Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Violin Worth Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Stollen from Townhouse on Plymouth Ct

In case you missed this one, very scary story (via WGN):

Violin worth hundreds of thousands of dollars - wow!  It all seems crazy that they knew (or was lucky enough) to steal something so valuable.  

Regardless, a scary story.  Be safe.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Mayor Lightfoot Picks River West for City's Casino; Process Moves on Starting Today (5/9)

 The reporting was accurate - the mayor picked the River West location as her choice for the city's downtown casino.  Most of us in the Sloop breathed a sigh of relief, but it's not a done deal yet.

If you're interested in following this story, NBC 5 has some info on the next steps - including info on a city council special committee meeting to discuss:

May 9: City Council and Special Committee 
According to a press release from Mayor Lightfoot's office, a subject matter hearing for an "Alderman special committee" to ask questions about the selected casino finalist will take place Monday at 11 a.m. 

The committee will consist of all the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of City Council Committees, as well as President Pro Tempore Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward.  It will be chaired by Alderman Tom Tunney, 44th Ward, and vice-chaired by Alderman Jason Ervin, 28th Ward, the press release said. 
All of the City Council will be involved in the process for the final recommendation. 

May 12: Public Town Hall 
 The public can provide input on May 12, on the Bally's project at a community town hall at the UIC Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum at 725 W Roosevelt Rd. from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. According to the Eventbrite page, "representatives from the city and Bally’s Corporation will be there to share additional information, respond to questions, and hear from community members."

While this is increasingly becoming less of a South Loop story, we will continue to monitor. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Sources: River West Proposal to Get City Casino

Well it looks like the South Loop Casino proposals for The 78 and One Central are sitting on a "bust" hand and waiting for the final card to be played (via Sun-Times):

Mayor Lori Lightfoot is preparing to turn over her cards in the Chicago casino game, with all signs pointing to a winning hand for Bally’s Corporation and their River West bid, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday. 
The city signaled in a March report that Bally’s proposal for the Chicago Tribune printing plant site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street was the front-runner over two other finalists for the casino. An official decision could come Thursday. 
The publicly traded Rhode Island corporation was the only one to offer an upfront payment of $25 million for the license — and was projected as the top revenue generator over a Hard Rock casino proposed across DuSable Lake Shore Drive from Soldier Field, and the so-called “Rivers 78” plan backed by billionaire Neil Bluhm for the South Loop. Those are key considerations for city officials desperate to start pumping casino tax revenue into depleted police and firefighter pension funds.

If this reporting is accurate from the Sun-Times, the South Loop got lucky.  Although a casino would have given these developments a big shot in the arm and likely accelerated their plans, it would have brought a completely new element to the neighborhood which likely would have altered it dramatically forever.

It's not over yet, but seems like a positive development for the neighborhood.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Dollop Cafe, Bar & Kitchen Opens at NEMA (1210 S. Indiana Ave)

Looks like the new Dollop Coffee at NEMA is now open and providing some unique options from their other locations (via Eater Chicago):

South Loop: There are now 19 Dollop cafes around town and in the suburbs, but the location that opened Thursday, April 28, is special, says a rep. Unlike the majority of the other locations, Dollop Cafe, Bar & Kitchen will have full table service and offer all-day breakfast and lunch — including chicken and waffles and smash burgers — in addition to the usual coffee and pastries, with evening hours and cocktails coming next month. Dollop Cafe, Bar & Kitchen, 1210 S. Indiana Avenue, Open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Ambulance Stollen in Chinatown - Doesn't End Well for Thief

Interesting vehicle to take in Chinatown/South Loop.  Obviously this didn't end well (via Sun-Times):

A man has been charged with stealing a Chicago Fire Department ambulance Monday in Chinatown and leading police on an 80-mile chase downstate.

Benjamin K. Herrington, 46, entered the ambulance as it sat empty, parked on the street outside a fire station in the 200 block of West Cermak Road around 4:40 p.m., police said.

The Twitter video was interesting

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

CPS CEO Decides Not to Remove Jones College Prep Principal

From Block Club:

Jones College Prep’s controversial principal will remain at the high school after the head of Chicago Public Schools opted not to remove him — despite the local school council’s vote to oust him.

