Thursday, December 31, 2020

Sloopin's Top Posts of 2020: Protests, Riots and a "Restricted Area"

For our final post of the year it seems fitting that the post with the highest traffic was one dealing with the intense circumstances that erupted across our nation after the death of George Floyd.  Chicago certainly felt the pain and so did the Sloop.

Our post from Sunday, May 31st titled "Downtown Chicago and South Loop Will Be 'Restrictive Area' on Sunday After Last Nights Protests, Riots & Looting" had the biggest spike in traffic as our neighborhood and community was reeling from an intense night of chaos.

We've lived in the South Loop for the better part of 12 years and it was a night like we've never seen.  The emotions we felt paled in comparison to the thousands that took the street.  However, our emotions were still intense and conflicted.  Certainly the pain minority communities felt had boiled over.  But, it was confounding to hear glass shattering all around us, masked people running down the street with an unusual amount of urgency and smoke billowing into the city air (see "#ScarsInTheSloop: The Morning After...). 

We're not going to parse out the nuance here today, but given that this site is devoted to the South Loop and all that happens in it - we will say that the events of this year have caused people to question so many things including whether living in the Sloop was for them.  We've seen many friends and colleagues leave the city and numerous journalists question what's next for cities (see post from September titled "What's Next for Chicago?").  

The intensity of the protests and riots have subsided since the summer, but the feelings still linger as there is clearly no magic solution to "fix things".  Couple that with the raging pandemic and we start 2021 with an opportunity to turn the page, but realizing that is easier said then done. 

As for the Sloop, we still love our neighborhood.  We assume you do too.  That said, 2020 had us asking some existential questions on where we go from here.  Hopefully 2021 brings some clarity to those questions.

Here is to a happy and healthy 2021!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 Sloopin Business Counter: Despite Covid-19 +2 Net Businesses Opened in 2020

It's not surprising that some of our most popular posts had to do with businesses opening and/or closing in the South Loop.  So before we move on from the dumpster fire that was 2020 we're going to do our annual review of the business counter.  

With the help of Mr. South Loop (THANK YOU!), we've updated our business counter with the following openings and closings.  There is likely some we missed, so if you know of something please let us know.

By our count we had a +2 net of businesses opening in the South Loop.  While that continues a downward trend for the neighborhood (since we started keeping track in 2012) it is frankly better than we expected.  The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on small businesses and we applaud/appreciate all of them for continuing to bring their services to the community.  With that said, please support them as much as possible! 

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)
  21. Paisans Pizzeria (700 S. Clark)
  22. F45 (1322 S. Michigan)
  23. Chicago French Press - Roosevelt Collection (150 W Roosevelt) 
  24. 711 / Mobil Gas Station (560 W Jefferson)
  25. Aspen Dental (1114 S Clinton) 
  26. Sixt Car Rental (714 S Wabash) 
  27. On Duty Urgent Care (2112 S Michigan) 
  28. Knuckle Head Boxing (633 S Plymouth) 
  29. Urban Paws (50 E 16th Street)
  30. Hotel BnB (1316 Michigan)  
  31. Wells Pantry (611 S Wells) 
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)
  18. Panera (501 S. State)
  19. Capsule Pharmacy (1442 S Michigan) 
  20. South Coast Sushi (1700 S Michigan) 
  21. Smart Kids Tutoring (1925 S Archer)
  22. Antinos Pizza (570 W Roosevelt) 
  23. T Mobile (14 E Harrison) 
  24. Wabash Tap (1233 S Wabash) 
  25. Bulldog ale house (1000 S State) 
  26. UFC gym (1331 s Michigan)
  27. Tommy’s gun garage. (2114 S Wabash) 
  28. Relax Massage (80 E Cermak) 
  29. Happy Chinese kitchen (80 e Cermak)
These are some of the other businesses we've heard about and may or may not open in 2021.  Hopefully they do, but we'll see...

• 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) 
• Xiang Hot Pot (2201 S. Michigan)
• Lao Sze Chaun (614 S. Wabash)
• Apolonia Restaurant (2201 S. Michigan)
• Haidilao (107 E. Cermak)
• Potential Marijuana Dispensary (1420 S. Michigan)
• Surf's Up (TBD)
• Orange Theory (110 E. Cermak)
• Million's Crab (1329 S. Michigan)
• Clean your dirty face will open (1347 S. Michigan)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Sloopin's Top Posts of 2020: Apolonia Restaurant Coming to Motor Row

Saying bye to 2020 can't come soon enough, but before we do we're looking back at the top three posts that garnered the most traffic to the site.  Yesterday My Gym - which hasn't opened - clocked in at the third most viewed post on the site.  

