Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Blackstone Hotel Set for Reopening and Also Being Listed for Sale

Some commercial real estate for your Thursday (via Real Deal):

One week before the Blackstone Hotel reopens after a year-long closure, its owners have put the 335-key South Loop property on the market.

Sage Hospitality Group and Fundamental Advisors enlisted Hodges Ward Elliott to sell the historic building at 636 South Michigan Avenue, according to Crain’s. The asking price is not known.

The 22-story building has been closed during the pandemic, and as it prepares to welcome guests back, the Chicago hotel market is still stuck in second gear.

Sage spent some $128 million to renovate the historic hotel in the 2000s. In 2016, Fundamental bought into the property and the duo plowed in close to $12 million more in upgrades. They also agreed to a franchise deal with Marriott; it is now part of the Marriott Autograph collection, Crain’s reported.

On a practical level, interesting to hear that the hotel is finally reopening which seems to be a sign that they believe we're moving beyond the worst parts of the pandemic.

Outside of that, hard to read too much into the listing.  Is it a bigger trend or just a company that's needing/wanting to sell?  Probably the latter in our opinion.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Keep Your Pets Safe - Coyotes Sightings Seem to Be Popping Up Everywhere

Urban coyotes have become a common thing even if it's surprising when you see one around the neighborhood.  We've been posting about them since we started this ole blog (see post from 2009 here!).

Lately we've seen a bunch of postings and articles about them.  Here is an image from Hello South Loop of a coyote roaming the streets of the Sloop:

Don't be surprised if you see one, but most importantly we wanted to remind all pet owners - especially those with smaller animals to be aware and careful.  These coyotes are notorious hunters and are known for attacking smaller animals (look out cats).

You can read more about them at this Smithsonian article or this Wikipedia page.  Here is a quick blurb about them:

Urban coyotes are coyotes that reside in North American metropolitan areas (major cities and their suburbs). Coyotes thrive in suburban settings and even some urban regions, because of the availability of food and the lack of predators.  One report described them as "thriving" in U.S. cities, and a 2013 report in The Economist suggested that urban coyotes were increasingly living in cities and suburbs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Wabash Tap Not "Reinventing" at 1233 S. Wabash ; Apparently Available for a New Business

This may be old news, but it's the first time we've noticed the new sign at Wabash Tap saying that the space is available:

It's an unfortunate turn of events as Wabash Tap was one of the last "dive" bars in the immediate area.  There is still the South Loop Club, but what else are we missing?

As a reminder, back in July of 2019 a similar blue sign appeared but hinted at a "reinvention" vs. a shutter:

Wabash Tap was run by the Mainstay hospitality group which also had Grace O'Malley's and City Tavern back in the day.  Their online presence is lacking these days so we're curious if the group has been disbanded.  They also have (or maybe had?) the Chicago Firehouse.  That famously went up in flames in 2014, but has been remodeled and seems to be sticking around for awhile.

Anyway - will be curious to see what comes to this spot.  

Monday, April 12, 2021

Woman Robbed at Gunpoint on Roosevelt Redline Platform

ugh (via CBS Chicago):

Four suspects were in custody Sunday night after a woman was robbed at gunpoint at the Roosevelt Road CTA Red Line stop.

Detectives said at 5:30 p.m., the robbers – reportedly two men and two women – targeted the 31-year-old woman at the subway station underneath Roosevelt Road and State Street.

The victim was on the platform when the four robbers approached her, sat down next to her, and surrounded her, police said. Two of the suspects took out handguns, and they demanded the woman’s purse and personal property, police said.

Stay safe out there. 

The good news is that the police were able to stop the redline at 47th street station and apprehend the suspect.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Highlighting a Printers Row Staple: Kasey's Tavern

A Chicago Now blogger highlights her love of Kasey's Tavern on Dearborn:

Kasey’s Tavern is a popular sports bar in the Printer’s Row neighborhood. I, along with many other customers, have been anxiously awaiting those boarded windows to open. The exciting announcement came through social media with the bar’s reopening on March 22, 2021.

Kasey’s captured my heart the first time I stepped through those vintage doors and I couldn’t wait to return. It’s the type of bar where everyone can feel comfortable, sports fan or not. Their longevity as Chicago’s second oldest bar goes to show how well-received the establishment is. The charm, staff, low prices, and beer menu keep me coming back for more.

