Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sloopin Covid-19 Spotlight: Clear Wellness Group

In an effort to keep highlight local businesses see info below from a new business that opened just before the stay at home order:
Just wanted to introduce myself.  My name is Rinku Shah and my husband and I opened a medical practice in the south loop at 1605 S. Michigan Ave.  It's called Clear Wellness Group, and it has been our dream to open this clinic.  
We opened March 7th, and then essentially closed a week later.  Things have been difficult since opening.  In keeping with social distancing, we chose to close, and provide telehealth services.  Now we are ready to slowly reopen, but hoping to spread awareness about our clinic.  
I am a primary care doctor, and am just starting to provide Covid-19 antibody screenings to the community.  My husband focuses on pain management and mental health.  We would love to be featured by you guys, and gain any support from the neighborhood.  In any case, hope you all have been well, looking forward to being a part of this great neighborhood again!!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Gov. Pritzker Scales Back Covid-19 Plans at McCormick Place Given Slowing Need of Beds

This appears to be good news (via Chicago Tribune):
City and state officials have decided to open 2,000 fewer beds at the McCormick Place medical center for now, citing the slowing growth of COVID-19 cases in Illinois.
McCormick originally was supposed to have 3,000 beds in case Chicago-area hospitals were hit with more coronavirus patients than they could handle at once. For the time being, however, a planned 1,750-bed hall won’t be opened. And a separate hall for sicker patients has been scaled back by 250 beds.
In recent weeks, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said Illinois has been bending the curve, meaning the number of cases is growing at a slower rate than it was. Around the beginning of April, cases were doubling every 3.6 days, and as of mid-April, that had been stretched to about 8.2 days.
“We have made alterations at McCormick Place where there are fewer beds that will be available than the original plan because it appears, at least for the moment, that we’re only gradually increasing the number of ... hospitalizations and the result of that is we will probably need fewer beds there,” Pritzker said Saturday.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Checking In at Manny's Deli During Coronavirus

The Tribune has a easy, quick read on South Loop icon Manny's Deli and how they've had to quickly evolve some of their service during Covid.  It's probably not super unique as almost all restaurants have had to get creative in the current environment, but just goes to show a real story of evolution:
But due to the coronavirus pandemic and the closing of all restaurant dining rooms, these days there’s no hum, clang of utensils, or conversation sounding off the walls at Manny’s. “Obviously, it’s pretty quiet,” says fourth-generation co-owner Dan Raskin in a phone interview. “We are still open for customers, and have curbside and delivery options, but business is down like 70 percent.”
Raskin says that some of his biggest losses came from canceled events. “Corporate events, wedding rehearsals, conventions — all of those orders were canceled,” says Raskin. “They want their deposits back and they can’t reschedule. They are upset about cancelling, and I feel bad for them.”
Which doesn’t mean Raskin isn’t trying. “I have been personally doing everything possible to get more business,” says Raskin. “I’m not a give up kind of person. I’m going to get scrappy and do what I can.”
When the dining room first closed, he found himself working every day for three weeks straight. “I was tired, but I felt worse for my wife,” says Raskin. “We have three kids at home, and I’m trying to work. But we can’t ask for help, because we don’t want anyone to come over.”
Eventually, he noticed that a lot of people in the suburbs who would normally commute to the Loop for work wanted to place orders. This explains how Raskin found himself with a car full of orders from Manny’s ready to personally deliver them all. “I told people to either call or email me,” says Raskin. To his surprise, on the first day he got 80 orders, which initially sounded great. Then he realized he’d have to drop them off at 80 different houses.
“I called my dad and asked for help, so he took half,” admits Raskin. But this still meant that Raskin had to deliver 40 orders in four hours. “I don’t even know what I was thinking,” says Raskin. “It was working out until it got dark and then I couldn’t see the addresses.” He didn’t even have a minimum price for an order, so at one stop he delivered a single bowl of matzo ball soup.
Obviously, that wasn’t sustainable, so he called a friend from EJ’s Place in Skokie, Gabriella Lenzi Littleton, to see if she had any suggestions. She recommended using Tock, Nick Kokonas’s online ordering system. “It’s so easy to set up,” says Raskin. Now, instead of making individual deliveries, he picks a parking lot in a different suburb each day, and customers meet him there. “They stay in their cars, and I set the food in their trunks for contactless pickup,” says Raskin.
Though he’s working long hours (some days he’s working 14 hours) and had to completely retool his business, he considers himself lucky. “I’m fortunate that we have a legacy brand, and that I can deliver to the suburbs,” says Raskin. “If customers don’t know who you are, it’s hard for restaurant owners to do anything right now.”

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Motor Row Road Diet and Southbridge Construction Projects Continue Despite Covid-19?

