Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spotlight on the West Loop

This neighborhood has truly blossomed over the past 2 decades to become one of the most livable and entertaining neighborhoods. Once filled with artists, design and photography studios it is now home to all that plus the folks that realized walking to work in the loop was a great way to start the day.

The neighborhood is bounded by restaurants – Greek along Halsted, a wonderful assortment of restaurants near the northern boundary on Randolph and a wealth of choices in between. A few favorites are a great new breakfast place at Jackson and Halsted called Miele. Be prepared to wait on weekends for brunch.

Another great weekend brunch location is Inas (the breakfast queen as she is more commonly called) at 1235 W. Randolph. You can get pretty much anything you can imagine and there is always a great twist on most breakfast ideas on the weekend. In the summer there is outdoor seating along Randolph which is a bit quieter where she is located at the western end of the boulevard.

If your in the mood for a little spice, hit Wishbone which is around the corner from Harpo Studios where The Oprah Winifrey Show is taped. They do an excellent, speedy and affordable weekend brunch as well with that southern twist. There is an abundance of outdoor seating here.

One of my favorite more casual and elegant spots is Sepia at 123 N. Jefferson. The interior is terrific and the menu fantastic. A great date night place.
If  you still can't decide, then just park and walk down Randolph where you will have dozens of excellent dining alternatives.

And you can get a real taste of the area this weekend at Taste of Randolph Street - Friday evening the 18th through Sunday night the 20th. The entrance is at 900 W Randolph and features the galleries, restaurants from the area and great entertainment from all over the world.

Once a meat packing and industrial district, it may be the place in Chicago where lofts were invented or at least perfected. Wonderful industrial space turned into lofted living space and then the wave of building throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s brought soft lofts and new construction

The housing market in this neighborhood tends toward attached single family (townhome, duplex, condo) with average prices holding pretty steady. Over the last 2 years the price has dropped only slightly (4.1%) in what has been a generally tough housing market. However, they have seen a longer market time (193 days this June versus 123 days on market 2 years ago). Patience is required.

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