Downtown Zoning Document Provides a Reminder About Your Rights in Chicago
Jun07

Downtown Zoning Document Provides a Reminder About Your Rights in Chicago

As any city grows and changes, there are tensions between public space and private property.  In Chicago, it is not uncommon for what is technically private property to be required to be open to the public.  Often, it’s part of the local government’s effort to give people sunlight and breathing room in the nooks and crannies of the city where it’s needed most. Good examples include the big lawn next to 311 South...

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Le Colonial’s Former Colony Under Siege
Oct26

Le Colonial’s Former Colony Under Siege

It’s been a very long time since we would stand in the shadows outside of 937 North Rush Street and startle passing tourists who only noticed us out of the corners of their eyes.  Good times. Back then, 937 was the home of Le Colonial, one of the Gold Coast’s social touchstones.  A frequent haunt of shopgirls and their clients, ladies who lunch, and people trying to channel their inner Graham Greene or Somerset Maugham over...

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Roots Has Sprouted, Now Greening the South Loop
Jan21

Roots Has Sprouted, Now Greening the South Loop

If you were recently bitten by a radioactive spider, don’t be surprised if you smell pork and tractors in Printer’s Row.  That’s just your spidey sense kicking in for the new Roots Pizza joint going up at 744 South Dearborn Street. 744 South Dearborn Street under construction in January 2020 (Courtesy of South Loop Spy Joel) Roots is a miniature pizza chain from Chicago that serves… wait for it… Quad...

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Bones Are Up For Roots in the South Loop
Nov11

Bones Are Up For Roots in the South Loop

Soon there will be another option for getting the taste of Bettendorf, Iowa right in the heart of Chicago.  South Loop Spy Joel sent in the photograph below showing the steel is up for the city’s fourth Roots Pizza location. November 2019 construction of Roots Pizza South Loop (Courtesy of South Loop Spy Joel) Roots is a mini-chain of pizza joints that is owned by a Chicago company, but serves Quad Cities-style pizza.  That...

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Swissôtel’s Awkward Protrusion to Get Bigger
Aug28

Swissôtel’s Awkward Protrusion to Get Bigger

Since Lakeshore East is in the news this week, here’s a little nugget of neighbor news: The Swissôtel at 323 East Wacker Drive is getting a small expansion. If you’ve ever walked by the hotel, you may have noticed the awkward outdoor seating area next to the slightly-less-awkward annex that houses The Palm restaurant. That outdoor seating area is going away, to be replaced by an annex to the annex to the hotel in order to...

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No More Arches; New Downtown Flagship McDonald’s Embraces the Modern Aesthetic
Jan31

No More Arches; New Downtown Flagship McDonald’s Embraces the Modern Aesthetic

For the second time since we started this publication, the flagship McDonald’s restaurant at Clark and Ontario in Near North is being torn down and replaced by a better, shinier McDonald’s. The last time this happened was back in 2005, when the Rock-n-Roll McDonald’s was razed to make way for the current massively be-arched hamburger joint.  In spite of the musical memorabilia being relegated to a kiosk in the...

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Slice of Life: Portillo’s (Chocolate-Cake) Shakes Up the South Loop
Apr09

Slice of Life: Portillo’s (Chocolate-Cake) Shakes Up the South Loop

We don’t normally get involved in stand-alone restaurant construction here at Chicago Architecture. But this isn’t a normal situation. This is about lunch. It’s about not having to settle for the 6,284 lunch options already available within walking distance (we take long lunch breaks around here) of our desks. This is about the South Loop getting its very first Portillo’s restaurant. If you have a beef with...

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Parks Promoters Warn Chicago’s Greenspace Being Nibbled to Death
Apr06

Parks Promoters Warn Chicago’s Greenspace Being Nibbled to Death

  A restaurant here, a museum there, and the next thing you know — there’s no more parks.  That’s the warning coming from the Friends of the Parks organization over the latest round of plans to repurpose Chicago’s parkland. FotP is well-known for its battle against the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which the city wants to plop onto a surface parking lot near Soldier Field.  It’s also fighting...

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Throwback Thursday: Memories Writ in Neon and Cheese
Mar12

Throwback Thursday: Memories Writ in Neon and Cheese

Chicago doesn’t have a minimum neon requirement in its business signs like Las Vegas does. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t prominent examples of the illuminating art around town. This sign for Papa Milano’s (951 North State Street) was a landmark in the Gold Coast neighborhood for decades, though the original restaurant opened on Diversey Parkway in 1933 (or maybe the other way around; the Tribune and the...

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A Doggone Good Outcome For Maggie Daley Park’s Unpopular Canine Ban
Feb27

A Doggone Good Outcome For Maggie Daley Park’s Unpopular Canine Ban

There were no TV crews at the Grant Park Advisory Council & Conservancy meeting on Thursday night. Not like a month ago when the agenda included the park’s dog ban—a move that generated considerable resident and media heat. No, the fourth estate has moved on, attracted to the next shiny object. In fact, the audience of locals was quite a bit smaller this time as well. The only thing I witnessed that might pass for canine activism...

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