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!