by STACY DOWNS | photos by ANNA PETROW
Even before you’re served a cocktail at the new Fox and Pearl restaurant, you’re treated to a feast for the senses.
Soaring 16-foot ceilings paradoxically feel warm and soothing like a hug from an old friend. The glow of light from leaded-glass windows and vintage fixtures shine on dozens of tall plants that envelop the entire space. Numerous details entice you to run your hand across them: The brown leather and green velvet banquettes. The smooth, cool marble bar. The rustic 16-foot-long 1800s wooden farm table.
“All of this mimics the cooking here – simple and preserving classic style,” says Chef Vaughn Good, who owns the Kansas City restaurant, known for meat-curing, canning, and pickling, with his partner, Kristine Hull, who studied architecture and interior design.
“People always point to a detail and ask ‘was this originally here?’” Hull says. “I love that question.”
The couple discovered the unusual space – originally a Swedish community center built in 1907 – in the city’s Westside neighborhood. They loved its potential and retained its maple flooring, metal columns, and windows. They added a large bar and a spectacular open-fire hearth on the main floor. A spiral staircase leads to a cellar-style bar in the basement where a turntable spins tunes from Good’s own vinyl collection.
“We want it to feel comfortable and homey but a little bit exotic,” Hull says.
FOX AND PEARL IDEAS FOR YOUR HOME
There’s plenty of wall space at Fox and Pearl with its tall ceilings. But Hull prefers not cluttering up the space so diners notice the architectural details, the food, the drink, and each other.
Instead, Hull keeps adding plants, mostly edible ones. There are dozens.
“You can never go wrong with plants,” Hull says. “They have no genre and they add personality.”
Local Tableware Photo showing the open shelves in dining room/kitchen with plates, bowls and boards; an additional detail shot there too.
There’s something special – almost magical – about serving handcrafted cuisine from handcrafted pieces.
The earthy dishware at Fox and Pearl are made by Mike Crouch Pottery in Lawrence and Convivial of Kansas City, Missouri. Wooden foodboards are made by Navidstet Jones, carpenter at the Fox and Pearl restaurant.
Most of the furnishings at Fox and Pearl are old. The 1800s farmhouse table that seats 18 is from a Mississippi farm and seed store. The wooden chairs are originally from the Texas A&M cafeteria and have been reupholstered, though you can’t tell. The marble bar top is from a military facility in Leavenworth.
Even the sound is old-school analog from Good’s vinyl collection.
Earth tones are used throughout the space. “Neutrals are timeless,” Hull says. She took palette inspiration from the concrete walls in the basement bar. Brown leather and moss velvet banquettes are the prominent hues in the space.
When you group together multitudes of something, it becomes a statement. Dozens of vintage brown-glass bottles that Hull collected sparkle like stained glass in the window that peeks through the basement bar.
Owners Chef Vaughn Good and Kristine Hull met when the two worked at the former Pachamama restaurant in Lawrence. They opened Hank Charcuterie in Lawrence and noticed most of their customers drove in from Kansas City. So the two moved to Kansas City to open Fox and Pearl, named for their two daughters’ middle names.
Fox and Pearl is located at 2143 Summit St.; Kansas City, Missouri 64108; 816-437-7001; foxandpearlkc.com