If you've lived in the neighborhood for awhile, chances are you've been to Kasey's (710 S. Dearborn).  If not, head over for some old fashioned Chicago bar fun.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Apolonia Ready for April 15th Opening at Prominent Motor Row Location (2201 S. Michigan)

It's been a tough go for restaurants during the pandemic, but it's encouraging to see such an ambitious opening moving forward - especially towards the south end of the Sloop (via Eater):

It may take conventions some time to return to McCormick Place, but when they do, S.K.Y. chef Steven Gillanders and his team will be ready. The challenges of the pandemic have delayed the opening, but Gillanders’ second restaurant, Apolonia, finally has an opening date in the South Loop. The restaurant, which focuses on European-Mediterranean coastal fare, will open on Friday, April 16 at 2201 S. Michigan Avenue. Reservations are live.

It’s been a long road for Gillanders and his team, but 2021 has provided optimism: “The last relief bill, certainly if it didn’t pass, we wouldn’t have been able to open open,” he says. “That’s just the reality.”

The 5,300-square-foot 100-seater is on the ground floor of a tri-branded Hilton Hotel that also houses Fatpour Tap Works, Starbucks, and VU Rooftop Bar. Nestled near Wintrust Arena in a South Loop neighborhood that’s been begging for more dining options, convention business will be the “icing on the cake,” Gillanders says, locals will be Apolonia’s “bread and butter.” The restaurant will open with a 50-person capacity and 90-minute reservations. Apolonia has space for a patio, but furniture won’t arrive time for the opening.

We are excited, but curious to see how this restaurant does.  The Eater article says the expectation from the owner is that this year will be "lean" but hopefully that doesn't sink this ship before it even has a solid chance to set out on its course.  If it succeeds we anticipate it will continue to usher in more good things for the area.

Judging from the pictures and pedigree of the staff, it sure seems like this restaurant will up the game for the Motor Row area - especially with the (likely?) closure of Acadia.  Between Apolonia and the highly revered Moody Tongue Brewery in the area it sure seems like this area will be primed for locals and conventioneers (assuming they come back at some point).

Congrats to the folks at Apolonia and can't wait to stop by!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Tiffany Stained Glass Windows Being Restored at Second Presbyterian Church (1936 S. Michigan)

If architectural preservation is your type of thing, we suggest heading over to to read about a story at a local church:

At a time when too many of Chicago’s holy places are being abandoned, or worse, we bring you a good news story out of the South Loop. The enormous Tiffany window at Second Presbyterian Church has been removed for conservation.

Thousands of people have admired the 16-foot-tall window during services, tours, and community events. It was designed by Tiffany Studios in 1895, and is titled “St. Paul Preaching at Athens.”

Recently, it was removed from the church for a year-long restoration, which will clean the 22 panels and thousands of pieces of glass that comprise the window. In addition, the structural supports have to be replaced.

A horizontal slice of the window was restored in the late 90’s, and really demonstrated how badly the whole thing needed to be cleaned. Many of the figures depicted in the window can barely be seen.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Viral Video Shows What an Employee at The White Palace Deals with Regarding Mask Rules

A reader sent us a link to a pretty ugly set of videos posted to the site Fly Height.  We weren't really familiar with the site and aren't going to be posting any of their content on Sloopin.  

That said, our mission is to post on various topics in the Sloop and this certainly falls within those boundaries.  Before providing any more detail, just want to note that the content is pretty vulgar and disturbing if you're sensitive to these types of things.  We highly recommend keeping kids away and listening with headphones if you're in a public space.

This specific 5 minute video was apparently taken at The White Palace Grill at 1159 S. Canal and is titled "Fast Food Worker Films the Crazy People She Had To Deal With In Just One Night".  It seems like much of the initial contention between the workers and the patrons are mask rules - but it quickly unravels from there in most instances.

There is a lot to unpack and given the lack of context we will let you judge for yourself.  

We were (sort of) joking a couple weeks ago about Manny's unrealistic 30 day mask challenge.  Well this shows another, uglier side of the predicament many businesses and restaurants face these days.

Sure, The White Palace has a history of "interesting" experiences.  We've only been a couple times and when we wrote about one trip back in 2009 we noted that the police were called because of someone skipping out on a check.

Anyway, we wanted to share because it's clearly a story in the Sloop.  Make of it what you want.

(Hat tip:  KP!)