CPS CEO Pedro Martinez issued a statement saying he would not go forward with dismissal proceedings against Joseph Powers, citing “insufficient evidence.”

Several members of Jones’ local school council had been working for months to oust Powers, accusing the principal of ignoring problematic teachers and doing little to disrupt a culture of racial and gender-based discrimination at the school. CPS launched an Title IX investigation into Jones earlier this year after allegations of discriminatory practices involving the school’s athletic teams.

Tensions reached a fever pitch when Powers reversed a previous decision to allow a budding cross country star to train with the boys’ team due to inadequate facilities on the girls’ teams.

The school’s LSC voted 8-2 last month to ask Martinez to approve written charges against Powers and start the process to fire him after 14 years at Jones. The post-midnight vote came after a tense and combative seven-hour virtual meeting.

There has been a lot of discussion in the neighborhood about the topic and imagine local parents aren't happy with this latest development.  We will see what happens next.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Aldermen in "Special Committee on the Chicago Casino" to Meet Today to Discuss Next Steps

We've been watching the potential Chicago casino very closely, but the process has been unclear (maybe because it wasn't clearly defined?).  With staunch opposition from residents in each community (South Loop and River North) along with our Aldermen we were curious how this would unfold.  Well WBEZ has an information quick read with likely timing:

Facing a chorus of opposition from Chicagoans near the remaining three possible casino locations, a committee of aldermen will begin meeting Monday to discuss where to allow the city’s first flashy gaming and entertainment district to be built. 

The locations still in the running are: a site from Bally’s Corporation at the Tribune Publishing Center in River West, a site from Hard Rock just west of Soldier Field at a proposed development known as One Central and a site from Rush Street Gaming west of the South Loop in a megadevelopment known as The 78. 

Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward, chairs the new Special Committee on the Chicago Casino created by the mayor and approved by City Council last month. 

“We’ll probably be narrowing it down,” Tunney said. “Sometime between April and May, I think we’re going to reconvene with the mayor and really try to fine tune and announce a finalist.” 

No vote will be taken Monday, Tunney said, but rather aldermen will have a chance to talk to city officials and department leaders who have been involved in the casino planning process. The three bidders will not be at the meeting, but Tunney said there may be revisions submitted to the committee that take into account community feedback.

The article goes on to give good info and it sounds like they're hoping to make a decision this summer (June or July).

As it relates to the special council, we found it interesting that the alderman who represents the site of The 78 - And. Bryon Sigcho-Lopez isn't on it:
The City Council members who represent the three sites and the surrounding communities have all come out against the specific proposals in their backyards. 

Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr., 28th Ward, told Block Club Chicago he hoped the Bally’s proposal in his ward would not be chosen. He declined an interview request from WBEZ. 

Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward, issued a lengthy statement opposing the Hard Rock proposal at One Central in her ward. She said it would be “dropped into an existing, well-established family community” and added that even though the developer insists the casino and the megadevelopment are separate projects, it’s difficult to see them as anything but “interrelated projects.” 

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 25th Ward, is against the Rivers casino at The 78 in his ward. “It is clear that the residents of the 25th Ward — 80% of the residents — do not support this proposal,” Sigcho-Lopez said. He is the only alderman who has a finalist in his ward but is not on the special committee. 

Tunney said he wants all Council members to participate in the meetings and said Sigcho-Lopez will not get left out despite not being on the committee.

We're no experts on the inner workings of Chicago City Council or Aldermanic politics, but we'll go the cynical route and say it's harder to influence from the outside.  

If you think all bids have an equal chance of winning at this stage, then we have a 67% chance of a casino landing in our neighborhood.  If you adjust based on simple observations - such as the special council thought above - it seems more likely than not that this big development is coming to the Sloop.  

Should be an eventful spring and summer on this front for the Sloop.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Casino Bids Face Stiff Opposition from Neighbors

Last week was when the three remaining Chicago Casino bids had a chance to further lay out their vision and get public support.  Judging by all the reviews from the meetings, nobody wants a Casino in their neighborhood.

