Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Last Day of Covid Comeback Initiative from Solo Eye Care

A great initiative from Solo Eye Care:
As you know, the restaurants in our community are at great risk.  We lost South Coast today and have the potential to lose several more in the coming months.  I wanted to update you on a program that we developed earlier this month called the South Loop COVID Comeback sponsored by SoLo Eye Care.  Over the last few weeks we have been giving away $500 in $20 gift cards everyday we are open to support some of our favorite restaurants in the South Loop.  No purchase or appointment is required.  Residents simply need to show up at SoLo Eye Care to claim their certificate during business hours while these daily supplies last.  We have featured business such as Harold’s Chicken #88, Flo n' Santos, Dunkin Donuts, Victory Tap, Tea Pot Brew and Bakery, Waffles, Kroll’s South Loop, The Chicago Firehouse, and Il Cullacino.  We will hit the $5000 mark tomorrow and will be featuring a Sloopin favorite, Acadia.  There are no strings attached.  The only requirement is that the recipients of these cards get out and support the businesses that make up the fabric of our neighborhood.  For more information, check out our Facebook page.  

Even if you don't get a gift card, it's a good reminder that our local restaurants and businesses have been hit really hard by Covid.  The South Coast Sushi news is really unfortunate.  We've had a ton of great meals there.  Sorry to see them go.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

From Last Week: Investigation into Scary Scene at South Loop Parking Garage

A scary story from last week (via CWB Chicago):
Police are investigating after a woman reported being beaten and sexually assaulted at gunpoint early Tuesday in a Loop parking garage. No one has been arrested.
Officers responded to a call of a criminal sexual assault that had just occurred on the 1100 block of South Delano around 3 a.m., said CPD spokesperson Sally Bown.
Police found a 35-year-old woman standing in the parking garage, but she was unresponsive, Bown said. A security guard told the officers that he saw a man exiting the garage a few minutes earlier. The woman then approached the guard and said she had been raped on the garage’s lower level.

(Hat tip: AW!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A Look at Chicago's and the Sloop's "Down-the-Alley" Views

A fun read by Chicago Tribune columnist Blair Kamin about Chicago's "down-the-alley" views.  The reason for the article is a new view heading north on LSD that was created by the new Vista Tower.  If you're a Sloopster who heads north on LSD you've probably seen this, if not stop looking at your phone and admire our city's fine architecture:
In Chicago, a certain view of buildings — long, head-on and thrillingly dramatic — is as rare as a warm day in February.
This is not Washington, D.C., where the diagonal avenues of Pierre L’Enfant frame stunning views like the one of the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Instead, our buildings are boxed in by the street grid, hard-pressed to call attention to themselves unless they face the Chicago River, Lake Shore Drive or central Michigan Avenue — or, like Willis Tower, they break free of the grid by soaring into the sky.
Every so often, though, architects get extraordinary opportunities to liberate their buildings from the relentless regularity of the grid and fashion images that resonate in our collective mindset.
The latest (and by far the tallest) example of this phenomenon — the soon to open 101-story, 1,191-foot-tall Vista Tower, by Chicago architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang — is giving northbound drivers on Lake Shore Drive a high-octane visual jolt.

Kamin uses the opportunity to explore some of Chicago's other "down-the-alley" views and many of them are best showcased from points in and around the Sloop:

Wrigley Building head north on Michigan Avenue:

Trump Tower heading north on Wabash:

Field Museum heading south on LSD:

The article also references the Chicago Museum of Art peaking through while looking east on Adams and the Shedd Aquarium in full display while heading east on Roosevelt.

It's funny, because we've also spent time gazing east towards Grant Park loving the carefully placed fountains and statues - such as the General Logan statue looking east on 9th street:

It's an interesting read if you're into these types of things.  If you've never noticed it before, look down a street and take stock of the planning and thinking that goes into these design elements.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Teriyaki Madness Opens at 829 S. Wabash

