak) 
• New Asian Fusion Restaurant (Roosevelt Collection - S. Delano Ct.)
• Overflow Coffee (1449 S. Michigan) 
• Wabash Tap New Concept (1233 S. Wabash) 
• The Lucky Well (Roosevelt Collection) 
• Crab Bucket (South Michigan & 21st) 
• Williams Inn Pizzeria (2210 S. Michigan) 
• Chick-Fil-A (Clinton & De Koven) 
• 7-11 (Clinton & De Koven) 
• Aspen Dental (Clinton & De Koven) 
• Piasans Pizzeria & Bar (700 S. Clark)
• Xiang Hot Pot (2201 S. Michigan)
• Lao Sze Chaun (614 S. Wabash)
• Apolonia Restaurant (2201 S. Michigan)
• Hotel BnB (1316 S. Michigan)
• Haidilao (107 E. Cermak)
• Potential Marijuana Dispensary (1420 S. Michigan)
• F45 (1322 S. Michigan)
• Surf's Up (TBD)
• Orange Theory (110 E. Cermak)

What do you think?  Is there something wrong with our list?  Did we miss something?  Let us know.

The real toll of the pandemic won't be measured with a blunt count like this and likely will linger on for some time.  Stay safe and stay healthy Sloop!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Starbucks Closes at South Gate Market ; Other Retail Updates in the Sloop

Mr. South Loop (Instagram page here) gives us a download on a bunch of retail changes:

Yarnify has moved from Dearborn Station to the Pope Building.

Starbucks at south gate market has permanently closed.

Knucklehead boxing gym is opening tomorrow inside the Pope building. 

Fast signs has opened at 1315 S Michigan. I believe it was a blow dry place before.

Chicago French press opened

Adorable Baby at 1462 S Michigan opens today. 

We're going to take a deeper look at the retail scene in the Sloop this week so stay tuned.

(Hat tip: AL!) 

Monday, October 5, 2020

New Plans and Renderings for High Profile Lot at Harrison and Dearborn

 A reader sent us an email about the evolving plans at 601 S. Dearborn.  This is the email that was sent from the developer:

The 601 S. Dearborn development team submitted a revised building rendering and responses to a list of questions that had been provided by the Board of Directors through our zoning attorney, Bridget O'Keefe.

There will be a community meeting of the Board of Directors, the Association's zoning attorney and Transportation Building owners on October 15th via Zoom (meeting info will follow), which will give the homeowners an opportunity to hear a presentation directly from the 601 S. Dearborn Team and to have them answer questions posed by our residents.

We ask that residents return questions to the management office by October 12th so that we may consolidate questions for the developer. After the October 15th meeting concludes, residents will have an opportunity to return follow up questions by October 29th.

There were also some renderings and blueprints of the plan:

Ground floor plan:


As a reminder we got some renderings for this in July and you can see the difference from those renderings.  It appears that the developers stepped back the elevation for the current plans at Harrison and Dearborn.

We will see how this progresses.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Prep Begins for Another Highrise at The Southbank Development on the River and Harrison

 A reader sent us some pictures of construction setup at the Southbank development (Harrison & the Chicago River):

As far as we can tell two of the buildings are already up.  In the renderings we've seen on their website, there are a total of five buildings:

On the far left side of the rendering above you can see two more buildings on Harrison.

It will be interesting to see how fast this moves forward and whether they do two buildings or one more.  Anyone have any info on this?

(Hat tip:  JH!)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Yarn Bomber Continues Bringing Quirky Fun to the Sloop & Raising Money for Charity

 In case you missed this last week the Chicago Tribune had a good piece about the Sloop's yarn bomber:

If you walk around the South Loop, you’ll likely run into some of Sherman’s artwork. She wrapped a bike rack outside the White Palace Grill in a red and white striped scarf and attached little knitted fried eggs and strips of knitted bacon. She yarn bombed another bike rack on South Wabash Avenue in a black and red and gray scarf and attached “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) to the top. She covers those old pet waste bag dispensers that hang on light posts in jaunty little hats with violets springing from their tops. She wraps tree trunks and branches.

“I started doing it last winter; but when the pandemic hit, it really took off for me,” she said. “You lock a crafter in their apartment for a few months with a bunch of yarn and that’s what happens. I just started going kind of wild.”

It also talks about how she's turned her yarn bombing into fundraising:

A neighbor recently asked Sherman to come over and yarn bomb the exposed pipes inside his Printers Row apartment, which were starting to look a little rusty and drab. He offered to pay Sherman for her work, which got her thinking.

Every year since 2006, she’s walked in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk, which raises money for blood cancer research. Sherman lost her dad to leukemia in 2012. He was 57.

She posted a note on a South Loop neighborhood Facebook page offering to yarn bomb a site or item of anyone’s choosing in exchange for a $100 donation to her Light the Night fundraising page. She’s hoping to raise $2,000.

“I got the crocheting and knitting stuff from my mom, but I got the thinking outside the box and being weird stuff from my dad,” Sherman said. “I wish I had done this when he was alive because I think he would’ve been very oddly proud.”

We've enjoyed seeing her works around the Sloop.  Keep up the great work!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Honey Berry Pancake & Cafe Officially Opens at 901 S. State

 It looks like Honey Berry Pancakes and Cafe is officially open at 901 S. State:

As a reminder, word of this new restaurant coming to this nice space first emerged in the summer.  The previous restaurant was sports bar Bulldog Tavern which did ok, but certainly didn't thrive.  We've heard that Honey Berry is actually owned by the same people who did Bulldog, so while it's a new restaurant it's the same owners.