For us in the Sloop, it seems as if this poses a big problem as two of the sites sit squarely in high profile spots in the neighborhood.

Interestingly, one Alderman came out and said he couldn't support the plan in his ward (via Block Club):

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez  (25th) wrote in a letter to a powerful colleague this week that he “cannot support” a proposal for a casino to be built as part of “The 78” mega-development brewing in his Near South Side ward, imperiling the proposal’s chances as it competes with two other plans.

Sigcho-Lopez’s support hinges on the backing of the 78 Community Advisory Council, a group made up of neighbors and community leaders who should collectively be considered a “subject matter expert” in the vetting process for any new development along the 62-acre swath being developed by Related Midwest, the alderman wrote in a letter to Ald. Tom Tunney (44) on Monday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot picked Tunney last week to chair a new Committee on the Chicago Casino, which will head up the city’s consideration of the three remaining casino projects. 

In his letter, Sigcho-Lopez pointed back to a resident survey conducted by the 78 Community Advisory Council that found overwhelming opposition to the casino plan last month. Of the 378 neighbors polled, 78 percent said they were either “highly unsupportive” or “somewhat unsupportive” of Related’s and Rivers’ casino proposal. 

So you're telling me that 78% of South Loop neighbors don't support a casino at the 78 development?  Well that's a funny coincidence.

If you look at the other proposed South Loop casino site - One Central - just west of Soldier Field, it doesn't sound like it went much better (via Block Club):

If the team behind the Hard Rock casino proposal hoped to win over the public, they may have their work cut out for them.

In a contentious Tuesday night meeting at Harold Washington Library in the Loop, residents blasted city officials and company leaders for the lack of details around the project, and questioned how it would affect crime in the area and spur community investment. Some roundly rejected the idea, saying they worried about the scale of the project on the southern end of One Central, a massive mixed-use project covering 32 acres between Museum Campus and McCormick Place. 

Alderman Dowell - who represents that ward - hasn't officially stated where she stands on this project, so in some respect it would seem like One Central currently sits in a better space than The 78 proposal.  That said, she could very well come out and say she's against it.

It also seems like the proposal for the Bally's location on the Chicago River just north of the city also is facing stiff neighborhood opposition.  So should be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Apolonia Earns Bib Gourmand from The Michelin Guide

Big shout-out to Apolonia for their recent Bib Gourmand award (via Eater Chicago):

The Michelin Guide announced seven new additions to its Chicago Bib Gourmand list, its annual selection of “good value” restaurants where it’s possible to have a two-course meal plus wine or dessert for about $40 per person. Next week, the guide will announce its starred restaurants on Tuesday, April 5, along with the other 48 spots on the Bib Gourmand list.

Last year’s Chicago Bib Gourmand list consisted of 58 restaurants with 10 new additions. Of those 58, only Pizzeria Bebu, the Lincoln Park thin-crust specialists, is closed.

The new Bib Gourmands are Apolonia, Stephen Gillanders’s (S.K.Y.) contemporary South Loop restaurant; Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, the Wicker Park vegan spot from Rodolfo Cuadros (Amaru); Dear Margaret, the Lakeview restaurant that proves French-Canadian cuisine goes beyond Labatt’s Blue and poutine; Lardon, Logan Square’s popular all-day salumeria; Sochi Saigonese Kitchen, a modern regional Vietnamese spot in Lakeview; Superkhana International, which mixes and mashes up Indian flavors in Logan Square; and Tortello, the Wicker Park pasta shop and cafe.

While they probably wanted a star from the venerable tire company, inclusion in the Bib list is still noteworthy (especially given their proximity to McCormick Place we imagine this will really help their business).

For those not aware, Apolonia sits prominently at the corner of Michigan and Cermak and opened about a year ago and has garnered a lot of positive press.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Donation Requested for PAWS Chicago from South Loop Montessori Student

From a young Sloopin reader and contributor at South Loop Montessori:  

Elementary Pet Supply Drive 
The elementary class at South Loop Montessori is holding a pet supply drive in the month of April. A donation box will be set up in front of the classroom from April 4th to April 29th. 

