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.
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 Diners can customize each time-honored patty with onions, pickles, or shredded historical documents from the condiments table.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.
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.
Founded by Ken Euston in 1971, Euston Hardware's old-fashioned legacy continues under the helm of Ken's son. Kevin, who has since grown the shops into three locations, keeps the shelves packed with more than 65,000 items for homes, landscaping, and automobiles. Experts chat with customers to help them to tackle projects from changing a car's oil to painting their house solid green so it can be replaced with a CGI castle. Home-improvement tools, which include items for the kitchen and bath, keep domiciles functioning at their best. The friendly staff can also guide green thumbs to lawn and garden supplies or help them select the right locks and outdoor equipment to keep their tools from escaping and impersonating the local robocop.
The Greensman's crack team of garden maintainers safeguards yards from colorless springs and chaotic appearances with both planting and cleaning services. Banish bothersome leaves and debris from autumnal kingdoms with a fall clean up led by a duo of Greensman’s garden-cultivating knights. The two-hour cleaning clears twigs and limbs, cleans up perennials, and hacks unruly bear-shaped hedges back into well-mannered topiaries. Though Greensman staffers can tidy up landscapes with a number of tools, the use of special equipment—including Bobcats, chainsaws, and T-shirt cannons filled with fertilizer—is not included.