Thursday, May 27, 2021

Advance Uniform on 13th Street Going Out of Business

 Looks like Advance Uniform is going out of business at their 33 e 13th location:

We've never been in the store, but longtime Sloopin readers (or residents) might remember that this business used to be up at 1132 S. Wabash:

They moved out of this location in 2013 and since then this building has received a major facelift.  The restaurant space is now home to seafood broil restaurant Low Country and the office space above actually housed Pete Buttigieg's Chicago office for his presidential campaign.  

It was a good run for Advance Uniform.  

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Chicago Native Son and Former Bull, Jabari Parker Emerges as Buyer of Historic House on Prairie Avenue

An interesting buyer has emerged for a historic property in the Sloop (via Chicago Tribune):

Former Chicago Bulls forward Jabari Parker, a native son who led Simeon Career Academy to four straight state championships, paid $2.3 million for an eight-bedroom, 10,660-square-foot vintage mansion in the Prairie District on the Near South Side.

A South Shore native, Parker, 26, began his NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks and then played for the Bulls for one year. He now plays for the Boston Celtics.

The house is a beaut, but curious to see what his plans are for the prominent property.  If you recall, we posted about this sale back in January and before it was know who the buyer was, the real estate agent said that the buyer "intends to use the house as a single family home".

Welcome to the Sloop Jabari and crew!

(Hat tip: PB!)

Monday, May 24, 2021

Insomnia Cookies Coming Soon to 30 East Balbo

 Dessert fans rejoice - looks like Insomnia Cookies is moving into the Sloop (30 E Balbo Drive):

If you've never heard of Insomnia Cookies it is a hugely popular and decadent shop with locations across the country.  It was founded back in 2003 in Philadelphia according to wikipedia and has been going strong ever since.

Welcome to the Sloop and looking forward to trying some of your deliciousness!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Chicago Duplicate Bridge Moving Into Dearborn Station

Not going to lie - don't know much about bridge, but looks like there is a new club coming to Dearborn Station:

Chicago’s largest duplicate bridge club, Chicago Duplicate Bridge, is moving into Dearborn Station in the South Loop, in July. CDB was located on the near north side, until COVID caused it to close in March of 2020. The club holds afternoon games 7 days a week and evening games Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lessons for beginners and various levels of experienced players are also offered.  The club should bring hundreds of people into the South Loop every week.  CDB is taking over the space formerly occupied by the yarn store in Dearborn Station.

We're sure the businesses in the area like the sound of hundreds of people coming to the neighborhood every week.

As a reminder, Yarnify moved to 633 S. Plymouth ct last year.  With that a prime retail spot opened in Dearborn Station that faces Polk.  

If you're a bridge player or curious about Chicago Duplicate Bridge you can check their webpage here.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Covid Be Damned! Lolla is Coming Back to Grant Park July 29th to Aug 1st

So...Lollapalooza....still can't believe it's coming back this summer.  Maybe I've outgrown the fest as I'm more curious about the covid admission policy compared to the lineup (via Tribune):

Post Malone, Tyler the Creator, Miley Cyrus and The Foo Fighters will be among the headliners when Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park for its 30th anniversary July 29-August 1. The festival returns at full capacity after a year away due to the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees at this year’s festival must be fully vaccinated or provide a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 24 hours of each festival day.

Definitely some goodness in the lineup.  Tyler the Creator continues to intrigue in our opinion and is probably the most interesting headliner.  Mr. Tyler has been to Lolla before and had a memorable performance.  If you're not familiar with him, his Grammy performance stands out as one of the most unique we've ever seen:

But really - this picture makes me anxious about the pandemic:

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Trib Touts Soul & Smoke BBQ - a Restaurant Operating Out of South Loop Food Company Ghost Kitchen

Chicago Tribune has some pretty kind words about Soul & Smoke BBQ.  While they're not based in the Sloop, they're actually operating an outpost out of the ghost kitchen in the neighborhood:

People started lining up for pickup orders at the couple’s commissary kitchen in Evanston. They launched a Soul & Smoke food truck that makes stops in the city and other suburbs. Virtual kitchens in Avondale and the South Loop approached them about offering their barbecue, which the couple agreed to do. Eventually, they had to buy a bigger Cookshack smoker.

If you're not familiar with the ghost kitchen, there is a business called "South Loop Food Company" at 2357 S. Wabash.  Lots of options for delivery if you're looking for something.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Huge "You Got This" Sign Installed on Rooftop Park at Roosevelt Collection

We received this email and certainly can get behind mental health awareness:

A message of encouragement this Mental Health Awareness Month, Roosevelt Collection Shops in the South Loop has partnered with the wildly popular “You Are Beautiful” initiative, known for beautifying the city with encouraging art, to install the group’s largest 3D project to date atop the center’s spacious outdoor rooftop overlooking the city skyline. Might you be interested in sharing the news or an interview with a Roosevelt Collection team member about the project? I've attached photos for your consideration. 

