KC Commodes

Red Door Grill - Bathrooms for All.

Red Door Grill- Brookside Waldo Area

Red Door Mens

This city never ceases to surprise us. The people we meet. The events around it that encourage us all to enjoy one another and the moments they provide. The camaraderie alone gives us pride to be a business in such an amazing city.

With certain areas of town comes certain neighborhood spots and one of our favorites is The Red Door Grill in Brookside. Taking the opportunity when we can to visit the local bar and grill, one of the core places in the restaurant stood out.

The Bathrooms, of course.  

Red Door Grill

In a small nook between the outdoor space and the restaurant itself the facilities reside. One long gorgeous sink, large enough to accommodate everyone who needs it sits in between the actual stalls. On the left, the Women’s doors, on the right the Men’s.  Each room or closet gives maximum privacy to its occupant.

The attention to detail, the cleanliness of the space maximized by the dark wood doors and elegant white tiles will catch your attention. After talking with Brian, the General Manager about the design concept he discussed how the Brookside and Waldo areas are older but they are areas of town that encourage forward thinking and enjoy simple concepts when it comes to their homes.

“We want Red Door patrons to feel comfortable when they are here.”  Laughing beside one of the Men’s spaces he continued on “and out there” motioning towards the restaurant itself.

While the concept of shared bathrooms seems to be catching on all over the city the way Red Door orchestrated this one is very unique. The idea of a bathroom “space” conveniently placed closer together but allowing privacy is not a simple feat to execute. Yet they did. 

 

The Manifesto Experience

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Speakeasy: “An illicit liquor store or nightclub.”

 

The prohibition-like speakeasy has made its resurgence over the last several years, popping up all over urban areas across the country. Of course Kansas City joined this movement with gusto, opening up several in the downtown area.  One that has received attention is Manifesto, connected somewhat to the old Reiger building.

The Reiger was in its original form a hotel and according to their website was located on “The Wettest Block in town” before prohibition. Now it's a prime time spot for happy hours, dinner and drinks for anyone of age within the metro area.    

Feeling like we should do a little recon on the subject of the speakeasy, Manifesto became a target.  Securing a reservation was the first order of business, and it is done only by text message. You initiate contact then receive confirmation that they have space available. Only then do you send your name and party information over.  

 

Choosing a Friday nighttime slot and enlisting some friends to join me it was time to see what this place had to offer. Walking down the narrow alley way, stepping up onto the back “porch” before sliding into the back entrance, there were no signs guiding us. Thank goodness I was with professionals, the sort of late night drinkers who can sniff out a backdoor bar without hesitation.

The reservation desk, slightly hidden from plain site, greeted our party.  Before we could share our name, they knew why we had found them. Turning slightly towards a narrow flight of stairs the only identifying sign for Manifesto hung above our heads, reading “Mind Your Head” and “Cocktails Liberated”. 

Carefully walking down the narrow staircase towards what seemed to be an old cellar the mood slowly surrounded us. No lighting with the exception of candles, no phone usage, and plenty to drink.

Our table situated in the back part of the room allowed for perfect surveillance of the crowd. All ages of patrons sat around us, enjoying drinks of a unique kind. Having a mild palate myself, the first thing we all noticed was the drink menu. If you have a simple taste in libations, this is not the place for you. Period. There is no order taken that deviates from the menu. And that is not negotiable.

Choosing a simple concoction of rum, vodka, grapefruit juice and pepper I had my doubts. Shortly that concern was lifted. After another round it was time for a restroom break. 

Carefully we maneuvered the narrow stairs once more to the main floor. Sharing the facilities with the Reiger the bathrooms had to be good.  Being a fan of the prohibition era I was hopeful, the old porcelain stools stood out, white as could be with the brass accents. The tile with black accents also a perfect classic match. One stall slanted, covering the corner space in order to make room for each guest during their private moments. Just as expected it was unique and quite lovely.  The feeling of history prevailed, in every detail. The simple mirrors, faucets, and wall hangings all reminded us of the buildings age.  

The real surprise, however, came from the Men’s room. In a building with so much history we should have not been surprised. Just being present within the space allows the nostalgia to flow. Seeing our friend exit the men’s room with a smile it was obvious.   

“Al Capone Peed Here.” He chuckled. “Who knew?”   Showing us the picture he took as evidence we too enjoyed the moment.  

At the end we all agreed on that the experience was one for the record books. It’s not everyday you get to relieve yourself where Al Capone hung

From Scratch in Every Batch

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Dolce Bakery, a made-from-scratch bakery nestled in the Village shops of Prairie Village, is just the spot for beautiful and delicious sweet treats guaranteed to keep you returning for more. The popular, long-time resident of the Village found herself in the enviable spot of outgrowing the kitchen at the original Dolce Bakery, necessitating the move to the more spacious current location. The practical move quickly evolved from a simple re-location to an exercise in branding awareness and an opportunity to refresh the bakery’s brand.