Today, another post about a business that hasn't opened yet was our second most viewed post of 2020.  This one was a post from January 30th titled "Apolonia Restaurant - from the Chef of S.K.Y. in Pilsen - Coming to Corner of Michigan and Cermak".  

Similar to yesterday, this post and news was prior to the pandemic threw everything off in 2020.  However, according to their Facebook page it appears that construction on their interior is at least moving forward:


So while they didn't open up in 2020 as they wanted to, it's looking like 2021 might be their year.  This addition to the Motor Row area would be a big boon so hopefully it happens.

We will stay close to this one and hope for the best!
  


Monday, December 28, 2020

Sloopin's Top Posts of 2020: My Gym is Coming to the Sloop (Maybe?)

It's the final week of the year y'all and if you're like us 2021 can't come fast enough.  Before we turn the page on a tough year on so many levels, we're going to highlight a three posts that garnered the most attention.

You can make what you with the info, but the data don't lie.

First up is a post from February, 26th titled "My Gym Coming to 1333 S. Wabash Retail Space".  This one surprised us a bit as it isn't the type of post that typically lights the neighborhood on fire.

That said, we know there are a lot of young families in the Sloop and we know they are usually schlepping their kids to various other neighborhoods for activities.  

Apparently many people are interested in this type of business.  That said, this was at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and as of now it appears that My Gym is still not open.  The location is still listed on their website, but we're unsure if this is moving forward.  Does anyone have any insight into whether or not this business is opening?


For those who aren't familiar with 1333 S. Wabash, this is the retail space that used to be Cycmode.  That business closed in the fall of 2019 and this property has been vacant since.

Hopefully My Gym is still coming to the Sloop - it would be a great addition to the neighborhood!


Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas from The Sloopin Crew


Merry Christmas for everyone who celebrates and for everyone else don't forget your favorite South Loop Chinese restaurant is likely open for dinner tonight!

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

4,000 Manny's Meals Donated to South Sabina Neighborhood

 A nice story on multiple fronts (via Fox 32):


We've posted a couple times about Manny's challenges during Covid-19, but remember that other South Loop restaurants don't have the regional profile that the longstanding deli has and also need the help.  So if you can, try to support our local neighborhood businesses! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Marijuana Dispensary Withdraws Application for Business at 1420 S. Michigan

In case you missed this one, it appears that the proposed Marijuana Dispensary at 1420 S. Michigan - that was opposed by various groups in the neighborhood - has withdrawn their application (via Chicago Sun-Times):

A major New York-based cannabis firm announced plans Tuesday to acquire one of Chicago’s only independent dispensaries and an outstanding pot shop license owed to the current operators.

AWH, which has operations to grow and sell weed across five states, detailed the pending takeover of Midway Dispensary in Vittum Park just three days before the shop’s owners were expected to petition the Zoning Board of Appeals to open their second location in the South Loop.

However, Midway on Tuesday abruptly withdrew its application to start selling weed at 1420 S. Michigan Ave. amid news of the acquisition and stiff opposition from both community members and local Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd). The neighbors most notably complained that the proposed location was just outside a city-mandated buffer zone from Old St. Mary’s School, a Catholic elementary school.

What this means for a potential South Loop dispensary remains a question.  Will the new owners of Midway look to another location in the neighborhood?  There was another dispensary company looking at location in the Sloop - specifically the vacant retail space at 900 S. Wabash.  

It seems like it's just a matter of time until something in this industry opens their doors in the Sloop, but guess we will see.  Anyone have any other insight on this one?   

Friday, December 18, 2020

After Two Years Float Sixty Has Closed Their Doors at 1143 S. State

A reader writes:

Sorry to report that Float Sixty at 1143 S State appears to have gone out of business. I noticed some construction in there storefront the other day, and I stopped to take this photo. Their name/logo had been removed and the office equipment and furniture is no longer there, either. 

Last week, I tried to reach out to Float Sixty River North via Facebook about their South Loop sister location, but I haven’t heard a response. 

We assume the pandemic was the nail in the coffin here.  It remains such a challenging time for local businesses.  Please support if you can.

