Friday, October 30, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 26, 2020

Things Pivot But Continue at Garden Atop McCormick Place

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 19, 2020

Upcoming Events at Willow Creek Church at 13th and State

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

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

Here's the list:

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

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

(Hat tip:  JW!)

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 12, 2020

Thursday, October 8, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

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

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

Yarnify has moved from Dearborn Station to the Pope Building.

Starbucks at south gate market has permanently closed.

Knucklehead boxing gym is opening tomorrow inside the Pope building. 

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

Chicago French press opened

Adorable Baby at 1462 S Michigan opens today. 

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

(Hat tip: AL!) 

Monday, October 5, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

There were also some renderings and blueprints of the plan:

Ground floor plan:


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

We will see how this progresses.