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Old January 2nd, 2008, 06:38 AM   #41
spyguy
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http://www.timeout.com/chicago/artic...lo-my-name-is-

Hello, my name is ________________
Big chefs are coming in 2008; here’s a primer to help get you acquainted.

By Heather Shouse

Jose Garces
Best known for the two-year-old tapas restaurant Amada and the brand-new Spanish wine bar Tinto, both in Philly. Prior to opening these, he worked for years under Douglas Rodriguez, considered by many to have fathered the Nuevo Latino movement in America.
Big plans for a spacious Spanish tapas spot called Mercat a la Planxa. The menu is inspired by Catalan cuisine, so expect dishes like crispy bluefin tuna with ham-olive escabeche and black cod confit with blood sausage potatoes. Sangria supplements the Spanish wine list, and the design is said to reference the hexagonal shape of Barcelona’s famed outdoor market Mercat Boqueria.
Look for it in the soon-to-be renovated Blackstone Hotel at 600 S Michigan Ave in March.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 07:53 PM   #42
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Nice.. I would really love to see updated photos of the renovation..especially interiors!
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Old January 5th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #43
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..

Last edited by Loopy; May 19th, 2010 at 02:41 AM.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 01:36 AM   #44
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/re...l?ref=business

A Chicago Hotel’s New Life in a Rising Area

By ROBERT SHAROFF
Published: February 13, 2008


The restoration of the Blackstone, a fabled but long vacant hotel on South Michigan Avenue here, is evidence of a reviving lodging market in one of the country’s largest convention cities. It also reflects the newfound vitality of the South Loop neighborhood in the wake of the development of nearby Millennium Park in the early 2000s.


Walter L. Isenberg, Sage Hospitality’s chief executive, left, and Fletcher Mayes, the Blackstone’s general manager, in the restored ballroom. Below, a west-facing view of the hotel.
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Old February 14th, 2008, 02:07 AM   #45
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/re...l?ref=business

It also reflects the newfound vitality of the South Loop neighborhood in the wake of the development of nearby Millennium Park in the early 2000s.
[/I]
I don't know why but that line makes me laugh. I mean couldn't they have said a few years ago. It makes it sound like the year is 2108 instead of 2008. Maybe I just weird, idk.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 06:13 AM   #46
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The Blackstone is open. I talked to the doorman this afternoon. The hotel opened last weekend, the Starbucks on Michigan is open, and the restaurant, Mercat, is scheduled to open this coming weekend. All the construction barriers are down, and from a peek in the door it looks like the restaurant has a bar on the ground floor and a cool spiral staircase up to the restaurant itself on the 2nd floor. Entrance to Mercat on Michigan, and the main hotel entrance on Balbo.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 05:00 PM   #47
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Blackstone Hotel reopens after major renovation

By Kathy Bergen
2:44 PM CST, March 6, 2008


The historic Blackstone hotel, a Beaux-Arts architectural landmark at 636 S. Michigan Avenue, reopened Thursday after a $128 million restoration.

The long-dormant 23-story hotel, which will operate as a Renaissance brand, provided lodging for many 20th Century presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy, and such stars as Rudolph Valentino and Lena Horne. Its most famous suite is the infamous "smoke-filled room," where cigar-smoking Republican politicians brokered the nomination of Warren G. Harding during the 1920 convention.

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Old March 7th, 2008, 05:21 PM   #48
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http://www.nearwestgazette.com/Archi.../News0308e.htm

Grant Park street wall, surrounding buildings examined at GPAC meeting
By Hayley Carlton


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Old March 7th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #49
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Very schnazzy. It's always great when classic hotels get a second lease on life. Projects like this one and Spertus help make South Michigan Avenue a more viable corridor for tourists and residents alike.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 10:05 PM   #50
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I sort of like the lobby carpet, but the best I can say about the one in the ballroom is that it will usually be covered with tables and chairs!
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Old March 7th, 2008, 10:28 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by i_am_hydrogen View Post
Very schnazzy. It's always great when classic hotels get a second lease on life. Projects like this one and Spertus help make South Michigan Avenue a more viable corridor for tourists and residents alike.
Now if only the owners of the historic Congress Hotel would sell to a high end hotel chain, such as Ritz-Carlton. The place is in dire need of an extreme makeover.

