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Closer Look – July 2024

Penguin Piano Bar

The Penguin Piano Bar & Restaurant 
Located in downtown Columbia, The Penguin Piano Bar & Restaurant invites guests to enjoy a selection of house cocktails and dinner options accompanied by live music. Though it originally debuted in 2004, the establishment faced an unexpected closure due to the pandemic. Over the past several months, owner Jesse Garcia and his team have worked to reopen the iconic space, installing a new kitchen and partnering with local chef Louis Marrero to develop a scrumptious menu.  

Penguin Piano Bar

After four years of closure, the restaurant reopened on March 22 of this year, earning acclaim as “the best COVID comeback story ever,” according to General Manager Hannah Nelson. 

A notable aspect of the bar and restaurant is its predominantly female leadership, with Nelson serving as GM, Danielle Preyer as assistant manager, and Raven Saylor as production manager for music bookings. 

“I’m a female under thirty running this business,” Nelson remarks, “which I think [allows me to] bring a fresh perspective.” 

In addition to its enthusiastic staff, The Penguin offers a diverse lineup of live music and entertainment, featuring dueling piano shows, full bands, local happy hour performances, and piano karaoke on Wednesdays; as of now, it stands as the sole venue in town to offer piano karaoke and dueling piano entertainment. Shows will be scheduled throughout the summer, with upcoming dates on its Facebook page. Dinner reservations can be made through its website. 

1025 E Broadway | penguincomo.com | info@penguincomo.com 

Porter Intelligence

Soft-launched in December 2023, Porter Intelligence is a woodworking business that specializes in crafting high-quality hardwood pieces such as charcuterie boards, small kitchen storage, and decor from regionally sourced materials. At the helm of the small business is Jeff Porter, a retiree whose fascination with the craft led him to pursue it as a business endeavor in recent years. 

Porter’s interest in woodworking began in the late 1980s when he and his wife, Laura, moved into an 1872 house in Arkansas. “We couldn’t afford to hire out all the work, so I slowly learned how to use tools to create cabinets, build window and door frames, install wooden flooring, and more,” he says.  

Initially, Porter had planned to start a research and consulting business under the same name — Porter Intelligence. However, while recovering from an injury, he discovered his true passion for woodworking through watching various woodworking project videos.  

Since its opening, Porter Intelligence has earned a reputation for precision and beauty in craftsmanship. “You can certainly buy cheaper wood products in [many] places,” he explains, “however, local craft artists offer higher quality and unique styles. If I’m making a single charcuterie board, it has my entire focus in the shop … Each of my creations has a unique story behind it.” Porter Intelligence pieces can be purchased through the store website and are showcased at local events periodically.

573-401-1970 | jeffporter.net | pi@jeffporter.net
Photo by Laura Killett Porter

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