A 31 x 8 foot installation installed by the initiative's founder Matthew Hoffman, the piece reads “You Got This” in large letters to show togetherness this Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond. The installation benefits NAMI, a Chicago-based organization fighting for families and individuals impacted by mental health conditions. Visitors are encouraged to donate to NAMI via signage surrounding the installation. For more information on Roosevelt Collection Shops or the initiative, please visit

Big hat tip to Roosevelt Collection.  The retail game is tough and they continually get creative with their property and programs.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

GoGrocers Adding 3rd Location to the Sloop at 820 S. Michigan

Looks like another convience store is coming to Michigan Avenue:
Nice to see them adding another spot, that said it baffles us how much demand there is for these types of stores.  Sure it's convienient to stay in your building and buy some basic stuff, but couldn't you just a go a block or two in any direction?  Guess not.

By our account, this is GoGrocers 3rd location on Michigan avenue in the South Loop.  All three are within 7 blocks of each other:  1255 S. Michigan, 1400 S. Michigan, and now 820 S. Michigan.  

It's a nice store.  Glad to see them continuing to invest in the neighborhood!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Joffrey Ballet Expanding Into the Sloop with Purchase of Studio at 1920 S. Wabash

Looks like a Chicago institution is expanding into the Sloop (via Joffrey Website):
The Joffrey Ballet is pleased to announce the establishment of new studio space and training facilities at 1920 South Wabash Avenue (formerly the Chicago Dance Academy studios), expanding the Joffrey’s reach to the South Loop and beyond, and marking a major step towards the completion of the organization’s five-year “Joffrey for All” strategic plan.

The expansion of Joffrey’s presence includes the purchase and re-energizing of the former studios of the Chicago Dance Academy, located at 1920 South Wabash Avenue. The space totals 5,314 square feet, with fully equipped studios with sprung floors, harlequin surfaces, and professional-grade sound equipment. The space—which conforms with all American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements—also includes a reception desk and waiting area, as well as two large locker rooms and break room with an expansive foyer, with nearby access to public parking and Chicago Transit Authority Green and Red Lines stops (within a two-block radius) and several CTA bus routes.
A nice addition to the neighborhood.  Welcome to the Sloop Joffrey!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Developers of 1000M Look to Restart Project this Fall

The saga continues at 1000M high-rise (via Urbanize Chicago):

Construction work on "1000M," at stalled 73-story residential high-rise at 1000 S. Michigan Avenue, could resume as early as this fall, its developers revealed Wednesday at a virtual community meeting hosted by Ald. Sophia King.

New York-based developers Time Equities, JK Equities, and Oak Capitals were forced to hit pause on the Helmut Jahn-designed project last summer when sluggish condo sales combined with pandemic-related economic uncertainty led lender Goldman Sachs to pull its financing for the estimated $470 million skyscraper.

Besides the drama of the go-stop-go of this project, an unfortunate piece of news emerged over the weekend as the famed architect of this proposed building and many others - Helmut Jahn - was killed in a bike accident in the northern suburbs. Jahn was 81.

Not sure what that means for this building, but would be nice to see this one actually happen given this sad piece of news.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Would the Bears Really Leave Solider Field?

Some head scratching news came out last week about our favorite NFL neighbor (via CBSsports): 

The Chicago Bears have been playing at Soldier Field since 1971, but that's something that could be changing in the near future. The Bears are apparently thinking about relocating to Arlington Heights, which is a suburb that sits roughly 30 miles outside of Chicago. 

 For the Bears, the allure of Arlington Heights comes from the fact that the city is about to have 326 acres available where a new stadium could be built. The land is currently occupied by the Arlington Park race track, but that building is likely going to be sold in the coming months with the expectation that the new buyer is going to tear it down and re-develop the site.

It seems crazy to think that the Chicago Bears are seriously considering leaving the iconic Soldier Field for a new stadium in ARLINGTON! 

One of the often cited knocks on Soldier field is capacity: 

Soldier Field opened in 1924 and hasn't undergone any sort of major renovation since 2003. The stadium only seats 61,500 and due to spacial constraints, it's unlikely that number will ever be expanded by much, which might be one reason why the Bears eventually make the move to Arlington Heights.

According to wikipedia, Soldier Field is the smallest stadium in the NFL.  Most are in the range of 70,000 - 80,000 seating capacity.  And as most things in the world - but especially in professional sports - money talks.

That said, the conventional wisdom we've heard and read about makes it seem as if this is a negotiation tactic.  For reference, when the Cubs were trying to get the city to allow for some renovations at Wrigley Field, there were reports that the ownership was considering moving to Rosemont!  Sure there are some pros to moving to the burbs, but one of the best assets either of these teams have are their stadium and location in Chicago.

A couple things to remember.  First, Lori Lightfoot recently addressed the rumor and brought up a couple things:

“I've seen a couple of reports. But a couple of data points that I think you should be aware of are the Bears have a lease with Soldier Field until 2033 and the NFL doesn't let any teams break their leases,” Lightfoot said.