All items will be donated to PAWS Chicago, a no-kill animal shelter. 

More information about this organization can be found here: https://www.pawschicago.org/ 

PAWs accepts the following supplies: 
● New and unopened: dog and cat food and treats, brushes 
● New or gently used: dog and cat toys, leashes, collars, metal crates, stainless steel food bowls, litter boxes, clean sheets and blankets, clean towels, gallon ziplock bags, paper towels, newspapers, cat litter, dog poop bags, garbage bags

You can email us at sloopin@gmail.com and we can cooridnate with the young student who is trying to get donations.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

City Announces 3 Finalists for Casino Locations ; 2 of them in the Sloop

Looks like two Sloop locations made the cut (via Chicago Tribune):

And then there were three.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has narrowed down the city’s five proposals for its first casino to three finalists: Bally’s at the Chicago Tribune Publishing Center, Rivers at The 78 and Hard Rock at the proposed One Central megadevelopment, the city announced Tuesday.

The three remaining bids advanced by the city may represent the path of least resistance for a Chicago casino. But none has landed without some objections or concerns, which the city may have to confront before it whittles the group down to a single favored plan, which officials said will be by early summer. It would still need to win state approval.

Not going to lie, a bit unfortunate to see that the McCormick Lake Side center cut but seems like that ran into some stiff resistence from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority - the powerful group that runs the giant convention complex.

The proposal for a casino at The 78 seems like the most straightforward of the remaining bids in our opinion.  Although the River North option at Ashland and Halstead (formerly known as the Chicago Tribune Printing Center) also wouldn't be hard to envision.

The one that seems to have the biggest question mark (but maybe the most strategic opportunity for Chicago and Mayor Lightfoot) is the Hard Rock option on the train tracks west of Soldier Field:

Hard Rock is proposing a $1.74 billion casino at One Central, a massive mixed-use project developers hope to build over train tracks west of Soldier Field. The proposal includes a 3,500-seat live entertainment venue, a 500-room hotel and other amenities.

While Landmark Development’s proposed $20 billion One Central megadevelopment may still need $6.5 billion in state funding to get off the ground, the city said Tuesday that the Hard Rock Chicago can proceed independently from the broader development.

“The Hard Rock proposal proposes a phase one where the remainder of One Central does not need to move forward,” said Jennie Bennett, the city’s chief financial officer. “It’s not contingent on state funding.”

The One Central development is massively controversial, complex and seems unlikely.  However, judging by that last quote it seems like this could move forward without full approval of One Centra.

In theory this proposal sits at an interesting spot and one that could help the city re-envision what the Museum Campus and Soldier Field is for the next couple decades. 

It's been well documented that the Chicago Bears are potentially (likely?) going to move to the burbs.  As a result, it's caused city hall to rethink how it can utilize this iconic, but dated building and the area more broadly.  

Could the Hard Rock Casino serve as a shot in the arm for whatever they want to do?  Will be interesting to see what transpires here.  

Monday, March 21, 2022

Student Athlete Controversy at Jone College Prep Sparks Title IX Investigation

Controversy erupts at Jone College Prep over sports, fundraising and power at the school (via Blockclub):

Chicago Public Schools is investigating Jones College Prep for potential violations of federal sex discrimination laws connected to its sports teams, part of a broader conflict at the prestigious school where students have complained of mistreatment and leaders are pushing to fire the longtime principal.

CPS officials confirmed this week the district’s Office of Student Protections and Title IX is investigating the athletic department at Jones, 700 S. State St. The department is probing alleged violations of Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs. A spokesman did not offer specifics, citing an ongoing process.

District leaders would not say when they launched a Title IX investigation, but they said the inquiry was ongoing before local school council members contacted the district in February.

Members of Jones’ local school council reported Principal Joseph Powers to the district in February, alleging, among other things, that he allowed conditions to persist where unequal resources were dedicated to boys and girls sports. Council members also contacted CPS officials in December, highlighting what they said was poor oversight for fundraising that made it difficult to ensure money was being distributed fairly for clubs and athletic teams.