A reader writes:
Beautiful day in the neighborhood.  A couple of snaps of two Slooprojects: Motor Row Road Diet and Southbridge
Road Diet on "Motor Row" Area of Michigan Avenue 
Southbridge Project on State Street

Despite the stay at home shelter it seems like some construction projects are continuing.  Seems surprising that these would be considered "essential".

The reader also sent a link to an article in Curbed Chicago from early April:
There are massive changes happening across the city: McCormick Place is transforming into a makeshift hospital, the Lakefront Trail is closed and empty, and a packed L train isn’t a problem. Amid these changes, the city’s construction industry is still operating—and work is ramping up on the massive Southbridge project.
The planned groundbreaking ceremony for the Near South Side megadevelopment was canceled due to the novel coronavirus, but its developers are pressing ahead with their plans to bring a mix of 877 affordable, market-rate, and public housing units to the site of the former Harold L. Ickes Homes. Residential construction is permitted as an essential service under Gov. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order, but crews are still taking protective measures as they adapt to the global health crisis.
“It’s really a challenging time for everyone, and the safety of our partners and communities is our top priority,” says Christopher Johnson, of Community Builders—which is co-developing the Southbridge project with McCaffery Interests, the Chicago Housing Authority, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, and the city of Chicago. “Pretty quickly we realized what was going on and took immediate precautions.”
Johnson tells Curbed Chicago that his team is adhering to all OSHA and CDC guidelines and procedures, including practicing social distancing wherever possible and deploying additional hand sanitizer dispensers and handwashing stations. Equipment handles and control surfaces are constantly wiped down, and in-person meetings have migrated to virtual platforms.

Well i guess that's the answer...stay safe everyone!

(Hat tip:  LG!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Sloopin Covid-19 Spotlight: Half Sour's Thursday Fried Chicken Dinner

In an effort to continue to highlight and support restaurants and businesses in the Sloop, we're periodically posting about deals they're running during the Covid-19 pandemic.  If your restaurant or business wants to be featured please send an email to and we will do our best to accommodate.

Today, we have a quick blurb from an employee from Half Sour writes:
Every Thursday we offer a Fried Chicken Dinner with rotating sides. 1/2 Chicken for $25 and a whole chicken for $50. Customers can call (312.224.1772) on Thursday to find out what the sides are. 

(Hat tip:  LN!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

McCormick Place Started Getting First Covid Patients Last Week

Last week McCormick Place starated getting their first patients (via Chicago Tribune):
McCormick Place got its first COVID-19 patients this week as health care professionals begin trying out the hastily built medical center.
Patients started arriving Tuesday afternoon, and five were there Friday, officials said.
“They are all people who have a low-acuity COVID-19,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who noted that the pop-up hospital was not designed to treat the sickest patients. “They will be there for as long as it will take for them to recover.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said conversations are underway with area hospitals about bringing additional patients. The medical center at McCormick Place, where the first 500 beds were unveiled last week, is designed as a “safety valve” for stressed hospitals, the mayor said Friday after touring the facility with the governor and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth.
Patients at McCormick are only being admitted directly from local hospitals, and they are not allowed to have visitors, city officials said.
Preventing hospitals from becoming overwhelmed is the goal of the governor’s stay-at-home order that aims to slow the spread of the disease. But officials were setting up extra beds at McCormick Place and shuttered hospitals in case the hospitals nevertheless become overburdened.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Sloopin Covid-19 Shoutout: Weather Mark Tavern

From their Facebook page:
Enjoy Weather Mark Tavern BOOZE SPECIALS!  Enjoy fantastic drinks delivered for FREE to your door or curbside Pick-Up!  312.588.0230
#freedelivery #foodandrink #southloop #staysafe #publife #beerandwine #weopen

Friday, April 17, 2020

How A School Reopens During the Coronavirus? South Loop Montessori Shows How

A nice read about South Loop Montessori reopening for kids of families with essential workers (via Chicago Tribune):
Mornings at the South Loop Montessori School now begin with thermometers, a change of shoes and diligent hand-washing. When staff arrive from their commutes, they are already wearing gloves and masks. Children are escorted, one by one, into the building after getting their temperatures checked at the front gate.
As a newly licensed emergency child care center, the school is allowed to remain open during the stay-at-home order so essential workers ― doctors, first responders, critical government employees and grocery store workers ― have a place to drop off their kids during the day.

We were curious to hear about some of the logistics:
Drop-off and pickup procedures were also changed. Parents are not allowed inside the school and must call the school prior to arriving so a staff member can meet them at the entrance, Dadrass said. School workers, who are also subject to temperature checks, make sure the children don’t have a fever and bring them into the school after they change into indoor-only shoes. For lunch, children receive individually packaged food from an organic catering company.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Sloopin Covid-19 Spotlihgt: Acadia

We're trying to spotlight restaurants in the neighborhood who are running specials during this tough time.  If you're a restaurant (or business) hit us up at and we will try to post asap.

Here is what's going on at Acadia:
Hey Sloopin!

