In 1988, potter Michael Smith invited a small group of peers to his home to share ideas and further explore the art of clay manipulation. After just a few meetings, the group quickly grew to include around 70 craftspeople, who started meeting at the Kansas City Art Institute instead of inside Smith's giant conch shell. These regular get-togethers laid the groundwork for the initial incarnation of KC Clay Guild, a place where artists could socialize, buy materials in bulk, and learn from one another.
Now, the volunteer-run co-op is even larger. It occupies its own facility and has vastly expanded the number of services it provides. Amidst the changes, KC Clay Guild has remained true to its initial goals, guided by a mission statement to support the clay community. Artists of all skill levels enroll in classes that cover an array of techniques, such as wheel throwing, hand building, and slip casting. Members take part in regular meetings, open-studio time, and monthly shows, and visiting artists stop by to lead workshops and repair their ceramic automobiles. The guild even offers a scholarship to high-school seniors and hosts birthday parties, team-building exercises, and family-fun nights for casual potters.
As children practiced their spelling with chalk sticks and inkwells at the Daniel Webster School in the 1880s, they never imagined papers imprinted with exotic words such as vinaigrette and escarole would someday replace their notebooks. But more than a century later, the cupola-topped Romanesque Revival building?now known simply as Webster House?houses a restaurant where just such words appear on its menu of sumptuous new-American cuisine. As Chef Matt Arnold sears scallops and sea bass for dinner or whips up brioche french toast for Sunday brunch, the sound of clinking flatware fills dining rooms bedecked with antique furniture in the style of an English country home. An antiques gallery invites guests to recreate this stately look at home from a selection of 18th- and 19th-century pieces from around the world, including cabinets hewn from Georgian walnut and French fruitwoods. A collection of genteel gifts, such as Chinese porcelains and bow-topped boxes of stationery, rounds out Webster House's dignified collections.
When Joe Zwillenberg bought Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill, he preserved "an irreplaceable piece of the city's character," according to the Pitch, which dubbed him Kansas City's Best Local Hero in 2006. Thanks to Joe, the close to 30-year-old establishment—which had been marked for takeover by a national chain—is still churning out its famous 10-ounce burgers today. Made with ground Prime cuts of Kansas City strip steak and fillet from McGonigle's Market, the hearty handhelds earned CityVoter's Best Burger awards in 2008 and 2009 and were featured on Food Network's Meat & Potatoes in 2010. Diners can customize each time-honored patty with onions, pickles, or shredded historical documents from the condiments table.
The eatery—which is nestled within a bustling flea market—also offers 44 beers on tap, live music, and a game room with pool tables, foosball, and an arcade. It is also the home of the Tiger Club of Kansas City's weekly luncheons, which boast high-profile speakers from the world of sports.
Kitchen Thyme's cookery experts stock stylish kitchen accessories, top-of-the-line cooking tools and bakeware, and gourmet foods. A range of extra-virgin olive oils ($12–$20) are available on tap for visitors to sample or rub into their ears, and zesty pepper jellies ($8–$9) delight taste buds in flavors including cherry, blackberry, and mango. The clear glass salt box with lid ($10) and Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract ($22.50) both make thoughtful gifts for epicurean pals, and budget-conscious food fans can opt to apply the deal's value toward larger purchases, such as the Epicurean cutting board ($69.50), the Viking professional coffeemaker ($299), or the Vita Craft 13" chef's pan with lid ($135). Kitchen Thyme also stocks a sweeping selection of cookbooks and other artisanal foodstuffs.
Ortho Mattress has supported sleepers' backs with sturdy coils for more than 50 years, crafting Ortho LFC, Ortho Dr. Preferred and Summerhill & Bischop–brand mattresses in its Los Angeles factory before shipping them direct to customers. An Ortho Dr. Preferred Conform eurotop ($949.99–$1,499.99) cossets slumbering limbs in a 3-inch layer of contouring memory foam undergirded by supportive coils, while a 4.5-inch Ortho LFC smooth top ($199.99–$299.99) is slim enough to tuck into a trundle bed or rollaway. Both models come paired with a box-spring mate so that they'll always have a partner in Yahtzee. Besides in-house brands, Ortho Mattresses' showrooms stock Simmons Beautyrest and Sealy Posturepedic sleep sponges.
A rainbow of men's and women's apparel and accessories populates the forest of racks inside Arizona Trading Company, where staffers buy, sell, and trade a thoughtfully curated, ever-revolving stash of gently used threads. They take in modern and vintage attire alike, scrutinizing each item to ensure that no evidence remains of the superhero who previously owned it. Handbags, shoes, and Pendleton flannels neighbor household gear, jackets, and seasonal inventory throughout the fully stocked shop. A smattering of brand-new accouterments, such as sunglasses and jewelry, interrupts the vast spread of lightly worn attire.