LSA Whips Up An Architectural Feast In Restaurant Row
Sep12

LSA Whips Up An Architectural Feast In Restaurant Row

Chicago’s Restaurant Row continues to expand both physically, and in national stature, as more and more innovative chefs take chances on Randolph Street in the West Loop that they wouldn’t be allowed to in the high-pressure kitchens of New York’s West Village or London’s West End. One of the stand-out restaurants is Grace (652 West Randolph Street), which has received praise from both local and national media....

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Saint Hubert’s Heads
Dec12

Saint Hubert’s Heads

As I once noted on WBEZ Radio while being interviewed about the state of urban decay in Chicago, my wife calls me an “alley cat.”  When I’m restless in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, I’ll walk through the alleys of downtown Chicago.  It’s all perfectly safe for me because I’m huge and scary looking.  But more importantly, it’s where you can find some wonderful architectural...

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Flagship Starbucks Opened in Gold Coast Yesterday; Serves Booze Tomorrow
Dec05

Flagship Starbucks Opened in Gold Coast Yesterday; Serves Booze Tomorrow

It’s been a few months since we last checked in on the new flagship Starbucks going up in the Gold Coast, and guess what — it’s open! The store at 1003 North Rush Street opened Tuesday, December 4th and brings the coffee chain’s latest design iteration to downtown Chicago. Like the Starbucks stores we’ve written about in Seattle, this one goes heavy on recycled, reclaimed, and reused. The walls are lined...

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First Look Inside The Esquire Theater’s Del Frisco’s Steak House
Nov13

First Look Inside The Esquire Theater’s Del Frisco’s Steak House

For the third time in two weeks, we’re able to bring you a peek inside a new Chicago commercial establishment before it opens.  This time, it’s the Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House inside the newly renovated Esquire Theater (58 East Oak Street). The transformation of the abandoned theater into multi-tenant retail space has been one of the more controversial conversions we’ve covered here.  A number of...

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Status Update: Esquire Steakhouse
Oct19

Status Update: Esquire Steakhouse

The “theater” portion of the Esquire Theater Building (58 East Oak Street) is long gone, as its transformation continues into a high-end retail and restaurant complex.  Much of the clutter has been removed from the street and public way, and a new sign is up declaring that the Del Frisco’s Steakhouse will open in a matter of weeks. The size of the wooden walls covering the glass gives you an idea of how light and...

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A Suburban Post Office’s Rock Star Renaissance
Sep20

A Suburban Post Office’s Rock Star Renaissance

The old Ravinia Post Office in Highland Park has found new life as a tea shop. It’s called Madame Zuzu’s (582 Roger Williams Avenue), and is owned by musician Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.  Word is that he opened the shop because he lives nearby and there’s nothing to do in the neighborhood.  We have to agree with that assessment. We stopped by one afternoon, and after sampling some excellent tea and cakes,...

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Week Links: March 9, 2012
Mar09

Week Links: March 9, 2012

The old Russian and Turkish Bath House on Diversey is being renovated.  The Chicago Sun-Times reports it will be called Chicago Bath House, and have an adjacent restaurant called Red Square.  Though the term “bath house” has been sullied over the years by some of the ones on the west coast turning into places to find drugs and gay sex, historically bath houses were respectable, family places.  Even as late as the...

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Slice of Life: Eating and Drinking

  It’s not much to look at.  It only has one table for seating.  It has holes in the floor.  The building leans at alarming angles.  But as far as I’m concerned, Eat and Drink, in the parking lot at 212 West Randolph Street, is the best Chinese food in Chicago.  It’s New York-style, not Midwest style. A very close second place goes to 65 Restaurant at 336 North Michigan Avenue.  Its Singapore noodles are really...

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Where the Lingonberries Live

In many ways, it’s the rows of greystones, brick bungalows and low-slung light manufacturing buildings that visually define Chicago’s neighborhoods.  And it’s the exceptions to those buildings that sometimes also provide that service. One of those exceptions is this red brick structure at 3258 West Foster Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Swedish district in Albany Park.  It is the home of the Tre Kronor...

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Public Park Privatized in Chicago’s Gold Coast

In the last couple of months, we’ve received two inquiries from people asking what’s going on with Connors Park.  If you’re not familiar with the name, you may know it as the triangle-shaped slice of open space in front of the Sofitel (20 East Chestnut Street), bounded by Rush, Delaware, Chestnut, and Wabash. It’s a very small space (about 17,000 ft²), and features a small pergola, a nice little fountain, a few...

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