 

Avoiding the Cookie-Cutter Look

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This included working with design expert Brent Anderson to create a branding campaign including a new color palette and font along with a redesign of the space. “I know what I like, but I love working with experts who are just as passionate about what they do as I am about baking,” Erin said.

After six years at the original location, Erin had a good idea of how she wanted the new location to look and feel, but when she didn’t find what she was looking for she wasn’t shy about asking for advice. True to the bakery’s every batch from scratch motto, Erin started at the beginning, seeking out the expertise of local craftspeople regarding the look and design of the dining and bathroom areas.

 

A Cohesive Approach

Throughout the light and airy space, Dolce Bakery visitors will find a comfortable, lived-in area warmed by handmade lights and accents of chocolate-colored local wood around the pastry cases, front counter and shelving, designed by Randy Taylor of RWT Design and Fabrication. When it came to the bathroom design, Erin choose to switch up the plans during the construction phase and move the bathroom facilities from the back of the building to the front to add more space in the kitchen.

dolce lights

With the bathroom in a more prominent location, Erin decided a cohesive look would be necessary. Here she envisioned a simple bathroom design that would translate as shiny, bright and pretty and feel clean and fresh. Some things remain easier said than done. After coming up empty-handed at the tile store, Erin approached the store’s resident tile expert for advice on tile for the new bathroom space. His recommendation included a large, shiny white subway tile set in a subtle wave pattern. Several aisles over, he pointed her toward tile accents jeweled with clear mosaic glass. The room is finished with architectural accent tiles at the top and bottom, and a soft minty green color from the Dolce Bakery color palette completes the clean, white bathroom and creates a sense of cohesiveness with the rest of the space. The bathroom also features an unexpectedly elegant pedestal sink and oval mirror. It should come as no surprise that the 2015 Battle of the Brands winner also receives kudos on the bathroom design with customers asking to snap a picture of the bathroom on their way out the door.

 

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dolce sign

“Everything about the design is an extension of what we’re trying to do.” Erin said. “People come here to share food, conversation and emotions, and I want them to feel at home and comfortable anywhere in this environment.”

Check Dolce Bakery out HERE, and make sure to stop by for your Valentine’s goodies!

Hot Food, Cool Design

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Stylish Urban

The American burger restaurant is as common as apple pie or 4th of July fireworks. So, how do you transform a well-known concept and create a way to make it stand out from the herd?

Enter BRGR Kitchen + Bar, a progressive restaurant concept that proves to even the snobbiest foodies that the burger can be a sophisticated meal. Offering unique sandwiches such as the “Steakhouse Burger” with watercress & steak sauce to the “Fast Cow,” a burger that’s espresso-encrusted. (We see what they did there.)

The restaurant’s interior design focuses on modern style with geometric décor and a mix of wood and brushed metallic finishes. The atmosphere is hip and cool, and the bathroom facilities are no exception.

 

Breaking Down Barriers

 

The restrooms have an open view with both men and women sharing the same sinks. Before the four individual bathrooms is a bank of three sinks that are designed with a rustic farmhouse vibe. It’s distinctive from the modern front of house but complements it nonetheless.

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The walls of each bathroom are floor to ceiling and there are full-length doors on each restroom with a deadbolt lock.

Each restroom has its own name. The women’s are Flo and Vera while the men’s are a bit more obvious…Jon and Lou.

“Alan Gaylin (CEO & founder), our architect and I went around the country to find ideas and this open concept restrooms was very common in large cities,” said Tara Van Loenen, VP of Marketing & Branding for Bread & Butter Concepts (the company that owns BRGR).

“We thought it was really a neat idea, because a person gets the privacy of their own room for using the facilities, but we save space by using a communal sink.”

 

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Gaylin, as a restaurateur, appreciates great architecture and design. BRGR took a risk introducing an uncommon restroom design but their customers have embraced them and appreciate the new, modern approach to the food, service and environment.

Check out the unique restrooms at BRGR + Kitchen and Bar at the Power & Light District, and grab yourself a burger or a handcrafted cocktail. (We know you want to!)

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KC Commodes: Faulkner Ranch

KC Commodes

You may not find Faulkner’s Ranch in a tourism brochure next to the Power and Light District or Crown Center, but years of history have polished this quaint piece of farmland into a hidden gem of Kansas City. A family business that began in the 1950’s by Bud and Mary Faulkner, started as an outpost for square dancing apparel and evolved to a western store featuring anything from saddlery to tack.

