Chicago Weekender: The West Loop

January 25th, 2016 by: relatedchicago

The West Loop region of Chicago, which includes the neighborhoods of Fulton Market, Jackson Blvd., Greek Town, and Randolph Market, among others, has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last few years. It has gone from primarily an industrial neighborhood to one of Chicago’s most desirable residential enclaves. West Loop is now a vibrant and thriving place to call home, filled with art galleries, boutiques, theaters, food markets, and a culinary scene that rivals the most diverse and accomplished in the city.

The West Loop is also experiencing an influx of tech firms to the region including Google who recently relocated into 555,000 square feet of office space in the neighborhood. Chicago’s top developers and real estate brokers have played a huge role in the resurgence of the West Loop proven by the stunning new luxury residential buildings that have opened or plan to open throughout the budding region. Today, the West Loop is one of Chicago’s most enticing neighborhoods for young professionals in search of a cultured, urban lifestyle.

SHOP

Billy Reid | 845 West Randolph Street
Famed clothing designer Billy Reid opened his first Chicago store in a stunning building on West Randolph Street. In the subsequent years, the store has become one of the premiere shopping destinations in the neighborhood. Reid has cultivated a reputation for his finely crafted, classic looks with unique little alterations and flares. His West Loop stores is filled with his designs for both men and women as well as an array of accessories.

Kit and Ace | 821 West Fulton Market
Kit and Ace is a Canadian apparel brand founded in 2014 by the former lead designer of Lululemon Athletica Inc. Expert cashmere craftsmen, Kit and Ace opened their 19th store in West Loop last year. The brand’s machine-washable cashmere is incredibly popular and their Chicago location stocks a ton of options for both men and women in a myriad of styles. Their fabrics are unique and innovative blends that are somehow remarkably soft and resilient – and in a town as cold as Chicago, their extremely comfortable layers are a welcome sight.

Randolph Street Market Festival | 1340 West Washington Blvd.
The Randolph Street Market Festival takes place in Plumbers Hall in the West Loop’s Fulton Market District. This lively marketplace features 125 different vendors from October through April when it’s housed indoors, and more than 300 when it’s moved outdoors from May through September. Loads of acclaimed antiques and crafts vendors line the area, along with gourmet food purveyors, and the live music makes a visit all the more worthwhile.

Primitive | 130 North Jefferson Street
Primitive is undoubtedly one of the best antique stores in the West Loop. They stock an array of one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, furniture, paintings, prints, and sculptures with a global point of view. While their collections span the world, Primitive places particular emphasis on the arts of Asia and Africa.

Morlen Sinoway Atelier | 1052 West Fulton Market
Searching for an eye-catching new piece of furniture for your new condo? Morlen Sinoway Atelier is the place to go. Their collections are modern, chic, and luxurious, with a Scandinavian look and feel. Lighting, furniture, and area rugs are among their offerings, and they also stock elegant gifts like hand-crafted cutting boards as well as serving pieces, bags, and jewelry.

EAT

City Winery | 1200 West Randolph Street
City Winery in the West Loop, much like its sister locations in NYC, Napa, and Nashville, has become well known for its robust wine selection as well as its well-prepared food and impressive live music offerings. For an evening of drinks, dinner, and a show, City Winery is the place to be. Curious about the complex and often intimidating world of wine? The knowledgeable City Winery staff will serve as a great resource for learning.

The Aviary | 955 West Fulton Market
This acclaimed cocktail lounge is as innovative a bar as you’ll find anywhere – and that is no hyperbole. Drinks at The Aviary are distilled spirit science experiments in the truest sense: each option is meticulously crafted and prepared so every sip serves up a unique experience. “Mixology” may be an oft-touted trend, but here it’s just the way things are done: precisely and inventively.

RM Champagne Salon | 116 North Green Street
As you walk through the unmarked alley to reach the RM Champagne Salon, you may wonder what’s in store for you. But just as this thought enters your head, the alley opens up to a stunning courtyard with a bright yet rustic feel. When the weather is nice, you can sit outdoors and enjoy all types of sparkling wines you’ve likely never tasted before along with dishes that are made to complement them. Outside or in, RM Champagne Salon enchants with its French aesthetic, great food, incredible desserts, and bubbly galore.

Girl & The Goat | 809 West Randolph Street
Since opening its doors in 2010, Girl & The Goat has become one of the most popular and acclaimed restaurants in West Loop. Opened by the renowned, former Top Chef contestant Stephanie Izard, the restaurant is a massive, rustic, meat-centric eatery that quickly rose in stature and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation for best new restaurant in 2011. Innovative and wildly flavorful options fill the menu here, with each dish expertly designed and prepared in their large, open kitchen. At Girl & The Goat the lively, unpretentious atmosphere coalesces perfectly with the remarkably well-prepared food. Looking for something a bit more casual? Check out sister restaurant Little Goat Dinner right across the street! Little Goat offers a huge menu of creative, gourmet takes on comfort food classics.

Au Chevel | 800 West Randolph Street
Au Chevel is a charming, upscale diner that serves insanely delectable fare and some of the best burgers in the region. Au Chevel is a diner, but it’s one of the trendiest diners I’ve ever seen – and its renowned reputation ensures it is nearly always filled to the brim. While it’s hard to go wrong with any options here, their burgers are the primary attraction for good reason. They are large, juicy and wildly flavorful. One bite explains why people sometimes wait hours for a table. Moreover, Au Chevel has a wide selection of wine and beer and expertly made cocktails – it’s an all-around winner.

SoHo House | 113 North Green Street
Soho House Chicago is part of the worldwide Soho House, which is a members club comprised of hotels, bars, clubs and restaurants around the world. While members are afforded access to all of the various amenities Soho House Chicago has to offer- they have a series of acclaimed public restaurants as well. Fox Bar is a charming and rustic bar that serves vibrant cocktails and small plates, Chicken and Farm Shop serves up well-prepared and flavorful rotisserie chickens, Pizza East’s menu has an array of unique wood-fired pizzas, and The Allis functions as a juice bar and coffee shop during the day, and a colorful and lively bar at night.

Grace | 652 West Randolph Street
Grace is a three Michelin starred restaurant that serves up superbly inventive American fare and is one of the most acclaimed and famous restaurants in the country. Helmed by chef Curtis Duffy, Grace differs from many luxury restaurants due to their open kitchen. While many artists prefer not to be seen while they create, Duffy and co. treat the entire enterprise as a more interactive experience. They’ve removed the curtain and somehow increased their mystique. A meal at Grace -in which one chooses from two tasting menus, Flora or Fauna- is a true culinary adventure for the senses. It’s hard to find a better meal in Chicago – or anywhere else for that matter.

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