Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Facade Work at Southbridge Development on South State Complete

Looks like more progress at Southbridge (via Yimby):

Facade work is approaching completion at Southbridge Phase I, which comprises of two six-story buildings located at 2310 S State Street and 2344 S State Street in Chicago’s Near South Side.

McShane Powers Joint Venture is serving as general contractor for the current phase, though it is unclear if the company will be involved in the remaining Southbridge work. Completion and move-ins are expected for later this year.

This stretch of the Sloop has been vacant for awhile and certainly has an infamous past with the Harold Ickes homes.  It will be interesting to see if this development with change the general vibe in the area along State.  

It sure seems like there is momentum south of Cermak, but it still has a long way to go.

(Hat tip:  TC!)

Monday, June 28, 2021

Apolonia in Motor Row Earns Praise from the Tribune

Despite some delays in decorating the restaurant, Apolonia, one of the new highly anticipated restaurants in Motor Row (2201 S. Michigan), earns praise from the Tribune's food critic:
Though not all the details line up yet at Apolonia (decorations in the dining room), after two visits, I felt the kitchen was improving rapidly in real time. Gillanders noted the cucumber-and-watermelon salad has inspired other dishes going on the menu soon, which is genuinely exciting.
The review is a good read if you can access the Tribune behind their paywall.  One thing that got our attention was this description of bread!
Without Apolonia, we wouldn’t be collectively devouring the restaurant’s most popular dish, the black truffle puff bread ($16). Developed by pastry chef Tatum Sinclair, this unusual creation looks like a piece of permanently inflated pita bread.

But its shape comes from the incredibly high hydration level of the dough. I’ve been baking bread for years, and most loaves I work with hover around 70% hydration level, which essentially means that for every 100 grams of flour, there are 70 grams of water.

This one has a hydration level of 110%, a ridiculously high amount of water, which makes the dough sticky and particularly hard to work with. But drop it in bubbling oil, and the dough puffs up dramatically. After a few seconds, it’s finished in the wood-burning oven.

Fresh out of the oven, it’s smeared with funky shaved black truffle and toasted garlic, and then showered with salty Parmesan and fried parsley. Crackly on the outside, but soft and forgiving within, part of me wants to compare this to some platonic ideal of a breadstick — which sounds like a burn, but I mean it in the best way possible. I’d bet most people would stay in just about any room to eat this.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Indoor Pools Across the City Won't be Open This Summer Due to Lifeguard Shortage

In case you missed this one, looks like Ping Tom Parks indoor pool will be closed as is the case for all indoor public pools across the city (via Block Club):

People who like to swim at the Chicago Park District’s indoor pools will have to look elsewhere this summer.

The Park District’s outdoor pools open to the public Friday. But its indoor pools at places like Welles Park, Independence Park and Portage Park will likely close Wednesday and stay shut during the summer because there aren’t enough lifeguards to oversee all the city-run beaches and pools, officials said.

“The Chicago Park District, like many organizations across the country, [is] experiencing the impact of the national lifeguard shortage,” said Michele Lemons, the park district’s director of communications. 

The Park District manages 49 outdoor pools, 28 indoor pools and operates 14 Chicago Public School pools that offer community programs.  


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Using Tik Tok to Tell Chicago & The Sloop's History

We're fascinated by new technologies and the creativity it unleashes.  Don't believe us, this here blog was birthed from a similar sentiment.

Along those lines, today we stumbled upon a video on WGN about a local man who uses Tik Tok to tell Chicago's history:

A Chicago TikToker is sharing facts and history about the city in videos that have now gone viral.

Shermann Thomas’s 8-year-old daughter was posting dance routines on the app when he suggested she post facts about Chicago instead. She wasn’t interested in the idea so he started posting his own. His first viral hit was a minute-long history on Lower Wacker Drive and from there, his account continued to grow.

The life-long resident is telling the city’s stories and reaching a younger audience by posting short videos that he heavily researches.

“History matters and it’s not this boring stiff thing that we are used to,” he said.

Sure enough many of his videos touch on South Loop topics such as this one about Clark House:


Chicago’s oldest house. ##Clarkehouse ##Chicago ##chicagohistory ##fyp ##historytok ##chitown

♬ Spongebob - Dante9k
Sure, the content isn't ready for 60 minutes quite yet, but we still find it interesting. Further more, maybe some of you haven't checked out Tik Tok. As a person who is paid professionally to understand the media ecosystem, we've been blown away by Tik Tok's platform.  Maybe this gives you a chance to play around with it?  

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Sweet Bean Sign Appears on Former Bongo Room Space (Roosevelt and Wabash)

One Asian restaurant closes, another (but very different) appears to be opening (via Eater):

South Loop: A “coming soon” sign for a new Japanese-Taiwanese cafe called Sweet Bean is visible in the window at 1152 S. Wabash Avenue, and operators have put up several job postings on Culinary Agents. The space previously housed a South Loop outpost of popular breakfast and brunch mini-chain Bongo Room, which closed in 2019.

Very curious to see what comes of this.  It's a very high trafficked corner of the neighborhood, so will be curious to see what type of reception it gets.

That said, a "Japanese-Taiwanese cafe" has us intrigued.

Here is a pic from the Hello South Loop facebook page a neighbor posted

(Hat tip: AH!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Teriyaki Madness Closes its Doors at 829 S. Wabash

 It looks like we have a closure (via Teriyaki Madness Facebook):

As a reminder they opened at a tough time - June of 2020 - right when the pandemic was raging and people weren't sure what was ok.  Tough timing and sad to see them close so soon.

Maybe something else will have better luck in this spot.  Au Bon Pain had a decent run in this spot, but even that seemed like it struggled.  