As a reminder, Float Sixty opened this location about two years ago

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Four Reconstructed Ramps Open This Week at Jane Bryne Interchange

This is some good news for getting in and out of the neighborhood (via janebyrneinterchange.org):

Multiple Ramps Reopen at Jane Byrne Interchange

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that four reconstructed ramps will open at the Jane Byrne Interchange on, weather permitting, Tuesday, Dec. 15. The completion of the ramps marks a major milestone as all 11 ramps have been completely reconstructed or are currently under construction:

By 5 a.m. Tuesday the following ramps will reopen:

  • Canal Street entrance ramp to outbound Ida B. Wells Drive
  • Inbound Kennedy Expressway (Interstate 90/94) ramp to Taylor Street
  • The exit ramp was relocated to just north of Adams Street and reconfigured to reduce conflict from inbound lanes.
  • Inbound Kennedy ramp to inbound Ida B. Wells
  • The exit ramp was reconfigured to reduce conflict from inbound lanes.
  • Outbound Ida B. Wells ramp to outbound Dan Ryan Expressway (Interstate 90/94)
  • The entrance ramp was reconfigured, and access was moved to the right lane. While ramp construction is completed, a temporary detour will bypass ongoing construction along the outbound Ryan. A signed detour will direct Wells to Ryan ramp traffic to continue to Union Street, through two traffic signals at Taylor Street and Roosevelt Road, to connect to the outbound Ryan via the Roosevelt Road ramp. Motorists should be aware of the change and anticipate some delays the first few days of the configuration.

If you're unsure what all this means, they have a nice handy video to show you some of the most recent openings:

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Southbank Development Starts Marketing New Building On the Chicago River Called The Reed


We posted about some heavy construction movement at the Southbank property on Harrison and the river back in October.

The developer has sent out some press info on the development, so things seem to be progressing.  The building that they're working on will be called The Reed and will be situated on the Chicago river.  The Tribune has some more info:

Set to open in 2023, The Reed will be set on the South Branch of the river, with 216 condominiums and 224 apartments spread across 41 floors at 234 W. Polk St. in the South Loop.

It follows The Cooper, which opened in 2018, and the two-acre Southbank Park. In all, the Southbank development is set to fill seven acres of land at Polk and Wells streets, not far from the Roosevelt Collection.

Apartments will be located on floors 9 to 22. Below them, a 12,000-square-foot outdoor deck is among building amenities that also include a demo kitchen and a private lounge exclusively for condo owners.


 

Good to see the developers bullish on the area.  

A couple quick things stick out to us.  

First, residents of River City who have enjoyed dramatic views of Willis Tower and the city are about to lose out on one of their most prized assets as this building will block their views.  

Second, judging from the renderings it seems like this should add a little more to the river walk area.  While it's not super long currently, we've really enjoyed this 'public park' addition to the neighborhood.  It has a long way to go to connect to the Ping Tom park river walk in Chinatown, but each addition gets us one step closer (couple that with the development at the 78 and it feels even more tangible).

Anyway, good to see this moving forward.  We will be watching closely as construction really gets moving next year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Stride Autism Center Opens at 1925 S. Archer

We received the following info about a new business in the Sloop and wanted you all to see it:


Stride Autism Centers

We have opened a new Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) center for preschool-aged children (ages 2 - 6) with autism in the South Loop at 1925 S Archer (Archer/State).

Our new center is a 4-minute walk from the Cermak Red and Green El lines, and strategically serves communities throughout the city with access to evidence-based treatment. Importantly, we are in-network with major insurance (BCBS, United/Optum, Aetna).

I intimately understand the challenges individuals with autism and their families face because my sister, Marissa, has a severe autism-related disorder. Over the last three decades, I’ve witnessed how my parents vigorously advocated for my sister’s opportunities yet struggled to pave a path for her success. Convinced I could help, I created Stride to better serve children like Marissa and families like ours.

You can find out more about Stride Austism Centere at their website here.  Welcome to the neighborhood and best of luck!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Take the GSLA '2020 State of the South Loop Survey'

It's been a trying year for everyone in many different ways.  As we try to move forward it's good to understand what has happened and how your experience in the Sloop was this year.

The Greater South Loop Association is encouraging residents to take their annual "State of the South Loop Survey".  We highly encourage everyone to participate.