While the Sloop has its fair share of brunch spots, it is certainly a format that seems to do well (Yolk, Meli Cafe and Bird & Spoke seems to be the best example of that).

We wish them well and look forward to trying them out.

Has anyone been?  Thoughts?

Friday, September 25, 2020

Mad Hatter's (Gin &) Tea Party Pop-up Events Coming to Motor Row

A reader sent this to us and we found it new and interesting so thought we would share:

Party like you’re lost in Wonderland!

The Mad Hatter, Dormouse, and Hare are unleashing teatime mayhem with an immersive experience and taste of Wonderland in Chicago! Prepare to go mad at one of their bibulous tea parties!

Over 25000 happy tea party guests have taken a trip down the rabbit hole at this traveling Alice in Wonderland-inspired affair in Los Angeles and London, having won rave reviews!

Begin your journey down the rabbit hole and let your mad hosts guide you through a menu of tantalizing tea party cocktails made with the most curious ingredients. But do remember, if you don’t know where you are going, then it doesn’t much matter which way you go… Just be sure that you’re not late!

What's included?

The Mad Hatter’s (Gin &) Tea Party offers guests a chance to take a trip down the rabbit hole into an immersive, 1.5 hour-long experience hosted by the Hatter himself and some of his equally mad friends.

Enjoy 3 crazy craft cocktails in this mad tea party all while wearing a Mad Hatter hat.

All this and more will take place in a secret Wonderland garden in Chicago.

It looks like the event will be taking place in Motor Row at 2239 S Michigan Ave.  You can find more info about this at their website.  We assume this is a traveling experience, but not sure how long they'll be in Chicago.

(Hat tip: DT!)

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Tiny Tunes Studio Closes Up Their Studio Space at 69 E 16th

In case you missed this one last week, looks like another business is closing up - or at least their physical space (via Facebook):

We also got this photo from a reader confirming the closure:

We're really said to see them close up shop, but understand the reasoning.  When they opened Tiny Tunes Studios in 2018 it brought a new family friendly service and vibe to the Sloop.  We went to a couple birthday parties and a couple of their classes and were always happy walking out the door.

Best of luck to them as they move forward into their next chapter. 

(Hat tip: ND & @mrsouthloop)

Saturday, September 19, 2020

61-Year Old Woman Hit by Truck at Bus Stop on South Michigan

Glad there was a nice twist to this story about people stepping in to help, but wow (via ABC7):

Chicago police have released a surveillance image of a red pickup truck wanted in a hit-and-run crash that injured a woman in the South Loop Tuesday night.

The 61-year-old woman was struck as she was sitting in a bus stop booth in the 1100-block of South Michigan Avenue at about 11:45 p.m., police said.

The woman suffered injuries to her legs and good Samaritans jumped in to help her by creating a makeshift tourniquet by wrapping a Mexican flag around her legs.

The crash occurred while Mexican Independence Day celebrations were taking place downtown.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Noise Pollution Coming From Digital Realty in Printers Row?

A reader writes:

This topic was previously posted on the Hello South Loop page. We received a lot of feedback and found more residents affected by the noise pollution created by Digital Realty. I am hoping we can reach out to even more residents in the South Loop. 

Across from the west side of the Transportation Building, there are chillers on the rooftop of 600-740 S Federal Street. They are owned and operated by Digital Realty. Recently, they have doubled the amount of chillers that operate 24/7 above the city's noise ordinance, 55 dBa per Ord. 8-32-090. The sound levels recorded reached 79 dBA inside the units. The equivalent of 70 dBa is a vacuum cleaner, and 80 dBa is a garbage disposal. 

I am reaching out to understand if there are more neighbors in the area who are also affected by this. There is another Digital Realty location on 350 E Cermak Rd.  

Here are some videos of the noise pollution during different times of the day.  

Please comment below or email me ( if you have any stories or advice battling noise pollution.  

There is also a facebook page with more information on the issue:

We checked out the youtube videos and it sounds pretty f'ing loud:

(Hat tip: KZ!)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Local Author Pens Cute Children's Book: Octopus Mom

A reader writes: 


My name is Jill Goldberg. I am a South Loop resident and have followed your blog for a long time! I recently published a Children's Book called "Octopus Mom." I was emailing you in case you were interested in spotlighting a local author. I'd be happy to send you a copy of the book if you are interested. You can see some pictures here:

Also, some copies will be at Sandmeyer's bookstore in the near future. If you would like more information about it or myself, please let me know!

Jill was kind enough to send us the book and it is a fun read.  We have a 6 year old in our house and he got a kick out of the book.  It's a full on story with clever rhymes - we all enjoyed, even our son who's review is "silly...but good"!

(Hat tip: JG!) 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Well Look at That Listing: "House on the roof, literally!"

It's been awhile since we've highlighted some Sloop residential real estate, but this one is so unique we had to spill some digital ink.  The address is 714 S. Dearborn st. Unit 9PH and it's in the heart of Printers Row, but the unique thing is its orientation (via the listing):

House on the roof, literally! Perched on top of the historic Printers Row building this two-level penthouse is waiting for your great design ideas.

If you're walking down Dearborn and you've looked up in the past, you probably have noticed that the top of this historic building has siding that doesn't exactly jive with the brick style of everything below.  

Well apparently that's because there is a house sitting on top!

The interior is a little dated, but if you're looking for a one-of-a-kind property in the Sloop (and the city) - this could be it:

The unit is listed at $850K which ain't cheap, but also isn't crazy for a house on top of a historic building.  That said, HOA fees are high (almost $1K a month) and apparently doesn't include parking.

Regardless - cool property and worth a look if that's your sort of thing!