In 1986, Bob and Dick, two grandchildren of Bud and Mary, evolved Faulkner’s Saddlery to a successful equipment manufacturing venture that continues to ship internationally to this day.  Opportunity knocked again in 1988 when Bob was asked to run the Benjamin Ranch.

 

Ranch

 

Opportunity Knocks…

Faulkner Ranch continued to grow and in 1999, Bob suggested his daughter Christine to use her hospitality management degree at home and “make” a pumpkin farm. The job title of “pumpkin farmer” isn’t exactly glamorous. However, her family roots kicked in as well as her love of event production and entrepreneurship. And thus, the Faulkner Ranch was born 1999.

commodes Faulkner Ranch

The ranch is a private, event facility that produces turnkey events, giving all-inclusive services such as catering, entertainment, and setup/teardown. Events are hosted inside the climate controlled banquet barn and outside there’s a covered pavilion for additional seating as well as a stage for the live entertainment.

Pleasantly Surprised

Being out in more of a rustic barn ranch environment you might expect something akin to a camping trip, right? Wrong! Guests enter the facilities and welcomed by areas that are nice, clean, air conditioned, and heated….and so much more!

Historical Keepsakes

A lot of the décor in the ranch and bathrooms was brought from the historical Benjamin Ranch including reclaimed wood and light fixtures. In addition to the lovely men’s and women’s restrooms, there’s a family restroom in the pony party place in the next building over from the main facility. The Faulkner’s show their highly-valued opinion on family by placing changing tables in both the men’s and women’s restrooms.

“My Mother took over the décor in the ladies’ room when we first built it and used a lot of her fashion cowboy boots hanging on the walls. And her, purses and accessories. I think she has a Roy Rogers purse hanging on the wall that’s very precious to her. So, we try to keep it light and feminine but western. The facility itself here we try to keep neutral so that you don’t have to have a western themed event if you don’t really want to,” said Loneman.

Party Time

The ranch hosts a variety of events from weddings, to corporate events, to children’s birthday parties. The idea behind it is so the person responsible for planning the event can show up and actually enjoy it instead of worrying about cooking or cleaning.

“We have what we call ranch specialties. There are activities throughout the ranch that are staffed and include all kinds of interactive activities for families to play together, such as pony rides, petting farm, zip line, fishing, corn cannon, moonwalks and more. In addition, there are outside activities called Ranch Recreation that are not staffed, but they’re fun interactive games that a guest would walk up and play on their own, such as, sand volleyball, hillbilly golf, horseshoes, washers and other games of that nature.”

The Faulkner family puts prides in their ranch and is so thrilled to offer a unique experience for the families that visit their ranch.

Learn more about the Faulkner Ranch history at http://www.faulknersranch.com/

 

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KC Commodes: Arvest Theatre at the Midland

Historic Rebel

Kansas City was born with a rebel spirit. The year is 1927. Picture the Mafia, a booming Jazz scene, World Series winning Monarch baseball, bootleggers at every corner, a national railroad hub, and extravagant live entertainment. In essence, Kansas City was the Crossroads of America (and it still is). At the center of this thriving year, the Midland Theater opened its doors for the first time – bringing a liveliness to KC that will live for generations.

Living in KC, we’re no strangers to the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. The diverse events that come through range from a Tech N9ne concert to a private charity casino night. Either way, in the last eight years, the Midland has gone from a defunct AMC Theaters venture to a resurrection of a historic Kansas City mainstay.

 

 

Bringin’ it Back

The Cordish Company, a real estate and entertainment operating venture, was looking to bring exciting events and concerts back to downtown Kansas City. In 2007 they developed this vision with the famous Kansas City Power and Light district filling it with unique shopping, delicious dining, and entertainment. Now, weekend experiences include viewings at Alamo Drafthouse and concerts at the KC Live! Block. Cordish continued to revitalize Kansas City’s arts and entertainment scene by forming a partnership with AEG Live and investing $16 million into the historic Midland theater.

 

 

Decades Later…

As a registered historic building, Cordish was inspired to update the 21st century standard while maintaining the spirit of Kansas City. Larry Hovick, General Manager of the Midland, loves all the well-preserved details of the building. “Some obvious aspects were preserved such as the exterior façade of the building and the color scheme of the interior,” Hovick said. As you enter the theater, there’s vintage warmth and the building exudes both the regality of early 20th century entertainment and the freshness of a venue visited by the most groundbreaking acts.

Restrooms with a Past

“The bathrooms built in the Roaring Era are primarily intact,” Hovick said. “They were given the modern treatment of renewed plumbing and more than a handful of dollars went to making the facilities ADA compliant.” Upon entering the restroom, your eyes immediately go to the striking terrazzo floors. Terrazzo tile is often used as a flooring option and small cracks run through the tile almost like the veins of a weathered body….showing the life of the theater.