I'm Jason Sundberg, General Manager at Acadia. I wanted to inform you and all your readers that custom cakes by Pastry Chef Kyleen Gray are now being offered at the restaurant (perfect for birthdays, Mother's Day) Those interested can email with specifications (including cake/icing flavor, size, decorative requests) to receive a quote. Cakes start at $65 and require 2-3 days advance notice, depending on complexity. I've attached some serious drool-inducing photos.  
Also, beginning Tuesday April, 21 Chef is channeling his roots as a Chef in Italian kitchens and will be presenting a special Italian à la carte menu for takeout.
  • Polpetta – veal, beef, pork meatball stewed in a tomato ragout, parmigiano Reggiano, parsley – 12
  • Pizza Bosciola – garlic oil, crimini mushrooms, prosciutto, provolone cheese, arugula, truffle – 16
  • Risotto – carnaroli, maitake mushroom, allium pesto – 14
  • Cinghiale – wild boar ragout with Barolo, chilis, cinnamon, apples, fried polenta - 18
  • Pappardelle – lobster, baby spinach, truffle, mascarpone – 18
  • Crostini – Jonah crab, leek, garlic, butter, sunnyside up egg, watercress – 16
  • Calabrian Seafood Stew – monkfish, scallop, rock shrimp, mussels, cannellini beans, leeks, olive oil – 20
  • Warm Bomboloni – filled with Nutella pastry cream, dusted in cinnamon sugar, crème anglaise – 10

Thanks for the note and best of luck!

FYI - those cakes look amazing!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

R. Kelly Denied Appeal to Be Released From Jail & Move to Roosevelt Collection

This is a strange one we stumbled upon (via Chicago Tribune):
The threat of COVID-19 behind bars is not enough to release R. Kelly from federal custody to await trial, a New York federal judge ruled Tuesday.
“While I am sympathetic to the defendant’s understandable anxiety about COVID-19, he has not established compelling reasons warranting his release,” District Judge Ann M. Donnelly wrote.
Donnelly noted that there are no confirmed infections at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago, where Kelly has been held since July.

What was surprising was that the disgraced crooner, was looking to live somewhere close:
If released, Kelly would have lived at the Roosevelt Collection Lofts, a large South Loop apartment complex, with girlfriend Joycelyn Savage, who until last year had lived with Kelly at the Trump Tower, his attorney said.

Would have added a different dynamic to the nightly South Loop sing-a-longs at 8pm...

Monday, April 13, 2020

Sloopin Covid-19 Spotlight: Flo & Santos

Small businesses and restaurants are a crucial element of our neighborhood and we offered to post about some of the specials some of our favorites are running in this challenging time.

Today we highlight Flo & Santos (312-566-9817).  They write:
The specials we have going on right now are as follows
Everyday: 50% off bottles of wine
12$ Virtue Cider pack.
Free order of Paczki with every order while supplies last.
Mondays:Free salads with in-house orders
Tuesdays:Free soup with in-house orders. 
Thanks so much for your efforts to shine a light on open businesses in the South Loop. we really appreciate it!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

When Thirsty Break Glass?

A reader writes:
The South Loop Market @ 1720 S. Michigan Ave. was broken into last night. It looks like someone got thirsty and needed some alcohol...
Pictures attached from this morning.

Sorry to see this, but glad it wasn't worse.  

(Hat tip:  KJ!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

It Appears That Sod Room (1454 S. Michigan) Has Closed

A reader writes:
Word is that Sod Room closed.
That sucks, but appears to be true according to their Facebook page:

Sod Room was a nice place and certainly did a good job providing activity options for children since they opened back in 2013.  That said, there has been certainly an uptick in businesses catering to young families such as Tiny Tunes Studio (69 E. 16th) and Kids Wonderland (2028 S. Michigan.  And there are more coming such as MyGym (1333 S. Wabash).

Anyway, sad to see Sod Room go. 

(Hat tip:  FP!)

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Church of Scientology Chicago Signage Goes Up on at 650 S. Clark

Looks like there is some new signage going up on S. Clark:

Last we posted about this was back in October of last year as it appeared they were doing some construction and build out work in the building.

For those of you who don't remember or weren't around over 10 years ago, this has been a long time in the making as we posted about it way back in 2009.

It feels like a strange time to be moving in...but maybe that's not surprising to some.

(Hat tip: RG and DK!)

Monday, April 6, 2020

Calling All Local South Loop Restaurants (and Businesses)

Calling all local restaurants (and businesses).  We know it's tough times for everyone, but especially you and your employees.  As such an integral part of our neighborhood, we want to help how we can.

We've posted some things here and there trying to bring attention to your efforts and how you're supporting the neighborhood and staying open.

If you're running any specials or doing something different during these tough times please email us at  

Depending on the response we will do our best to promote what you're doing.

Thanks for all you do!

Sloopin Crew

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!)