The story is pretty in-depth and surely is important for all those involved, but seems to have morphed into something bigger than the original issue.  The mother of the athlete simply said ‘My Daughter Just Wanted To Run’ - and it does seem like she is being used as a pawn here.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Crane Assembly Underway at 1400 S. Wabash 30 Floor Highrise

Via YIMBY Chicago:

Crane assembly can be seen for the 30-story high rise planned at 1400 S Wabash Avenue in South Loop, replacing a long-empty vacant lot. As of now, permits have been issued for the foundation, tower crane, and the superstructure up to the fourth floor.

While it's good to see and learn about progress at 1400 S. Wabash - there were some other bonkers maps within this post.  While One Central development and The 78 are questionable, could you imagine if these "proposed" buildings actually end up getting built.  Look at how much density it would bring to the Sloop:

Does anyone think all of these buildings will be built by 2030?  2040?  It's mind boggling to think about what would have to happen in Chicago to support that much development.  Just seems impractical looking at the landscape today.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Printers Row Fountain is Getting a Facelift and Fix

Good news, looks like the Printers Row park fountain is getting fixed (via Block Club):

The Printers Row Fountain is getting a six-figure facelift, thanks to the Printers Row Park Advisory Council, the Chicago Park District and Ald. Sophia King (4th).

The park advisory council began restoration efforts in September, launching a crowdsourcing campaign to defray the cost of the project with the goal of raising $110,000 to upgrade the lighting, repair pump and pipes, replace colored enamel reliefs and polish the fountain’s bronze highlights.

The fountain, located inside Printers Row Park, 632 S. Dearborn St., was designed by Edward Winhurst in 1999.

It is unclear if the park advisory council met its goal; members couldn’t be reached for comment. But King confirmed that her office would be matching the park district’s $10,000 contribution.

“It was a big priority for the park advisory council, and we’re happy to add resources. Beautification is important, and it brings safety and other positive things to the neighborhood,” said King.

We posted about the drive to get donations back in September and it's great to see this moving forward.  It's a lovely little park!  

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

7-11 on South State (533 S. State) Closing ; A Sign of Bigger Challenges in the Loop?

Mr. South Loop posting about a 7-11 closure on South State:

While one 7-11 closing isn't much news (especially with two other ones in close proximity in the area), it is interesting to see.  Based on the caption it seems like it's a function of lack of business, but also points to a challenging situation on South State further North.  

If you've been North of Ida B. Wells you'll notice numerous storefronts that are empty.  State street was arguably the second biggest "shopping street" downtown behind Michigan Avenue.  While some stores further north are still open the further you go south it gets pretty bleak and desolate.  

This dynamic has always been in place for awhile, but seems like the pandemic has really exacerbated the problem.  The question is - will this bounce back? and if so when?  

There are some major challenges with the loop and how many office workers will return.  It seems like the typical 5 day in-office work experience ain't coming back.  That puts extreme pressure on these retail storefronts.  The value has decayed quickly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

City Makes Final Attempts to Persuade Bears to Stay at Chicago

The super bowl has come and gone.  A major storyline from this years big game was the Los Angeles Rams brand new $5 billion SoFi stadium.  It is a beautiful building no doubt.  Any team would be envious of that palace - especially a local one with a stadium that despite it's history doesn't meet the needs of the team and fans.

With that as a backdrop, it seems like the Mayor Lightfoot and the city are changing their tone and trying to make a final pitch to keep the Bears at Solider Field (via Chicago Tribune):

Mayor Lori Lightfoot plans to present the Chicago Bears with a “compelling financial case” for the team to stay in the city and her administration will “explore” the possibility of placing a roof on Soldier Field, she said in a pair of interviews Friday.

“We’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep the Bears in Chicago,” Lightfoot said on WSCR-AM 670. “We’re working on some plans to present to them that I think will make a very, very compelling financial case as to why it makes an abundance of sense for them to stay in Chicago.”

The city can offer the Bears “a tier-one market, a tier-one audience, fan base, and I don’t think they can get that in Arlington Heights,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot did not elaborate on what sort of financial arrangement the city can make that will keep the Bears from building a lucrative new stadium in the suburbs. But some experts have questioned whether anything short of a new building can convince the Bears to stay within the city limits.