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Float Sixty Officially (Fo Real) Closing Up Shop at 1143 S. State

Looks like Float Sixty in the Sloop is officially closing down shop at 1143 S. State (via Hello South Loop Facebook Page):

It is with a heavy heart that I must report the news of the permanent closing of my business on State Street, Float Sixty South Loop. We have worked out a break from our lease and will continue to operate from our original Float Sixty Chicago in River North, Float Sixty Northwest Indiana and our newest location Float Sixty in Lake Zurich. 

As the owner and founder of this business I personally wanted to thank the vibrant South Loop community for all of the support since we opened in late 2018.  Your help as we endured multiple issues at this location will always be remembered and appreciated. 

Pictured: The wonderful painters that painted our board ups after the riots. 🙏 

Be well and thank you for your support.

It's been a tough go for this business, but wish them the best.  Back at the end of last year we posted about them closing and at the time the owner reached out to say it wasn't 100% clear if they were closing for good, but seems like that's what officially just happened.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Charred Wing Bar Opens Ghost Kitchen in 1150 S. Michigan Burger Bar Location

 We recently stumbled upon a rather innocent story that caught our attention on the Newcity website: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Wings: Charred Wing Bar, South Loop Ups the Game".

What is this you say?  The Sloop bringing some heat on Wings?

Surely there are a bunch of places in the neighborhood that serve wings, so which one is this author referencing. seems like it's one we didn't know exists:

Given the popularity of wings during the year’s biggest football game, it’s no accident that Charred Wing Bar in the South Loop (1150 South Michigan) opened right before Super Bowl Sunday.

Hmmm - we don't recall seeing a new restaurant go up on Michigan avenue, so what gives?  According to the article:

At this ghost restaurant within Burger Bar (with two Chicago locations), chefs John McLean and Martin Murch serve eighteen different preparations of wings, which is around sixteen or seventeen more than I’ve seen offered at places like Buffalo Wild Wings. As the name Charred Wing Bar implies, these wings are not fried, as at other wing-centric restaurants like Wing Stop.

All this wing talk has me hungry and it's only Monday morning - so i guess we'll have to wait to try out this spot.  

Has anyone been yet?  Thoughts you'd like to share? 

Friday, March 26, 2021

What the Headline?!?!?
"Lollapalooza 'Zombie' Attacker Rises From the Undead to Attack Cops in South Loop"

While this probably isn't a super interesting story to most of you, the headline certainly caught our attention:

Lollapalooza “zombie” attacker rises from the undead to attack cops in South Loop

We had no idea what was in store after seeing this headline, so if you're curious keep on reading (via CBW):

The infamous Lollapalooza “zombie” who earned 15 minutes in the spotlight by biting a complete stranger at the annual music festival in 2014 has apparently signed up for an extra couple of minutes of fame.

Prosecutors say the zombie — his actual name is Sergio Vicenteno — tackled a Chicago police officer who had a gun drawn while investigating a burglary in progress in the South Loop.

And Vicenteno won’t be biting anyone for a while — the cops broke his jaw.

Officers responded to multiple calls of a man trying to break into apartments on the 15th floor of a high-rise in the 1400 block of South Michigan around 10 p.m. Monday. According to dispatch records, one caller told a 911 operator that she thought the man was going to get into her apartment and attack her.

There is some more on the story and the 2014 incident at the link if you want to go deeper.  We were hoping for something a little more with a headline like that, but what can we say we're a sucker for some good words.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

New eSports Arena - named Surge - Approved by City Council Zoning Committee for Location Near Motor Row

An interesting development just south of the Sloop (via Sun-Times):

Esports has been touted as having one of the largest fan bases in all of American sports — second only to the National Football League.

Now that fast-growing sport could be coming to Chicago’s Bronzeville community.

The City Council’s Zoning Committee on Tuesday gave final zoning approval to Surge, a $30 million esports and virtual reality arena.

If pandemic restrictions ease and allow increased capacity at the arena, Lincolnshire-based developer Scott Greenberg plans an immersive experience for up to 1,040 people, including game participants and spectators.

The 108,000 square foot arena — with restaurant and bar service, free-roaming space for virtual reality and technology for national broadcasts — would be built without city subsidies at 2500-2548 S. Wabash Ave., just across I-55 from McCormick Place.

Seems like a good move and nice to see Alderman Dowell getting some praise from her colleagues on what seems to be a great project for the area.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Naf Naf Grill Moving Into South Loop Marketplace (1248 S. Canal)

Love this post by Mr. South Loop and the impending opening of Naf Naf Grill.  We just wish they picked a location that was easier to access by walking.  That said...beggars can't be choosers:

Monday, March 22, 2021

City Exploring Broader Alfresco Dining Options for Neighborhoods - We Emphatically Support that for the Sloop!