Monday, June 14, 2021

Keep Printer's Row Safe! Make Your Voice Heard

It's not uncommon for violence to pick up in Chicago as the weather gets warmer. That said, it seems like it's continuing to hit VERY close to home. That said, please make your voice heard. Tomorrow is a chance to do it: 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Lucky Well, Planned Restaurant at Roosevelt Collection from Food Network Star, Still on the Back Burner

Maybe not the most surprising news, but sounds like Lucky Well at Roosevelt Collection is a big TBD at this point (via Eater): 

Chad Rosenthal planned to open his first Chicago restaurant, Lucky Well, in March 2020, but the pandemic forced him to concentrate on his barbecue spots in Pennsylvania. Rosenthal still intends to open his barbecue inside the Roosevelt Collection, the shopping center and apartment complex in the South Loop, but it’s going to take time.

“It’s going to be more like a QSR (quick-serve restaurant),” Rosenthal says. “It might not happen until next year.”

The pandemic forced Rosenthal to reevaluate his priorities, and that means he’s going to scale down his Chicago project; there won’t be live music like his East Coast locations. At the height of the pandemic, expansion wasn’t the first thing on his mind, as he needed to tend this restaurants and workers in Pennsylvania.

Word came down of this potential addition to the Sloop restaurant scene about two years ago, but only a smattering of information has emerged since then.  With the pandemic wreaking havoc on the restaurant business it's not shocking to see this.  

The article makes it seem like there is still some potential, but we'll see if that's just a glass half full mentality.   

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Reed at Southbank Gets Permit for Building to Start

Looks like another high-rise is about to go up (via Urbanize Chicago):

The upcoming 41-story residential tower known as The Reed at Southbank is one step closer to rising along the south branch of the Chicago River after scoring its first construction permit this week. 

Crews from developer/contractor Lendlease have been preparing the site at 234 W. Polk Street for several months. The prep work involved shoring up underground tunnels beneath the site, Linda Kozloski of Lendlease told Urbanize in March. The newly issued building permit allows for work to begin on the tower's foundation. 

Designed by architecture firm Perkins + Will, The Reed will eventually rise 447 feet and deliver 224 apartments and 216 for-sale condos—priced from $400,000 to $1.4 million—when it opens in summer 2023. The project also includes a full suite of indoor/outdoor amenities and a riverwalk extension, which will pass beneath the western edge of The Reed and connect to Polk Street and a planned water taxi stop.

We've been pleasantly surprised with how nice the Southbank riverwalk is, so we're all for more - even though it seems like this new stretch will be relatively small.  

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Insomnia Cookies Now Officially Open at 30 E. Bablo Drive

 Looks like Insomnia Cookies is now officially open in the Sloop:

Congrats and looking forward to trying out this one...

Monday, June 7, 2021

Shooting in Printers Row on Saturday Sparks Scary Scene

What sounds like a scary scene on Saturday in a prominent, highly trafficked area of the neighborhood (via CBS Chicago):
“I saw people running from patios, running inside,” another witness said. “I saw tables getting flipped over.” 

That worker saw the chaos in the 700 block of South Dearborn Street after someone fired one shot, of many, toward a restaurant. 

In the path of the bullet was a patio area where people were sitting. A nearby barrier just stopped it. 

“It’s been so many months of people staying inside and you want to get outside and it’s not safe outside,” the worker said. “It’s just too bad. It hurts.” 

These two shootings add to the 10 this year in the Central (1st) Police District, which includes the Loop, the West Loop Gate, the South Loop, and parts of the Near South Side. That is up from four shootings through this time last year.

Pretty scary stuff.  We say it all the time, but be careful and aware of your surroundings.  That said - we can imagine how it must rattle people to see this hit during such a busy time of the day. 

A reader adds:

Yes, I can confirm that Roots Pizza had a panel of its revolving door shattered, and I saw police searching the sidewalk on the east side of Dearborn St last night around 10:30. They taped off an area from Flaco's Tacos up to the wine shop.

(Hat tip:  AB!) 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

CMK Companies Looking to Move Forward with 30-Story High-Rise Apartment at 1400 S. Wabash

Apparently the rental market isn't slowing down for CMK - one of the most prolific developers in the Sloop (via Urbanize Chicago):

The zoning applications for new high-rise apartment towers just keep coming. This week, prolific Chicago developer CMK Companies filed paperwork for a 30-story, 299-unit tower at 1400 S. Wabash Avenue in the South Loop.

The project isn't the first residential tower planned for the vacant site. In 2016, the Chicago Plan Commission approved a proposal from American Landmark Properties to construct a 290-foot, 296-unit residential building at this location. The Lucien Lagrange-designed project never got off the ground and the land was sold last year to CMK for $5.9 million.

Based on elevation drawings attached to the zoning documents CMKs plan for 1400 S. Wabash is far more contemporary-looking than its predecessor. The Pappageorge Haymes-designed high-rise will feature a glass and aluminum window wall system on its residential floors and a four-story metal-screened parking podium with space for 110 cars at its base.


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

South Loop Farmers Market is Back and Better than Ever

The South Loop Farmers Market is back and we checked it out this past weekend and things were bumping.  Besides the DJ providing some lively beats, it seemed like our local farmers market had a positive vibe with a lot more vendors than we remembered in the past.  

The neighborhood seemed excited to be out and certainly were out in force.  The cheese stand had a line stretching throughout the park and we might have even seen a vendor selling some newly legalized grass (interesting that that's ok, but why not?).

Anyway, check out the market out every Saturaday through Sept 25th at Printers Row park (632 S. Dearborn).  They also have a Thursday market at 1936 S. Michigan.  You can get more details at their website here.