Despite what's going on in the world, looks like a new restaurant is opening on South Wabash (via Eater Chicago):
Denver-based fast-casual chain Teriyaki Madness opened its first Chicago location Wednesday in South Loop, offering rice or noodle teriyaki bowls and stir-fried noodle dishes for patio service, takeout, and delivery. The franchise is the first entrepreneurial venture from longtime best friends, South Side natives, and Chicago Department of Water Management colleagues Tony Underwood and Phil Courtney. They plan to open two more Chicago locations. A different franchisee opened an outpost in 2019 in suburban Lombard.
Teriyaki Madness — or “TMad” to fans — features a menu that’s known primarily for customizable dishes that are made to order: customers can choose a bowl base (white rice, brown rice, or noodles), stir-fried vegetables, proteins (chicken, steak, salmon, tofu, and more), plus eight sauce options. Diners can also order from a selection of appetizers and sides including chicken egg rolls and edamame.
The chain includes 116 restaurants. Most look identical to one another, but Underwood and Courtney’s new location at 829 S. Wabash Avenue is unusual. It’s on DePaul University property between 8th and 9th streets, below the Flats at East-West University. The space is shaped differently than other locations, with the greeting and cashier area completely separated from the kitchen. Chicago restaurants aren’t yet allowed to serve customers inside, but when that ban is lifted Teriyaki Madness will seat around 18. The location does have some outdoor seating, which the franchisees want to keep limited. For now, there are eight spots.

We posted about this back in June of last year.  As you may remember this was formerly an Au Bon Pain for 3 years.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

City Announces Lakefront to Open on Monday, June 22nd

Well this is good news (via Chicago Tribune):
The city of Chicago continued its slow return to normal on Monday as officials reopened Millennium Park, announced that bars and brewers will be allowed to serve outdoor customers on Wednesday and set the reopening of Chicago’s iconic Lakefront Trail for June 22.
But all three moves will come with restrictions aimed at preventing a resurgence in the coronavirus and could be rolled back if the city sees COVID-19 cases spike down the line.
The Lakefront Trail will reopen solely for exercise and transit, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting Monday, but residents must “keep it moving,” either while walking, running, biking or rollerblading on the trail, the mayor’s office said in a news release. Beaches and parks east of Lake Shore Drive, however, will remain closed.

We imagine it will be pretty packed so stay safe, but good news that the lakefront is finally reopening.

Monday, June 15, 2020

A Look At What's Open in the Sloop

We received this from a neighbor:
As we emerge from a tough spring of staying inside, followed by a night of vandalism, South Loop Neighbors fanned out and surveyed South Loop restaurants and retailers to see who's back in operation. 
Most survey work was done on June 6; some has been updated since then. You’ll find the results at https://www.southloopneighbors.org/open-for-business
The website also includes a list of restaurants open and offering outdoor dining.

It's a great resource and thanks to South Loop Neighbors for compiling!

(Hat tip:  DC!)

Friday, June 12, 2020

Free Face Mask Distribution at Roosevelt Collection This Sunday

We could all use some more masks - if you agree head to Roosevelt Collection this Sunday:

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Owner of Warehouse Liquors Looks to Reconnect with Woman Who Protected His Store During Looting

A nice read about a stranger protecting a South Loop Liquor Store during protests and looting (via Block Club):
The owner of Warehouse Liquors was attacked and his store robbed during recent looting — but one woman helped save him and his business, standing guard and keeping people at bay for hours.
Now, Gene Charness, the store owner, is trying to reunite with Ceondra Porter, the woman who stood outside Warehouse Liquors and tried to keep him safe. Charness and his wife, Leslee, want to thank Porter.
On May 30, Porter, 22, of Avondale, was Downtown to join a large protest over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
At the same time, Charness, 62, got a call from his alarm company and went to his store, 634 S. Wabash Ave. He saw multiple people looting the store.
That night saw widespread looting and vandalism in the Downtown area. Officials have said people used the protests for Floyd as cover to steal and damage local businesses.
Security video from Warehouse Liquors shows a large group of people breaking the store’s doors to get inside and then carrying out bottles and boxes. The video shows shelves pulled down with debris everywhere.
Charness got to the store and tried to get the people looting it to leave. Someone threw a bottle at Charness’ back and another person knocked him down and stole more items from the store’s shelves.
Charness got the people out, though, and then held up a security gate to try to keep them away — until someone attacked him with a fire extinguisher.