“I was just on a call with a senior leadership in the last two weeks. So there are things that they'd like to see differently at Soldier Field, and we want to do whatever we can to accommodate it,” Lightfoot said. “It's a great iconic site, but it's a challenging site.”

Lightfoot was also asked if she believes the Bears are revisiting the idea of potentially relocating as leverage to boost capacity in Soldier Field.

“I think it's incumbent upon us as a city to step up and look at ways in which we can make sure that Bears fans, but also the Bears as an organization, have the best opportunities to maximize the fan experience and of course, maximize revenues. So we're going to keep those conversations going,” Lightfoot said.

Interesting that Lightfoot struck a cordial tone on the topic.  She made it seem like it's on the city to make it work for the Bears organization - which isn't exactly what we expected her to say out of the gate.

One side note that seems related to this story is the gigantic One Central development that is planned just west of Soldier Field.  That development seems hard to fathom in the current world with Covid-19, but if you think about when the Bears contract is up (2033) - could that development vision align with the city's need to "maximize the fan experience" for Bears fans and the organization?   

It still seems like a long shot that One Central will happen, but maybe if it's a way to keep the Bears at Soldier Field it might get a shot in the arm?  Time will tell.

Anyone have thoughts on this one?

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Neighborhood Favorite - Kroll's (1736 S. Michigan) - Reopening Today, May 6th

A couple weeks back we posted about a local favorites decision to reopen.  And just like that Kroll's South Loop (1736 S. Michigan) is back:
This is exciting on many levels.  First off, word on the street is they're retooling some items on the menu and in their kitchen - including a new food fire pizza oven.  

Even more exciting is the fact that they're coming back.  As the neighborhood continues to evolve in numerous ways, it's good to have such a solid, neighborhood oriented bar and restaurant.  Welcome back Kroll's and looking forward to coming over soon!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Is Two-Story Nondescript Parking Garage at 801 S. Wabash a Crime Magnet?

We've walked by this parking lot a thousand times and never thought twice about it.  That has all changed thanks to this article (via

A nondescript two-story parking garage in the Loop is generating a lot of work for police and prosecutors lately. Since April 1, cops have made three arrests, recovered two guns, and seized a lot of pot and other drugs at the easy-to-miss garage at 801 South Wabash, according to prosecutors. It’s the same garage where a 16-year-old boy was fatally shot in November.

On top of all of that, police last month included the garage on a list of downtown parking facilities that were being targeted in a wave of auto break-ins across the Loop. Perhaps because of those burglaries, cops have been paying more attention to the garage lately.

The article gives some more details, but still has us scratching our head as to why this is such a magnate for crime.  Anyone have any insight?  Is it low cost?  Low surveillance?

Monday, May 3, 2021

With Warm Weather Here Comes the Obnoxiously Loud Motorcycle Groups

It was a beautiful spring weekend and while the temperature is pleasant, the deafening sound of modified exhaust motorcycles engulfs the city and Sloop.  It's been problem for years now, but there has been some recent news about ways the city and police are intending to make some changes to curtail this nuisance (via Chicago Sun-Times):

With temperatures rising and motorcycle engines revving, Chicago aldermen launched another crackdown Friday to stop motorcycle clubs from wreaking life-threatening havoc on Lake Shore Drive and city streets.

The City Council’s Committee on Public Safety approved an ordinance championed by Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) empowering Chicago Police officers to impound motorcycles, dirt bikes and other “nonhighway vehicles” accused of drifting and drag racing.

The ordinance would also impose stiff fines against motorcyclists who operate without license plates.

In January 2020, CPD vowed to “swarm” motorcycle rally points and use helicopters, license plate recognition cameras and noise monitors on Lake Shore Drive to stop motorcycle clubs from continuing to wreak havoc.

The article discusses some of the challenges in a dealing with these issues, but also talks about where the police have had success:

Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said the idea of surrounding motorcyclists stopped at gas stations has been tried before with great success.

“The BP Amoco at Lasalle and Ontario, for example. We used to meet them there and basically block them in the lot. We’d have a Streets and San flatbed. And they would remove stolen motorcycles. They would recover weapons, drugs. They’d get DUI arrests. It was a total jackpot for crime statistics,” Reilly said.

“Those have fallen off. I’m not sure why. But they were effective, and they did send a message when we did them early in the season.”

If you're not familiar with this phenomenon you probably don't live in the area as it's something that is almost impossible to miss.  Regardless, ABC7 has a video that talks to the issue and showcases the what happens:

Hopefully there is serious action vs. just talk this year. Noise nuisance is annoying, but swerving through traffic and going on sidewalks is simply a public hazard. 

In some sense we feel that the bikers view this as a game (to be fair it looks and feels like a video game in our eyes).  The police deterrent element is just a facet of the game, so it seems like they need to have some serious consequences to stop them.  Hopefully the city and police adequately respond.