And to think of it, our lovely Drake is a bit natty these days. It needs a NYC's Plaza-like makeover S.T.A.T.!
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Old March 7th, 2008, 10:32 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milepig View Post
I sort of like the lobby carpet, but the best I can say about the one in the ballroom is that it will usually be covered with tables and chairs!
Interesting...I think the lobby carpet is terrible. While I find the ballroom carpet amazing.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 10:45 PM   #53
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The first truckload of carpeting disappeared after it left the factory, so they had to have it rewoven. Imagine the guy in (where? North Memphis? Little Haiti? Querétaro?) opening up the rolls of carpet his brother-in-law somehow "acquired" for him and finding this.
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Old March 7th, 2008, 11:58 PM   #54
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Interesting...I think the lobby carpet is terrible. While I find the ballroom carpet amazing.

Well, I do need to admit that lurching up the steps after a big night on the town and being confronted with that swirly lobby carpet probably is a recipe for disaster.

We'll be there tomorrow evening as I've made a reservation for Mercat and I'll send in a full report.
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Old March 9th, 2008, 06:49 PM   #55
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Well, I do need to admit that lurching up the steps after a big night on the town and being confronted with that swirly lobby carpet probably is a recipe for disaster.

We'll be there tomorrow evening as I've made a reservation for Mercat and I'll send in a full report.
As promised. We enjoyed Mercat last night and will go back. It is nice to see some nightlife on this part of S. Michigan. Unfortunately, you don't really notice the change on the street, since the restaurant is tucked away upstairs and there is only a small door on Michigan that one could easily walk right past.

I was worried that the room would be very loud - open kitchen, tile walls, wood floor, etc. - but the found the level to be very bearable. We were promptly greeted in the downstairs bar, which was HOPPING, the shown right to our table upstairs, keeping a reservation time on the first night was a very good sign.

Service was great, although it lapsed a little in the middle. Great, reasonably priced wine list, heavy on the Spanish, of course, but many good selections in the $35 to $60 dollar range. The menu is HUGE and a bit confusing since it isn't laid out in any way that gives you a sense of direction. The server walked us though it, and being a confident enough diner to say "OK, help us out here" saved the day. She led us through a progression of small courses.

Starters include charcuterie plates that we didn't have, tapas like various croquettes (the serano ham was delicious), sizzling garlic shrimp, and other small plates. There are 3-4 rice based dishes - we had the delicious one with crab cake and lump crab mean, a similar number of pastas (pastas? are they Catalunyan?), and then grilled seafood and meats. The diver scallops and seared tuna were great, with the later tasting of sea salt. There are several pricey steaks, which we did not try, and the desert menu looked interesting but we were full.

Total bill for 2 with a $55 bottle of wine was $130, so not someplace one could just wander out to every evening.

In summation, I'm glad to see them in the 'hood, but it really isn't a neighborhood hangout kind of place.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #56
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/servic...,4216143.story

Garish accents mar Blackstone's grand restoration
Renovation adds fresh oomph to South Michigan Avenue

By Blair Kamin
March 9, 2008


If not for some atrocious contemporary accents in its public rooms, the $128 million renovation of the Blackstone -- home of the original "smoke-filled room," host to presidents and celebrities, a grand setting for Chicago's social rituals -- would be cause for full-fledged celebration. After all, the project adds a new jolt of vitality to a reviving South Michigan Avenue and showcases the fabulous eclecticism of turn-of-the-century architects Marshall & Fox. But its screeching furnishings, such as the lobby carpet that resembles a psychedelic lollipop melting in a cascade of candy-colored stripes?

--------------------

Kamin makes a good point, though, that the carpets and furniture can and will be replaced fairly soon into the future. At least this building has been saved and most of the major renovation work is complete.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 04:12 PM   #57
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Kamin makes a good point, though, that the carpets and furniture can and will be replaced fairly soon into the future. At least this building has been saved and most of the major renovation work is complete.

The lobby carpet is awful! Why do you say it will be replaced soon, though? Like, in a few years you are saying?
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Old March 11th, 2008, 11:38 PM   #58
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Hotels routinely rotate their interior decorations. The historic stuff can/will be kept, but stuff like the lobby furniture and carpeting will be replaced.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 02:27 AM   #59
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Hotels routinely rotate their interior decorations. The historic stuff can/will be kept, but stuff like the lobby furniture and carpeting will be replaced.
Got it... the question is WHEN.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 04:25 PM   #60
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Has anyone else noticed that the roof top is ringed by 'globe' shaped streetlights on poles? I saw it last night and they were lit up. It looked OK, but some of the poles were not perfectly vertical.
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