The Hello South Loop Facebook group is soliciting info via a poll on the neighborhoods desire to close off some streets to allow for expanded alfresco dinning.  The poll can be found here (since Facebook doesn't allow us to easily embed - thanks FACEBOOK!).

We've pondered similar ideas all the back in 2014 and strongly feel that it would add a positive dynamic to the neighborhood.  Our post back then was more of a permanent 'european-style' idea, but we totally support what is being thrown out now.

WGN talks about this city's interest in this topic:

The city has announced a new initiative to increase outdoor dining areas through long-term outdoor spaces.

The ‘Chicago Alfresco’ program has city officials encouraging chambers of commerce and other neighborhood groups to think beyond emergency traffic barricades and construction cones of last year’s outdoor dining expansion to propose and build outdoor community spaces.

“Outdoor dining has become a lifeline for so many of our neighborhoods, but not all of them have been able to take advantage of our safe, outdoor dining programs,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “And by creating and transforming public spaces, the Chicago Alfresco initiative will significantly increase our city’s ability to fully revitalize the public way. Last year, we started this program out of necessity to help bars and restaurants stay open safely, now we’ve seen how well this program works and how much the City loves it, so we want to keep it going.”

In our mind the most logical areas are Dearborn between Polk and Harrison and Wabash between 13th and 14th.  

Dearborn is a slam dunk in our opinion mostly because it has the benefit of two smaller North/South streets (Federal and Plymouth Ct) that could help with traffic issues.  It also has more restaurants and bars to fill in this street (Roots, Totos, Caribbean Jerk Palace, Flacos Tacos, Printers Row Wine Shop, The Grail Cafe, Kasey's Tavern, Sofi, Amarit Thai).  Finally, all those businesses could theoretically use the extra outdoor space - maybe with the exception of Roots who has a custom-built rooftop that seems perfect for the situation.

While we would support closing down a block of Wabash it seems less of a necessity.  Flo & Santos already has a sizable beer garden.  Asian Outpost and My Place have the benefit of a wide sidewalk that allows for a good amount of patrons.  The Scout is closed and we're not sure if/when anything is coming to that space.  That leaves Harbor which probably could benefit from more outdoor space, but is it worth closing down for one restaurant?  Maybe?   

That said, it doesn't seem like this need to be an everyday type of initiative.  Weekends (and maybe include Fridays?) would seem just find in our opinion.  Fingers crossed that this happens!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Physicians Immediate Care Opening (or Moving or Expanding?) Into Former Giglio's Space Down the Street

Looks like Physicians Immediate Care is opening a new location in the former Giglio's space at 825 S. State:

What we're not sure about is why this is happening.  They currently reside at 811 S. State so are they going to have two spaces that aren't connected?  Are they moving out of the space up the street?  Is Lou Malnatti's in need of more space and expanding?  

Guess we'll find out soon.

While a new restaurant would likely be preferred than an immediate care spot, this space has had a rough go for restaurants recently.  The original tenant - Jimmy Green's - had a good 7 year run, but since then Pazzo's and Giglio's have both struggled.  

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Manny's Creates (Unrealistic) Mask Wearing Promotion and it Doesn't Last a Day

0% chance this is going to work out.  So let's just start there.

You may have seen a recent tweet or story about the iconic Manny's Delicatessen in the Sloop with a unique health conscious promotion (via Chicago Tribune):

The 79-year-old institution that has been a backdrop for generations of politicians, celebrities and those of us simply in search of a quality corned beef on rye, announced on social media Sunday night that it would “give away free sandwiches for the day” if staff could go 30 days without needing to remind customers to mask up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we applaud them on getting in the news (again) and bringing some attention to wearing masks, it seems like an almost impossible ask.  It's not that we think people are malicious about their intent to cough all over this promotion, it's just that customers are going to forget or not even be aware of this promotion.  Maybe they will somehow plaster this promotion all over the door - but probably not going to happen even with that.  

Unsurprisingly, it looks like this didn't last long - even one day:

We'll see what today brings, but chances are more of the same.  

Good job Manny's for getting some free promotion...but maybe we can start from a reasonable place - one day without having to remind people to wear their masks? 

