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!

Monday, September 14, 2020

What's Next For Chicago?

These two recent Chicago Tribune headlines says it all:

If you're reading Sloopin, you're likely someone who loves Chicago and all that city living offers.  But that sentiment has probably taken a significant hit during 2020.  The pandemic, the civil unrest, the looting, the density are all things that cause one to question if it's all worth it. 

We're still here and trying to take the long view, but not going to lie - it's hard.  

What's even harder, is to imagine how things come back quickly.  Sure a vaccine will make it safer, but it seems like "work" will never be the same again as digital technologies have proven transformational in how/where we work.  

Sure people will come back to the office in some capacity, but it's hard to imagine that it will be the same as the past.  And with these changes that likely means less people flocking to the downtown core each day.  The tribune outlines it well:

A vaccine could create an eventual return to the pre-pandemic downtown. But even with a vaccine, some companies could stick with hybrid arrangements that let employees partially work at home. Surveys show that many employees like the arrangement, which saves them money and commuting time.

If the desire to escape the dense downtown persists, it also could boost the suburban office market as well as planned office and apartment megaprojects near the fringes of downtown, like Lincoln Yards and The 78.

"We stand on the possibility that we might have a reversal or a transformative effect that was entirely unpredictable,” said Ebner, the Lake Forest history professor.

But he and other historians emphasize that such reversals have been predicted before, only to see downtown Chicago reinvent itself with such features as Millennium Park and the downtown Riverwalk, leading not just to a rebound but to spectacular bursts of growth.

After 9/11, Lissner said she wondered if anyone would want to live or work above the eighth floor, but they did. “I don’t think this is the demise of downtown living or downtown working,” Lissner said of the current crisis.

Reilly acknowledged a likely long road back for many aspects of the downtown economy, such as tourism and retail, calling it “nearly a certainty that 20% of our bars and restaurants will close and will not come back.”

It will take more federal aid and flexibility in city regulations, such as increasing capacity levels, liquor-serving hours and street closures to create outdoor seating, for the rest of the bars and restaurants to hang on, Reilly said.

“Take a pandemic, layer on top of that an economic disaster greater than the Great Depression and then sprinkle in some civil unrest,” Reilly said. “No one could contemplate this happening 12 months ago, all at once. But Chicago has survived worse. We survived the fire, for crying out loud. We’re going to get through this."

It's hard to know what will come next and we haven't even touched upon the impending craziness of the November election.  

It's going to be hard for Chicago (and other big cities).  It seems like the best we can hope for is a slow, gradual ramp back up... worst, well - it pains us to even contemplate.  


SRO Chicago Appears to Close As "Space for Lease" Signs Appear

Welp - looks like Covid-19 has caused another longstanding South Loop establishment to close up: 

The first Yelp! review for SRO Chicago was way back in 2006.  The neighborhood has changed a ton since then, but this spot has been pretty stable.  To be honest, we never stepped foot inside (whoops!) and every time we walked by it seemed pretty dead. 

That said, a fourteen year run is solid for a restaurant.  Sad to see them go, but maybe - just maybe it will open the door for something new and different (although who knows if/when that could happen given the current state of the world right now). 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Paintball Shooting Incident on South Michigan is Strange and Scary

Hmmmm - stay safe (via Chicago Tribune):

A man was hit in the eye by a paintball fired from a car near Grant Park early Thursday, according to Chicago police.

The man, 29, was standing on a sidewalk in the 700 block of South Michigan Avenue around 12:30 a.m. when someone in a white sedan fired a paintball gun, police said.

He was hit in the right eye and taken in fair condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

A 26-year-old man with him was hit in the chest but was not injured, police said.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Mercy Hospital to Intends to Sell Building and Real Estate Just South of the Sloop

In case you missed this one, Mercy Hospital - which is just south of the Sloop - looks like it's going to be sold next year (via WBEZ): 

Mercy Hospital on Chicago’s Near South Side likely will sell its building and real estate as it’s set to close next year – and shutting down won’t hurt patients, the hospital said in a new regulatory filing.