 

Bike Repair Shop on 9th Between Michigan and Wabash Appears to Close

Looks like the bike shop that popped up quickly in the retail space on 9th street where Fat Tire Segway Tours used to operate shop has closed up:


This is a small retail space on 9th street (despite it's 910 S. Michigan Unit #130 address).

Friday, December 11, 2020

South Loop Yarn Bombers On Display at Columbia College Exhibit on Michigan Avenue

A fun read about the Yarn Bombers (via Columbia Chronicle):

Valerie Sherman and Ann Cibulskis, two of the South Loop’s yarn bombers, along with Yesenia Juarez, founder of the Little Village Busy Bees, a club of knitters and crocheters, came together to transform outdoor objects into “soft, welcoming” items.

Sherman, who now works on commissioned projects for various buildings and businesses in Chicago, such as the rainbow pride flag at the Roosevelt Collection, is expanding her talents to an art gallery.

Kate Schaefer, the exhibit manager for Columbia’s properties at 618 S. Michigan Ave., 33 E. Ida B. Wells Drive and 623 S. Wabash Ave., learned of Sherman’s work after seeing some of her past projects around the South Loop.

“It caught my eye just because it’s bright and colorful and whimsical [and] something unexpected in a really urban location,” said Schaefer, who is also an associate professor of instruction in the Fashion Studies Department.

Schaefer and Sherman have been planning the window display since the summer and thought the winter season would be a good time for the exhibit since it fits with a “warm” and “cozy” winter aesthetic, Schaefer said.

Keep up the good work ladies! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

New Hotel and Condo Building Proposed for Vacant Lot on Wabash & Harrison


A new high-rise for the Sloop (via Chicago Tribune)?

An affiliate of Interforum Holdings proposes two towers that would replace a parking structure at 525 S. Wabash Ave., a project that also would front Ida B. Wells Drive (formerly Congress Parkway) and Harrison Street. That proposal includes a 23-story building with 314 hotel rooms and 261 residential units and a 36-story tower with 516 residential units, according to Reilly’s email.

The towers would connect to a low-rise podium with a grocery store and 151 parking spaces, Reilly said. The retail podium would include a second-floor restaurant, and it would be topped by an open-air amenities area.

The project, designed by BKV Group, does not require a zoning change, according to Reilly. The developer would pay more than $3.6 million into the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, which goes toward grants to support projects in underserved areas of the city.

It’s unclear how soon Interforum wants to begin work, or how much it would cost. CEO Alex Zdanov did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

This is the first time we've seen or heard about a proposal for this specific piece of land, but it makes sense as it's one of the few vacant lots still available in the neighborhood.  What is interesting is that a sliver of the building would front Ida B. Wells (formerly Congress).  There is not a lot of room between the Roosevelt College sports building and the Congress hotel.

It seems like a strange proposal for the current climate and economy, but it's not like this type of development is going to go up super quickly.  So maybe in a year or two, it will be ripe for residents?

Regardless, good to see developers still taking a swing at projects in the Sloop.    

Monday, December 7, 2020

Design Team Selected for Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) at The 78 Development


In case you missed this one, it looks like a team has been officially selected for DPI (via The Block Club):

The property will also feature a University of Illinois-led collaborative innovation center known as the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI).

Last week, the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) selected a team of designers and engineers, which included Dallas-based design and consulting firm Jacobs Consultants, Inc., Netherlands-based architectural firm OMA*AMO Architecture, and global design company IDEO, that will lead the $250 million DPI project.

The team was selected after a rigorous process that began months ago.

During their October presentation, representatives from the winning firm team shared images of a multi-story, all glass, semi-dome shaped building that will be sustainable, including having its own rainwater collection system. It will house classrooms, open air meeting spaces, laboratories, a cafeteria and terraces throughout the building.

The design calls for a series of laboratories to be built atop one another – which seeks to ensure efficiency – on one side of the building. The other side will include a “methodical design” of office and meeting spaces that will be layered in a way that is reminiscent of a game of Jenga, with open-air spaces complete with terraces aimed at maximizing views of the city and riverfront.

If the building matches the picture above, it would be a striking and notable addition to the Sloop.  Most buildings in the Sloop are architecturally basic, but this would buck that trend.  We'll see how this one transpires.

Of related interest, we recently saw that a person on Hello South Loop posted a pic of the current state of the 78 land and we were surprised to see the Wells street so far a long.  Wonder when this road could potentially open:

(Hat tip: KS!)

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.