Monday, March 15, 2021

A Typical Day in the Sloop - A Pizza Review and a Carjacking

Just a bizzaro video on so many fronts - but namely the carjacking:

So many questions and not enough answers.  NBC5 has some additional info but we still are puzzled:
According to Chicago police, a 27-year-old man observed his vehicle on the street within an unknown male offender inside. The victim then flagged down officers in a nearby marked Chicago Police Department squad vehicle, which was seen in the Barstool Sports video.

The offender then accelerated and struck the rear of the squad vehicle before fleeing, police officials added.

As the theft didn't involve force, it was classified as a motor vehicle theft and not a carjacking, according to the Chicago Police Department.

No injuries were reported, and the incident remained under investigation by detectives Saturday.

We actually drove by that spot right around that time as there were about 3 police cars on the scene.  At the time we didn't know much...but just crazy stuff.

Stay safe Sloopsters!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

#ShotsAroundTheSloop: A Year

The Tribune has a visual article on various pictures over the last year and it reminds us how crazy the last year has been on so many fronts.  Below is a pic from the Sloop:

May 7, 2020: Jen Majerus waves a flashlight on the balcony of her State Street high-rise condo in the South Loop while participating in the Chicago Unite at Night singalong and light show in honor of International Nurses Week. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

Friday, March 12, 2021

Congrats to the South Loop Elementary Students for Positively Representing the Sloop in !

This is fun to see - congrats to all the great South Loop debaters (via South Loop Elementary School):

Chicago Debate League City Championship Tournament

Congratulations to our South Loop Students who participated in the City Championship Tournament!  to our South Loop Students who participated in the City Championship Tournament!  

Novice Team-11th Place, Kinley Lazare and Zainab Ahmad.

JV Speaker – 13th Place – Ruhi Agrawal

Varsity Speaker – 3rd Place Matthew Pfeiffer and 1st Place Maya Agrawal

Varsity Team – 1st Place – Maya Agrawal and Matthew Pfeiffer

Special thanks to Coach Rishi Agrawal and Baiju Malde Chauhan 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

One Central Development Gets Necessary (but Neutral) Endorsement from Metra

The massive One Central Development - aiming to build a development over the train tracks just west of Soldier Field - continues to make moves and news.  This time with Metra (
Bob Dunn, president of Landmark Development, said he had reached an agreement with Metra that would govern work to build “above, alongside and beneath” the Metra Electric tracks without disrupting commuter operations. His project foresees more than 9,000 residences, a hotel and office space built on air rights over the tracks.

Without spending of its own, Metra would get a maintenance yard and a replacement of its 18th Street station. It would be part of a $3.8 billion transit connection for the CTA and Amtrak that Dunn’s firm would build, taking the financial risk, and the state would eventually buy. Dunn has proposed putting a new CTA station at the site but discussions are still in an early stage.

Dunn said the project’s long-term nature and its design that requires the transit and civic improvements come first work in its favor. “You’re going to see multiple turns in the economy” over the life of the project, he told the Sun-Times Editorial Board. “A pandemic is a different factor than we’ve contended with before, but it’s not totally novel.”

He said market analyses show many economic impacts of COVID-19 will be short term. Dunn said he hopes to deliver the transit piece in 2025, before any high-rise development can begin. “We actually believe that it will time well during the COVID recovery period and then the growth that we believe will follow,” he said.
While many of the comments from Metra seem neutral, at least they seem open to the discussion - which obviously is needed to progress here.  

One things stands out is the 2025 timeline for delivering the transit elements.  According to Dunn that would be one of the first things done (it's referred to as the 'civic' elements of the development).  Maybe it's not surprising that he's shooting for 4 years away, but it just goes to show how massive of an undertaking this would be.  We still have our doubts about feasibility and need, but you have to admire their vision. 

The article has some other tidbits worth reading if you're interested in some of the thinking around the  transit elements of the vision.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

St. Charles Railroad Demolition & Work at Michigan Ave Happening Through Sunday (3/14)

A little late on this one, but in case you're out and about be mindful that a stretch of Michigan Avenue is going to be closed until Sunday, March 14th.  Or maybe if you have kids you can get an hour of entertainment by letting them watch the work?  We got the info sheet below from PDNA's facebook page:

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

JS Blossom Salon Opening at 718 South State

Mr. South Loop has the beat (and discount) on a new salon opening at 718 South State.  For more info on the business you can click here -

Monday, March 8, 2021

Royals in the News After Oprah Interview - A Sloop Connection?

With all the palace intrigue swirling around the interwebs last night and today given Oprah's bombshell interview of Megan and Harry, we thought we would take the opportunity to bring it home.  Granted - this post is a bit of a stretch but here we go.

