The Kansas City-based artist and interior designer duo behind Porter Teleo (also Schumacher collaborators) share their short list for enjoying the good life and finding inspiration down in Missouri’s cultural hub.
“Most people are unaware of the vital art community in Kansas City, says Porter. It has its own authentic vibe of sophistication and grit that leaves people unexpectedly charmed, Cochran adds.”
What to See
Kelly: I love the historic West Bottoms area, especially where it meets the River Market. There is a section where the buildings become sparse, because of all the railroad easements running through it, so you almost feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere. I get a lot of inspiration from the abandoned historic warehouse buildings with the sounds of the trains passing.
Bridgett: The Plaza during the holidays: 280,000 lights line the buildings of this 100-year-old, Spanish-inspired outdoor shopping area. They turn them on every year on Thanksgiving night in a big, traditional lighting ceremony.
Where to Eat
K: Bluestem for sure! When the James Beard-award-winning chef/owners approached me a couple of years ago about an original oil painting for their fabulous restaurant, I was overjoyed. Their food is artwork, so it only makes sense to have that fine art sensibility running throughout their beautiful restaurant, from the walls to the plates.
B: Bluestem! This is both my favorite restaurant and my favorite night out in Kansas City. The 10-course tasting menu is perfectly executed, as beautiful as it is tasty, and timed to punctuate the most perfect flow to an evening.
And when I am craving a sweet, I like to go to French Market for a strawberry tart.
Where to Drink
K: Any outdoor patio area on the Plaza, surrounded by architecture from the ‘20s and Spanish tile. You can’t go wrong with any of the handcrafted cocktails from Gram and Dunn.
B: In the fall and winter, you can’t beat the Horsefeather at the Rieger Hotel. It’s made with a Kansas City original, J. Rieger and Co. bourbon, which was lost during Prohibition and recently resurrected to a bit of a cult following. In the spring and summer, you can’t go wrong with the French Mistake at Café Europa. It’s a creative and elevated version of the gin and tonic, with Lillet Rouge and fresh lime.
What to Do
K: My favorite Thursday nights in Kansas City are the preview evenings the night before an exhibition opens at the Blue
Gallery on Southwest Boulevard. They always have an interesting crowd, and listening to an artist talk about their process and philosophy is always so inspiring.
Where to Stay
K: Hotel Indigo in the Crossroads. The developers really looked deep into the neighborhood and used a collection of local artists and companies to sculpt their hotel experience into something unique. Plus, there is a Porter Teleo suite!
B: The Raphael on the Plaza. It’s a great place to watch the holiday lights turn on, and a great place to hear some local jazz and have a drink with friends any time of year, even if the bar area is a bit dated.
And … the City’s Best-Kept Secret
K: My own garden, which is full of roses and peonies. I love to paint outside when the weather permits. Nothing better than painting en plein air!
B: Kansas City is just a big small town—there really are no secrets.