 

The Powder Room

Another characteristic of these colorful commodes is the interior design. You are brought back to the original times of the building as you realize you’re standing in a smoking room. Before smoking was deemed bad for you, women would sit in smoking rooms that acted as a corridor to the actual bathroom. It also houses the modern wonder known as a “telephone booth.” Even though smoking and secret phone booth conversations have slowly been replaced with quick phone checks and selfies, this unique addition is a rarity in public restrooms – adding a robust historic experience to your night of entertainment.

 

The Down Low

KC’s rebel roots go deep. As in underground, in the dark deep. Perhaps the worst or best-kept secret (depending on who you ask), is the Midland’s basement affectionately called the “Titanic”. Located behind and below backstage you will find a corridor; this secret hide-away has been a part of interesting experiences and stories from performers over the years. It also has an underground tunnel system that is now, sadly, out of commission. During prohibition, performers would use these secret tunnels to make their get-a-ways during raids. You make us proud, KC forefathers! The Midland’s long and eventful, rebel history continues to give life to a building that will entertain Kansas Citians for years to come. Check out these wise old bathrooms for yourself, and look out for upcoming events the Midland found on their website at www.midlandkc.com.

 

 

KC Commodes: Anton's Taproom

Antons

Sustainable Chic

Growing up with gardens in West Pennsylvania, self-preservation and sustainability were important values for this local KC business owner. Knowing how to grow, cure, age and pickle were tools of the trade. Anton Kotar, owner of Anton’s Taproom, believes that the tides are changing in our eating habits, and the first step of moving with the tide is by creating the best atmosphere. And for Anton’s….it starts with the bathroom.

Antons

“When it came time for those bathrooms, it was important that they fall in with what we have going here,” said Kotar.

Located in the Crossroads neighborhood, Anton’s Taproom is paving the way for restaurants in the 21st century. Their vision behind the success is not only setting the highest standards for customer service and culinary taste, but also creating a sustainable operation. Every employee, with goals of both high profit and high satisfaction, practices it in the restaurant.

Housed in a century old building, the space both emulates rustic and urban vibes. We often think of older buildings as drafty and cold, however, the restaurant runs it’s heat by a system of water pipes warming the floors with water reused and recycled by the restaurant itself. Heating and reusing its own water helps save both Anton’s water and gas bill, mitigating monthly operational costs.

Head down the stairs to the restrooms and you’ll see why we rave about this plumbing masterpiece.

As you descend the bright red stairs you start catching wafts of basil and other fresh garden herbs, along with aromas of cured, aging meats behind glass. It’s all part of an aquaponic system that reuses water and waste in a way that requires simple upkeep.

anton plant

Underneath the jungle of herbs, Tilapia can be seen swimming around in their own aquarium. They are a vital part to the ecosystem; much of their waste is what gives the herbs their nutrients to grow fast and lush.

The water goes through a deionization process removing all impurities and leaving crystal clear water. A water feature running through a gutter to downspout collects all water that the restaurant uses. It then runs to a sump pump, allowing it to be purified and reused again. Kept in a series of insulated water tanks, the system operates on a heat exchanger with a retrograde gas line and resupplies the building with a steady flow of heated water by compressors.

Both men’s and women’s restrooms are built of brick and stainless steel walls, utilizing reclaimed vintage doors as sturdy stalls with a distinct rustic feel. The sink is a three-tub steel piece located outside both restrooms, with the intention to keep everyone honest about washing their hands.

It’s easy to do the “normal” way, but Anton’s Taproom gets KC to start thinking about our natural resources and how we consume them. We have dubbed Anton’s as “Sustainable Chic,” because they show us how creating a better atmosphere in small ways makes an incredible impact. It’s the unique values that give KC its’ foundation of being the best city in America!

Check out more about Anton’s Taproom at antonskc.com or go exploring yourself!

KC Commodes: Commodes that Mean Business

Kansas City is the IT town. We’ve got it all: A-List sports teams, America’s best BBQ, booming local business, robust history and architecture, a vibrant arts and music scene, and food that is making National Top 25 Lists – the buzz about this great city is not going anywhere. We’re a city of great things, but here at Morgan Miller Plumbing, we know that we’re also a city of great bathrooms!

We are taking a closer look at the places we go. Bathrooms are shared experiences among all of us and a decent place to go is always an important factor in our daily comforts. Which is why we want to show you the best places to go in KC. From fancy tiled walls to geometrics sinks, we’re checking out the bones of the city from behind the scenes (literally) in our “Stalling Out – KC Commodes that mean business” blog.

Stay tuned for our first KC Commode: Anton’s Taproom!