Mercy disclosed the potential sale to Illinois health care regulators. The hospital must file paperwork telling the state it plans to close, but by law regulators can’t stop the closure.

Public health advocates say the South Side is a health care desert, making it difficult for people to access medical care. Mercy is a historic hospital that mainly treats low-income people of color. It looms alongside Interstate 55 just blocks from the South Loop, where development has mushroomed around the McCormick Place Convention Center.

Mercy announced plans to close in late July after a failed bid to merge with three other hospitals on the South Side, and after years of losing money and patients. It has a busy emergency room, and is one of the few hospitals that delivers babies in the area.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Starbucks at 111 E. Cermak Reopens After Long Shutdown

This is a little old, but for those in need of caffeine on the south side of the Sloop you may be interested that the 111 E. Cermak Starbucks is officially back open:

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Chicago Press Coffee to "Pop-up" at Roosevelt Collection

It sounds like a new coffee option is coming to Roosevelt Collection (via Eater Chicago):

Kris Christian started her own coffee company hoping to share her love of coffee with others. Chicago French Press, which focused on the home and office markets, will now pivot as this week Christian unveils a pop-up coffeeshop at the Roosevelt Collection in the South Loop. The pop-up will last through the end of the year.

The coffees, which are certified organic, fair trade, and non GMO, come in flavors like maple pecan, chocolate blueberry, and peach nectar. The beans are roasted in Pilsen. Chicago French Press has previously partnered with groups like the Simple Good and The Take Back. For the pop-up, they plan on donating 5 percent of sales from each coffee bag to a charity. Christian is hoping to take the operation national. As Black Lives Matter protest continue to counter the number of police shootings of Black men, Christian has also expanded her company’s scope. In June, Chicago French Press donated to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Christian hopes to open more locations. The pop-up is an effective marketing tool to introduce people to her brand and to push them toward monthly coffee subscriptions. Black entrepreneurs are getting more opportunities as the spotlight shines on racial injustices, Christian says. But, in a sentiment echoed by many Black members of the service industry, Christian mentions that those in power — the majority of who are white — need to lead.

“It’s really good to see the Roosevelt Collection is interested in diversity,” she says.

It appears that Chicago French Press will be opening in the space vacated by Bridgeport Coffeehouse earlier this summer.  

While this seems like a temporary arrangement, it's nice to see new businesses making a go of it (although we imagine rent is waived?).

Regardless, good luck with the pop-up and hope everyone enjoys it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Popular Global Hot Pot Chain - Haidilao - Opening in Motor Row

We were surprised to get this press release from construction company McHugh, but regardless the restaurant sounds interesting:

James McHugh Construction Co., a builder of unique interior spaces and one of the country’s largest commercial contractors, announces it has begun construction of a 7,000-square-foot Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant at 107 E. Cermak Road, on the second floor of Hiltons at McCormick Place in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. Scheduled to open this December, the project marks the China-based global chain’s entry into the Midwest market. With U.S. locations in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Haidilao Hot Pot offers a high-end, Sichuan-style hot pot experience.

“We’re all looking forward to the days when we’re able to enjoy dining out with family, friends and colleagues in a lively environment, so it’s encouraging to see restauranteurs like Haidilao moving forward with their expansion plans,” said Terry Gillespie, senior project manager of Chicago-based James McHugh Construction Co. “We’re proud to be delivering this unique concept and provide our expertise, especially on the project’s extensive exhaust systems. Haidilao has a great reputation internationally as a quality hot pot destination, and we’re excited to expand our relationship with them.”

When complete, the two-level restaurant will include a 700-square-foot waiting area, main staircase and elevator just inside its street-level entrance. Haidilao’s second level will span approximately 6,300 square feet and house the main dining area, kitchen, bathrooms and office space.

Is anyone familiar with this chain?  We found some interesting videos online, and this one is probably the most succinct:

It's been a rough go for restaurants and retail during Covid-19, but a silver lining is that some businesses are still looking to build and open up in the neighborhood.

Looking forward to trying this one.