By a Thousand Cuts: Another Tiny Slice of Gold Coast History to be Chopped
Nov04

By a Thousand Cuts: Another Tiny Slice of Gold Coast History to be Chopped

If you walk down the Oak Street Retail Corridor your eye may be caught by fancy brand names, people with impossibly polished skin, and the place where Governor Blagojevich used to get his famous hair famously cut before now getting clipped at a federal pokey in Colorado.  But if you look beyond what is commonly seen to what is not commonly seen, you will see two things: architecture and history. 113 East Oak Street (July 2007) The...

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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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Week Links: June 9-15, 2013
Jun15

Week Links: June 9-15, 2013

Here’s what weak this week: Free as in beer: Do you like money? Do you like Union Station? There’s a contest with $5,000 on the line for ideas for “activating” Union Station. (don’t you just love urban planner jargon?)  Check out the Activate Union Station web site. The Marquette Building is getting into the Stanley Cup playoffs in a way that only the Marquette Building can.  Check out the pictures at The...

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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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Three Venerable Ladies of Oak Street Without Their Makeup
Sep17

Three Venerable Ladies of Oak Street Without Their Makeup

Last week e lamented the loss of three great old buildings on Oak Street in the city’s Gold Coast neighborhood.  They fell to a wrecking ball making space for a more modern retail experience at 70 East Oak Street. As they came down, the modern portions of their facades were temporarily stripped away, allowing us to see beneath the alterations and appreciate these beauties as they were intended.  See the photos...

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Three Old Gray Ladies Turn to Dust on Oak Street
Sep10

Three Old Gray Ladies Turn to Dust on Oak Street

The high-end retail scene that has for so long preserved the wonderful graystone buildings on Oak Street has eaten three of its wards.  This past Friday we joined a small silent crowd of the curious, the sentimental, and the smoking to watch as a bright yellow excavator reduced 70/72, 102/104, and 106 East Oak Street to bricks, sticks, and dust. The three buildings weren’t landmarked in the city records, but were something of...

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Status Update: Esquire Theater From Movie House to Steak House
Sep07

Status Update: Esquire Theater From Movie House to Steak House

The long-anticipated, much-worried-about conversion of the Esquire Theater (58 East Oak Street) from an historic movie house into a tasty steak house is moving along.  Unfortunately, you might never know it just walking by. A massive construction barrier has been put in front of the building since our last series of photos, so you’ll just have to imagine what’s going on inside. At the top, though, you can at least see that...

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Status Update: Esquire Theater
Jun25

Status Update: Esquire Theater

Preservationists, avert your eyes.  Based on the reaction we got the last time we published a photo of the former Esquire Theater (58 East Oak Street) with a small hole poked in it, these photos of the facade pretty much torn asunder will make people lose their minds. Interestingly, in the close-up photograph you can see the extra rows of cinder blocks put in place to turn the formerly sloping auditorium floors into level floors for...

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Status Update: Esquire Theater
May23

Status Update: Esquire Theater

  Our Gold Coast spy sent in a photo tip yesterday.  It’s construction progress on the Esquire Theater (58 East Oak Street).  The building is in the middle of a difficult conversion from slanty-floor auditorium space into flat-floor retail space.  Soon it will be home to a Double Eagle steakhouse, a chain out of Dallas related to Sullivan’s in the Loop; and a Christian Louboutin boutique, the people who make those fancy...

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