Later, in an interview with WMVP-AM 1000, Lightfoot was asked about the possibility of putting a roof on Soldier Field.

“I think that’s something we have to explore. We do,” Lightfoot said. “My bigger thing is, obviously the roof is an issue, but there are other things we can do to really make the amenities more hospitable” for Bears fans.

The talk of a roof is interesting, but seems unlikely.  While that might make the temperature and experience in stadium nicer, there are bigger financial and logistical challenges that likely are more pressing.  Essentially how can the Bears make more money - whether that's increasing capacity or finding new revenue streams (stadium naming rights, ancillary businesses and fan experiences).

There are also the challenges of getting to Soldier Field that seems to be a sticking point.  Interestingly enough, the massive One Central development seems like it could help on that front.  That plan isn't really linked to the Bears, but could the city (and state) use that as an opportunity to sway the Bears to stay?  Not sure if it's feasible, but that seems like it could help.

Should be interesting to see how this plays out.  If we were betting a person we would put our money on the Bears leaving the Sloop.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

400 Concrete Truck Line-up on Jan 22nd to Pour for 1000M High-rise

This is a bit old, but we still found it interesting (via Chicago Construction News):

McHugh Concrete has completed a nine-hour continuous concrete pour including nearly 4,000 cu. yds. of concrete for the mat slab foundation for 1000M, a 73-story apartment tower at 1000 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago’s South Loop.

This construction milestone completes the foundations under the main tower of 1000M, which will be one of the city’s tallest apartment buildings at 788 feet when it delivers in 2025. McHugh Concrete has poured the concrete for eight of Chicago’s 10 tallest concrete buildings, the company’s public relations agency said in a Jan. 24 statement.

One lane of Michigan Avenue alongside the project was closed on Jan. 22 for the more than 400 concrete trucks delivering concrete to the site, which is across from Grant Park. Sweeper and vacuum trucks mitigated dust and dirt around the perimeter, and flaggers were posted alongside the site for pedestrian and vehicular safety.

Prior to the pour, McHugh Concrete installed 685 tons of steel rebar (about the same weight as 15 Boeing 737-800 airplanes), and general contractor McHugh Construction coordinated below-ground preparatory work, including drilling and socketing caissons to bedrock approximately 87 feet below ground to support the tower portion of the skyscraper, perimeter sheeting, waterproofing and piping for utilities.

We were out and about that day and can attest to the crazy amount of cement trucks lined up around the site waiting for their turn.  Seems like this development finally has some solid momentum (pun intended?!?!). 

Monday, February 7, 2022

Decadent Dessert Bar & Bistro to Open at 1355 S. Michigan (former Kurrah Space)

We were sad when Kurrah closed - one of our favorite restaurants at the corner of 14th and Michigan.  But it looks like a new dessert spot is heading to the space:

We did some googling and it looks like Decadent Dessert Bar & Bistro is in fact happening according to this article in What Now Chicago.  Interestingly enough - it appears that is it's a franchise:

Decadent Dessert Bar & Bistro is a franchised chain of restaurants from Buttercream Dreams Hospitality Group. The group also owns Decadent’s sister-concept Smallcakes Cupcakery & Creamery, which has grown to operate over 140 locations in 22 states. “Decadent is the first of its kind—a fast and casual dessert bar that offers the highest quality desserts at a sweet yet affordable price,” shares the company’s website. “Everything on our menu is made fresh daily, all day, every day, using only the finest ingredients.”

Sounds pretty good to us.  Hopefully they open soon.

Monday, January 31, 2022

Car Crashes into Snow Plow and Destroys Fence at Roosevelt and State

 Like many of you we stumbled upon this mess:

According to CBS - looks like a car crashed into a city plow and this is part of the destruction:

A car crashed into a city plow truck in the Loop early Saturday morning, according to police.

