Sundays on State, the socially distant block party that closed down part of State Street on select Sundays last summer so pedestrians could stroll, eat, shop, look at art, watch performers, and play games, will return again in 2022, according to event organizers.
Last summer’s Sundays on State, which ran on eight Sundays between July 11 and September 12, drew more than half a million people — an average of 67,000 for each event — from all Chicago zip codes and 20 states, boosting State Street pedestrian traffic back to pre-pandemic levels with a $12 million direct economic impact on Loop business, according to a Chicago Loop Alliance report.
The Chicago Loop Alliance also announced that Activate, a seven-year-old arts program that takes over an alley for a single night for interactive performances and which has been on hiatus for the past two years.
The alliance, which made its announcement at a Thursday, March 24 annual meeting, has yet to reveal details about either program, including specific dates and food vendors — it’s still lining up sponsors — but it did promise in a press release that this year’s edition Sundays on State would have an “expanded footprint.”
For sale: one Cajun restaurant, recipes included
Heaven on Seven, the Cajun restaurant that lured diners to the seventh floor of the Garland Building at 111 N. Wabash Avenue from 1980 until it shut down for the pandemic in 2020, is for sale, Crain’s reports. For the past two years, Jimmy Bannos, who opened the restaurant with his parents and his brother, ran takeout operations through The Purple Pig, owned by his son, but the majority of Heaven on Seven’s customers were people who did business in the Loop, and those have gone away. Bannos is asking $450,000 for the 2,770-square-foot space, which includes furniture, fixtures, and equipment; for an extra $100,000, he’ll throw in the Heaven on Seven name and logo and, most crucially, the recipes. A second location on Rush Street in River North, a collaboration with Lettuce Entertain You, closed in 2015, and a Naperville outpost shuttered in 2017.
Salt Shed developers get $2.5 million loan from the city
The City Council approved $2.54 million in tax increment financing (TIF) to improve the infrastructure around the 97,000 square-foot Morton Salt warehouse at 1357 N. Elston Avenue that will, as of this summer, become the music venue the Salt Shed, Block Club reports. The money will be given to the building’s developers, R2 and Blue Star Properties, as a loan to be repaid at 2 percent interest over a 10-year period, and will be used to resurface streets, repair sidewalks, install traffic lights, and create parking spaces, all of which will, Department of Planning and Development Deputy Commissioner Tim Jeffries said, allow the project to be completed.
Jeffery Pub shut down for building code violations, but only temporarily
The Jeffery Pub, the city’s longest-running Black-owned gay bar at 7041 S. Jeffery Boulevard in South Shore, has been temporarily shut down by the city after failing to meet the requirements of the Chicago Building Code, management announced in a Facebook post earlier this week intended to dispel rumors that it had closed altogether. The bar will reopen after owners make the necessary repairs to bring it up to code. In the post, the owners also announced that they would be consistently checking IDs and cracking down on bad behavior, including banning problematic customers and pressing charges. “To some this may sound harsh,” they wrote, “but enough is enough. We are longest standing black owned gay bar in the United States over 50 years in business. We want to keep this legacy going and continue providing great venues for the community to dine and party. Give us a break.”
Ribfest returns to North Center this summer
Ribfest, a North Center summer tradition since 1999, will be returning to the intersection of Lincoln and Damen Avenues and Irving Park Road the weekend of Friday, August 19, to Sunday, August 21, the North Center Chamber of Commerce announced in an Instagram post earlier this week. This will be the festival’s 22nd year; it was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, but returned in 2021.