So the connection to the story about Megan and Harry doesn't have anything to do with the Sloop (as far as we can tell).  The current story is sad and unfortunate and whatever you make of it more drama feeding the Royal Industrial Media Complex.  We aren't going to wade in those waters because frankly that's not our place and we're not experts (or that interested).  However, the royal family and its likeness has some proximity to our neighborhood with a landmark in Grant Park.  

Maybe you're thinking Buckingham Fountain given its shared name with Buckingham Palace.  However, you'd be wrong (see more info on who Buckingham Fountain is named after here).  It's close though - just across Lake Shore Drive is the "Queen's Landing":

It's a pretty unimpressive 'piece of concrete', but serves some role in Chicago's history (via Chicago Tribune):

Mayor Richard J. Daley invited the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, to Chicago to celebrate the city's emergence as one of the world's leading seaports following the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the summer of 1959.

The queen's visit, which occurred during the city's International Trade Fair in July 1959, marked the first time a reigning British monarch had come to Chicago. The royal couple sailed down the new seaway in the royal yacht Britannia and were brought ashore by a royal barge.

As Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor write in their biography of Daley, more than a million people gathered along the shores of Lake Michigan to greet the queen and prince. Joining the Britannia was a fleet of seven warships and hundreds of smaller craft, including two Chinese junks.

You can find some more info about the Queen's visit on wikipedia if you'd like to go a little deeper.  We did and found an interesting fact about the world's longest red carpet being rolled out for them on Navy Pier.

Anyway, with the Royals in the news thought we'd bring the story home for you in the Sloop!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Motor Row Brewery Closes Down, but Makes Way for Duneyrr at 2337 S. Michigan

Sorry to read this story, but maybe a new flower will grow (via Chicago Tribune):

Motor Row Brewing is no more, felled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its place will be ambitious twin brewing concepts: Duneyrr, whose arcane name reflects its arcane pursuit of creating wild ales and beer-wine hybrids, and Moderne Dune, which will tread a far more accessible path with a focus on lagers and IPAs.

The new concepts, at 2337 S. Michigan Ave. in the South Loop, will be run by veteran Lagunitas brewer Tyler Davis and his partner Katie O’Hern, who helped run the Chicago taprooms for Lagunitas and Ballast Point.

Duneyrr (pronounced “dune-yer”) has had small amounts of beer in the market since September, contract brewed at Motor Row. Moderne Dune has yet to launch.

As Duneyrr began brewing at Motor Row last summer, Motor Row’s business had become paralyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Duneyrr eventually negotiated to take over the operation, buying the brewing equipment and leasing the space from Motor Row founder Bob Lassandrello.

We were very bullish on Motor Row Brewery and thought it could provide a shot in the arm for the much discussed "entertainment district".  Actually we first posted about this back in 2011 and at the time the brewery was going to be called Broad Shoulders Brewery

If you want a trip down memory lane go read that post from 2011 (and about how Cheap Trick was going to open a concert venue down on Michigan Ave).  To be fair, Michigan Avenue south of Cermak has evolved and seems to be heading towards the vision that was discussed.  But it still has a ways to go.

Regardless, thanks to the crew at Motor Row Brewing for pushing the neighborhood forward and looking forward to a time when we can enjoy some brew with friends at Duneyrr.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Will Chicago Get Lucky and Have Lolla Back in 2021?

Are we getting ahead of ourselves?  Maybe...but it's fun to dream.

We recently read about Mayor Lightfoot's comments regarding a question about summer events and festivals possibly happening (via Chicago Tribune):

Live Nation acquired Austin-based C3 Presents, the company that puts on Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. Chicago’s Lollapalooza was canceled in 2020, and the company and city officials have not yet commented on any 2021 summer festivals. A spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said, “City of Chicago departments are considering options for summer events that follow all city and state health guidelines.”

Friday morning, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office released this statement about summer festivals in 2021: “While we are not formally planning nor permitting events at this time, our COVID-19 indicators continue to trend in the right direction and we are hopeful that some events that align with health guidelines may be possible later this year. As such, Mayor Lightfoot has directed City departments to prepare for the possibility of events this summer and ensure any resources that could be necessary are available.”

The article cites that Live Nation is selling tickets for some large festivals in the UK this summer.

So will Lolla happen in our backyard this year?  Our bet - don't count on it.

That said, maybe we can open our windows this summer, flip on our (smart) TV, turn up the speakers and watch your favorite concert from the past.  

Ours is the iconic Daft Punk set from 2007 - which seems appropriate to share since they just officially "broke-up" and since the full Lolla concert was just magically posted to YouTube in HD.  Could Chicago get lucky (pun intended)!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Covid-19 Mass Vaccination Site to Open Tomorrow at United Center

While this isn't necessarily a specific Sloop story, we still think it's important to highlight positive developments on the front to fight Covid-19.  As was reported a couple days ago, the United Center is going to serve as a mass vaccination site run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - via Chicago Tribune

Officials announced last week the United Center would open up and inoculate 6,000 people per day against the coronavirus, with those 65 or older going first. The mass vaccination site was a joint effort by local, state and federal governments to help vaccination rates in older Illinoisans and communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will play the leading role in operating the site, with shots administered in tents in Parking Lot E at the northeast corner of the stadium. The site is scheduled to be open for eight weeks under the federal program.

Illinois residents age 65 or older can start making appointments for the United Center mass vaccination site Thursday morning, officials announced Tuesday.

The site on the Near West Side won’t open until March 9 — a day earlier than officials had announced last week — but registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Arwady said.

Starting that day, there will be more than 110,000 slots for those 65 or older, who can register at or call 312-746-4835, Arwady said. The call center will be monitored Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Through a city partnership with Uber, 20,000 free rides also will be available to those residents who need help getting to the appointment and back after they sign up.

If there are still open slots by 4 p.m. Sunday, the United Center site will allow sign-ups for the rest of Illinois residents under phase 1b, which includes front-line workers in essential industries and, for most non-Cook County residents, adults with existing health conditions.

The United Center will be administering the Pfizer vaccine, and the 110,000 appointments opening up later this week will be for the rest of March, with more to come afterward. For the first couple of weeks, residents will walk into large, climate-controlled tents for their injections, and drive-in appointments will possibly be added in the third week so people can stay in their cars, Arwady said.

“The bottom line is: Get ready to make your appointments,” she said.

While you may not be eligible in this immediate round of vaccinations, it does seem like things are progressing and it's just a matter of time.

We're unsure if any vaccinations are being administered in the Sloop currently, but clearly there are a bunch of locations around the city that are and the United Center is a short drive (or CTA ride) away.

So as the last line of the blurb says - get ready! 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

City's Speed Camera Program Reinstated ; Where are the Sloop's Cameras?

You may have heard that the city is restarting the "speeding camera" initiative as a way to generate some of the lost revenue brought on by Covid-19.  So what does that mean for us in the Sloop?  It appears there is only one camera in the immediate neighborhood, but it's unclear if that will be "turned off" given this statement in the Chicago Tribune:

With new, more strict rules for Chicago speed cameras, a driver can get ticketed for going 6 mph over the limit.

In the first week of the grace period that started in January, 52,498 warning notices were sent out, according to the Finance Department. The change could be lucrative for the city, according to a Tribune report.

There are 140 cameras across the city tracking vehicle speeds, according to city Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Claffey. Those cameras are in safety zones near schools and parks. There are 21 cameras in high school speed zones that will still be shut off, Claffey said.

You can see a zoomed in screenshot of our neighborhood below:

You can play around with the interactive map at this link.  The one "Sloop" camera is by Jones College Prep High School - so will that be shut off?  Does anyone know?

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Columbia Chronicle Talks to Students About Pauly's Pizzeria Closing

We recently posted about Pauly's Pizzeria closing after a 20 year run on State Street.  The Columbia Chronicle recently had an article talking about it's role with its students:

As of Monday, Feb. 15, Pauly’s Pizza, 719 S. State St., is closed permanently, leaving frequenting students saddened with the unexpected closure.

Pauly’s, a local South Loop pizza hot spot, was more than just a restaurant for Columbia students. It was admired for its large portions, cheap prices and quality food.

“I will speak of Pauly’s Pizza for the rest of my life,” said Thurston Stevenson, a senior comedy writing and performance major. “I’m grateful for the memories and the food that I got there while I could; it will live on in my memories forever.”

We understand the sentiment and nostalgia for your favorite college pizza spot closing.  Luckily for these students there are a ton of options close by.  

Was Pauly's much cheaper than say Pat's on Clark street or Art of Pizza a couple retail spots down on State street?  Hopefully it doesn't break the bank for them.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Smoothie RX Opens at 1503 S. Michigan

A reader writes:

Any information on Smoothie Rx opening in old tanning place next to Weathermark.

The short answer from us is no we don't have much information.  Upon doing some research online, it seems like there isn't much information out their on Smoothie RX.  We did find a relatively simple website that would appear to provide some basic info:

A smoothie a day keeps the doctor away

Our website will be launching soon, but…

our juice clinic is open for business!

The location of Smoothie RX is 1503 S. Michigan.  You can order online and check their hours, so it seems as if they're functioning (albeit just starting out).  There is also a fun gif showing carrots (or what we presume are carrots) being juiced.

Does anyone else have any insight or perspective on this place?

(Hat tip:  LK!) 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Le Petite Foxes - Located at 1550 S. State - Provides Pediatric Therapy For All Ages

While Le Petite Foxes opened in 2020, we haven't posted about but wanted to bring some attention to their business.  You can find out more at their website here, but to some it up the provide:

Pediatric therapy for all ages to promote independence, build confidence, strengthen social skills, and inspire adventures.

The business is located at 1550 S. State in suite 102, but it sounds like they can do virtual sessions if desired.

The approach to therapy is summed up in three areas:


Le Petite foxes is passionate about discovering the uniqueness of each child to build on their strengths while encouraging them to stretch and grow where needed. Our sessions are carefully and thoughtfully created with your child and family's unique needs in mind.


Inspiring children and families to embrace individuality, build strong relationships, and develop strong social skills. Each session is focused on including the whole family so that children are supported at home, school, and their community.


Children learn through play and their environment. We treasure providing children with the essentials needed to develop meaningful play that is spontaneous, enjoyable, and motivating. Our sessions can take place at home, in our therapy gym, in the community, or at school.

While they've been around for awhile, please join me in welcoming them to the Sloop!  Glad to have them in the neighborhood. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

City Announces Lakefront and Playgrounds Will Begin to Reopen

Well this is an encouraging development (via Chicago Tribune):

The Chicago Park District was expected to announce Tuesday the city’s lakefront, playgrounds and indoor aquatics centers will begin to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to close nearly a year ago, according to the mayor’s office.

The decision comes after the city’s Health Department and Mayor Lori Lightfoot Monday touted the city’s test positivity rate dipped to 3.4%, “the lowest the city has been since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the agency posted on social media.

The lakefront, its associated parking lots and public access points leading to park property east of Lake Shore Drive are to be reopened by Chicago Park District crews, according to an email from a city spokesman. The popular public spaces began to close last March, when city playgrounds also were locked. They weren’t reopened in the spring even when other venues reopened after the statewide coronavirus lockdown.

The sun is shinning and the snow is melting, it's a great feeling to think we might be heading to the lakeshore and parks soon!

Monday, February 22, 2021

525 S. Wabash Development Going Back to the Drawing Board

Last week we posted about a development plan at 525 S. Wabash going to Chicago Plan Commission.  Well apparently that one is going back to the drawing board (via Chicago Architecture):

In a memo to his constituents, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly conveyed the news that the developer of 525 South Wabash Avenue, e-Terra+, has decided to pull its project from the log flume of City Hall approval.  The project was designed by Minneapolis-based BKV Group.

Mr. Reilly says the north suburban developer wants to revise the plan and try again.

So sounds like this one is slowing down.  We'll stay tuned on whether or not this moves forward.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Family of High-Profile Illinois Men's Basketball Guard Calls the Sloop Home

If you're like us, cold winter nights provide opportunities to watch TV and sports.  We love college basketball and noticed a story about one of the best players on the Illinois Men's Basketball team and his connection to the Sloop (via

The familiar sound of the ‘L’ fills the cold Chicago air on a calm Tuesday night in the South Loop. But the cheers from the Dosunmu family ring for all to hear.

“We cheer, we jump, we scream, we do it all,” Quam Dosunmu said.

This is is the new normal for the family of Illinois’ best player. Ayo’s biggest fans have watched every game together this season from the comfort of their couch. They’d rather be cheering from State Farm Center or any opposing arena on the Illini’s schedule across the country, but COVID-19 has kept them in the Windy City. It’s a big change for Ayo’s parents Quam and Jamarra, who never missed a game, traveling everywhere from Hawaii to Italy to see their son play.

This isn't the only high-profile college basketball player with connections to the Sloop.  As you may remember, Anthony Davis - who was arguably one of the best players in the country as a college student and is now a top 10 player in the NBA - played ball for Perspectives Charter School.

Anyway - if you don't have a team in the upcoming NCAA tourney maybe you can get behind a neighbor!