(Hat tip:  GC!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

City Officially Cancels 2020 Lollapalooza and Other Summer Events

In one of the most anti-climatic announcements, it looks like Covid-19 has taken a big bit out of the summer festival scene (via Chicago Tribune):
Summer is over in Chicago before it even began.
The city announced Tuesday it is canceling special events through Labor Day, including Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, the Air and Water Show and the Chicago Jazz Festival to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The city had already announced the cancellation of its summer festivals devoted to gospel, blues and house music.
Lollapalooza — Chicago’s largest music festival — typically draws 100,000 people to Grant Park for each of its four days, and it was said to be the highest revenue-generating event for the Chicago Park District last year. Festival promoter C3 Presents had not announced a lineup for the July 30-Aug. 2 event, and tickets were not for sale. More than 170 acts typically play Lollapalooza each year.
“The reality is, bringing 100,000 people en masse, in close quarters, which is what the daily head count is every single day at Lollapalooza, bringing that many people from all over the country, downtown, in Grant Park, every single day, we might as well just light ourselves on fire. It makes no sense,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference Tuesday.
Lightfoot said a later date for Lollapalooza was considered “and that was part of the discussion and why we delayed for so long, but it became clear that that later date probably wasn’t going to get us out of the woods, far enough away from where we are in the cycle of COVID-19 here in Chicago. So we look forward to welcoming them back next year.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

A Look at the Sloop's "Yarn Bomber"

It's a nice touch to see spots of color throughout the neighborhood in unexpected places and this video from ABC7 talks about the woman who is doing it:
Bike rails and trees have been looking a lot more colorful thanks to a resident in Chicago's South Loop.

Valerie Sherman has taken her crocheting skills to the streets in what she calls "yarn bombing."

Sherman has been crocheting since she was a kid, and she moved to Chicago a couple of years ago.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sherman wanted to brighten her neighborhood's bike rails and trees with her crochet work.

She said it takes around 15-20 minutes to finish a piece, and all of her projects are done at home.

After several neighbors noticed her work around the South Loop, Sherman made an Instagram page, @valerieplz, so that others can follow along.

We've seen other people doing this as well and we definitely think it's a fun attribute for the Sloop.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Construction on 1000M Tower Halted Amid Covid-19 Concerns

In case you missed it last week, looks like one of the city and Sloop's biggest building sites has halted construction (via Chicago Tribune): 
Construction of a 74-story condo tower designed by Helmut Jahn has been halted, and the project’s developers say it was done to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The 1000M skyscraper on South Michigan Avenue is the first prominent high-rise project to shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, which has dragged down the economy and led to widespread job losses in Chicago and throughout the country.
Construction is considered an essential industry by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and other projects have continued despite stay-at-home orders that were issued in March.
Distancing, staggered work shifts, temperature checks and other measures have been implemented on job sites in an effort to protect workers from the coronavirus.
Industry observers have closely monitored the virus’ potential long-term impact on the more than decade-long development boom in Chicago, which leaves in question the fate of several megadevelopments in advanced planning stages.
The 1000M developers, Time Equities, JK Equities and Oak Capitals, on Thursday said construction work has been stopped since the first phase of foundation work was completed. It’s unclear when the work stopped, or when the $470 million project might resume.

This is interesting and we'll be curious to hear what happens next for this high-profile spot.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Neighbors Create Instagram Handle to Help South Loop Businesses

A reader writes:
I’ve lived in the south loop for the last 15 years and I’ve been following your blog since the beginning.
I was hoping you could help with a project we started to recognize and support the local south loop businesses.  We have an instagram page @yourneighbors2020 where we’d like to document the damage done to businesses and follow them and help them as they rebuild.
Would you consider following the page and possibly getting the word out?  It’s a simple message, saying that we, as neighbors, are sorry for the difficult times and that we are here to stand strong with them.
I’ve included some pictures, please take a visit to our Instagram as we build more support. Thank you and thanks for your great reporting over the years!

(Hat tip:  AP!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

City Starts Reopening Process But National Guard Still Remains

It seems like the city is starting to reopen - but it's unclear what exactly that means.  Here is a quick blurb in the Chicago Tribune:
Access to downtown Chicago will also start to reopen. Metra, which has been out of service since Monday morning, planned to resume a modified schedule on most lines on Wednesday. The CTA planned to restart bus and rail service to downtown at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, though some train stops located within or near downtown will remain closed, according to the city.
The citywide curfew for all residents and visitors, effective from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. will remain in effect until further notice.

Speaking of which, we've seen pics of the national guard throughout social media.  A reader sent us this one from Canal and Roosevelt:

Tuesday, June 2, 2020