Around 12:45 a.m., the driver in the vehicle while traveling westbound on the 1100 block of South State Street and failed to obey a traffic signal, striking a city plow truck traveling southbound on State Street, causing the plow to jump a curb and hit a large fence.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Beer + Wine = Interesting?!?!?! Duneyrr Brewery in Motor Row Experimenting with Some New Concoctions

Interesting....(via ABC7):

Has anyone tried this yet? Doesn't sound that great to us...but we're curious to try it.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

X-Pot Gets Some Love from Fox 32

 Not exactly the hardest hitting story here, but Fox32 did a super small segment on X-Pot:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Shedd Aquarium Embarks on $500 Million Renovation Called the "Centennial Commitment"

The Shedd Aquarium is awesome and it looks like it's going to be getting even better (via Chicago Tribune):

The Shedd Aquarium houses a remarkable creature called an archerfish that spits water 3 feet into the air to knock insects off trees into the water for dinner.

Right now, the archerfish swims in an aquarium with a label displaying its name. That’s it.

But soon, visitors will be able to see the fish actually do its thing — spitting at a tree to dislodge crickets for a meal.

Interactive experiences like this inspire the public to care more about the fish and its habitat, according to Bridget Coughlin, president and CEO of the Shedd Aquarium.

This connection between humans experiencing wild animals and being inspired to conserve is the driving force behind the aquarium’s new $500 million project, an eight-year vision called the Centennial Commitment.

Connecting people to nature will involve creating new aquarium galleries along with immersive experiences and programs.

For example, the north gallery, which houses rivers, islands and lakes exhibits, will be renovated into a Caribbean coral reef habitat within a 40-foot glass tunnel. Visitors will feel as if they are part of the reef with sharks, rays and colorful fish.

Renovation and re-imagination of the aquarium galleries and educational facilities will cost roughly half of the $500 million and take four years to complete. Renovations are expected to be finished in 2026, ahead of the organization’s 100th anniversary in 2030.

Here is a rendering of one of the projects - "a Caribbean coral reef habitat that will give guests different perspectives of sharks and rays within the diverse ecosystem":


Monday, January 10, 2022

NBC5 Highlights Apolonia's Viral Bread Dish

Apolonia (2201 S. Michigan) - probably the most exciting restaurant to open in the Sloop in the last couple of years - got some viral love for one of their bread dishes (via NBC5):

Gillanders said the restaurant's pastry chef was trying to make a focaccia to capitalize on the trend, but they wanted to make it different.

"The deep fry became this thing. We threw a dough ball into it, it just ballooned up," he said.

The restaurant likened the dish to a "savory black truffle doughnut" and said it has since taken off in a way they never expected.

"A lot of people started to cut them open and fill them like a pita and you'd be shocked what people put into those things," he said.

NBC5 has a good overarching video about what they're doing at the restaurant.  It's early in the morning and I'm hungry for dinner:

Hat tip: ND!

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

One South Loop Bar Gets Hit With New Indoor Mask Mandate Citation

One South Loop spot gets hit with citation on new indoor mask mandates (via Fox32):

The city of Chicago has cited six businesses for failing to enforce the city's COVID-19 indoor mask mandate.

Investigators from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) conducted 56 investigations over the weekend to see if people were wearing masks and whether there were signs posted about the requirement.

From Thursday through Sunday, the following businesses were each issued two citations for violating both requirements of the mandate, which went into effect on Aug. 20:

  • Cortland’s Garage, 1645 W. Cortland St. in Bucktown
  • Bassline, 2237 S. Michigan Ave. in South Loop
  • Fulton Loft, 2107 W. Fulton St. in West Town
  • The Soul Tribe LLC, 1564 N. Damen Ave. in Wicker Park
  • The Hidden Palace, 1900 N. Austin Ave. in Galewood
  • Vaunt Fitness, 6255 S. Archer Ave. in Garfield Ridge

Monday, January 3, 2022

Are Half Sour and Burger Point Best Burger Spots in the Sloop?

We're not burger experts, but apparently this instagram user does.  They have Acadia as the highest ranked burger spot in the Sloop (obviously they're not aware they've closed).  Beyond that, Half Sour (755 S. Clark) and Burger Point (1900 S. State) are the only other South Loop locations ranked: