Friday, April 30, 2021

Moody Tongue (2515 S. Wabash) Achieves Rare Two Stars from Michelin Guide

Wow - big moves by the crew at Moody Tongue Brewery at 2515 S. Wabash!  They earned a prestigious recognition by the crew at Michelin (via Curbed):

Alinea in Lincoln Park remains Chicago’s only three-starred restaurant. The full three stars is a rare honor that’s been bestowed on about 130 restaurants worldwide. There was speculation that Smyth (two stars) in Fulton Market would join chef Grant Achatz’s restaurant, but that didn’t happen. In a rare move, Michelin did award two stars to a pair of new restaurants during their first year of eligibility: Ever and Moody Tongue.

The post on Curbed Chicago goes on about Moody:

Meanwhile, near McCormick Place, Moody Tongue effectively replaces Band of Bohemia as Chicago’s only Michelin-starred brewpub. Moody Tongue relocated from Pilsen, not only moving its brewing operations but also adding a full-service restaurant with a tasting menu. The brewery also brought over Jared Wentworth, a chef who presided over Longman & Eagle in Logan Square during its Michelin-starred days.

While many were optimistic that they would earn a star from Michelin, getting a second star in their first year puts them at the top of the game in Chicago.  For this year's iteration of the list there are only six restaurants in the whole area earning two or more stars:

Three Stars


Two Stars


Ever (first year)

Moody Tongue (first year)



If you're a perceptive reader, you will also know that the Sloop's other highly regarded restaurant - Acadia - also is on the list.  That does come as a bit of a surprise given some of the controversy surrounding the restaurant and owner/chef Ryan McCaskey.  As a reminder, there have been allegations of a toxic work environment at Acadia and the restaurant has been closed throughout most of the pandemic.  McCaskey wants to reopen but that remains unclear how and when.

Also of note, the longstanding French staple just north of the Sloop - Everest is off the list.  They closed after a super long run at the end of 2020.  Everest was a consistent Michelin one star restaurant since the inception of the list. 

But the big story is Moody Tongue.  Sure, it's debatable whether or not we can claim them since in our opinion they are technically a little south of the Sloop, but it's not hard to get down to their establishment from the Sloop (although it might be harder to get a table or reservation now....).

As a reminder, word came down in March of 2019 that the Moody Tongue crew would be moving into the space formerly occupied by the Baderbrau Brewery.  They officially opened late in 2019 and all the reviews were very favorable.  The Tribune suspected a Michelin star was in their grasp and Eater Chicago struck a similar sentiment.

Everything we were reading and seeing had us excited.  Just take a look at some of these pictures:

Another interesting twist is the fact that "brewpubs" aren't usually looked upon as favorably as traditional dining concepts.  Despite that perceived challenge it makes Moody's achievement that much more impressive and unique.

Unfortunately we still haven't had a chance to try them out.  We actually had a reservation in April of 2020, but then the pandemic happened - ugh!  Really looking forward to heading down there...assuming we can get in.

Congrats to the crew at Moody Tongue and glad to have you in close proximity to the Sloop! 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

New Mexican Restaurant Moving Into Former SRO Restaurant Space on Dearborn

Mr. South Loop's instagram has an update on a new Mexican restaurant coming to the heart of Printers Row.  As a reminder, Standing Room Only (SRO) closed in the midst of the pandemic at this 610 S. Dearborn location:

Looking forward to seeing what type of Mexican concept will come to this space.  There are already a handful of quick service taco places in the area - Flacos Tacos (725 S. Dearborn), Taco Maya (823 S. State), and Spanglish (555 S. State) to name a few.  Needless to say, hopefully the new restaurant has some form of differentiation.

Regardless, great to see another restaurant coming to an important, high-profile stretch of the neighborhood.   

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Alderman King Hosts South Loop Cleanup this Saturday from 10a-1p (May 1st)

It feels like Spring and as such, here is a great event to help clean up the Sloop.  This event is being hosted Alderman Sophia King on May 1st (this Saturday).  You can sign-up at this link.  Registration is requested, but not mandatory if you just want to stop by and pitch in.  

(Hat tip: MM!)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Lao Sze Chuan Continues to Expand Out of Chinatown; "Soft" Opens at 616 S. Wabash

One of our favorite Chinatown restaurants - Lao Sze Chaun - is apparently softly opening according to a reader on Hello South Loop:

Here is the "soft opening" menu for South Loop's Lao Sze Chuan, where we ate tonight.  The restaurant is attractive, with tables/booths well-spaced apart.  The food and service are wonderful.  Although not ready yet, there will be a bar.  Highly recommend!

It's interesting to see another Chinatown restaurant expand/move further north away from the core of Chinatown.  Ming Hin opened a huge restaurant at 1234 S. Michigan in 2020.  Additionally My Place moved out of a Chinatown location in favor of a 1307 S. Wabash location in the Sloop. 

Best of luck to the crew at Lao Sze Chaun and welcome to the Sloop!

(Hat tip: SR!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Eater Chicago Gives Some Love to Grail Cafe as a Best Coffeshop to Work From

We see you Grail Cafe (via Eater Chicago - The Best Coffeeshops to Work From in Chicago):

11. The Grail Cafe

715 S Dearborn St

Chicago, IL 60605

This Printer’s Row cafe is ideal for a satisfying and light meal. Creative coffee and teas, a fun French and creole-inspired menu, and friendly service make the Grail Cafe one of most complete restaurants in Chicago.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Popular Local Stalwart - Kroll's South Loop - Teases Reopening this Spring

Covid closures continue to be a thing, but hopefully Covid reopenings will become a new trend.  

For us Sloopsters, we got an early taste of the this (potential) trend as the popular sports bar teased on social media some news:

Kroll's said they were closing in August of 2020.  At that time there were so many uncertainties around the pandemic that the rationale was easy to fathom.  They did leave the potential for a reopening, but that's always easier said than done.

We do know that they have some new things in the work for the spring reopening, so excited to see what that may entail.  As a reminder, they went through a large renovation in the summer of 2019 which modernized the spot as well as revamped the menu and back room.

This is some great news and excited to have them back!   

Monday, April 19, 2021

Vote Early and Often for the Wabash Arts Corridor in USA Today Arts District Competition

Our favorite WAC piece by Hebru Brantley (now covered up by new apartment building)

The Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) is by far one of our favorite things about the Sloop.  If you've been here for awhile you may remember that back in 2013 this district was announced.  We were very excited about the idea and fast forward to 2021 and we believe this has lived up to it's promise - dare we say exceeded it!

Especially during the pandemic - when outside activities are especially valued - the Wabash Arts Corridor gives neighbors and visitors a chance to appreciate the Sloop and some art.

All that said, we writing this post to encourage everyone to go vote as WAC is in a USA Today national competition for the "best arts district" and it looks like we're lagging behind some other places that we're confident we can/should beat.

If you're still reading and curious about what the Wabash Arts Corridor is, here is a video:

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!)