We had the good fortune of connecting with Kris Karr and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kris, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
We all have talents, things that come naturally to us. For me, it is creativity. I didn’t know that I’d be able to pursue a career in the arts when I was in high school because those subjects (art, music, design, etc) were electives and viewed simply an easy class to help boost your GPA. I’m a first generation Mexican-American and my parents did not have the knowledge or resources to help guide me in that area. All I knew is that I had to get an education which was what was expected of me. It was not until I took college art courses that I realized that going into a creative field was an option! I truly believe doing what you are passionate for is what gives you the most satisfaction in life, which in turn makes you happy.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
After 29 years of dreaming about my business idea, I launched Kreative Grounds Café in 2023. I retired from my long-term job and with encouragement from family, friends, and daughter Adrienne, I took a leap of faith.

What sets us apart from others is our hybrid model which brings together coffee and art enthusiasts plus, we pride ourselves in creating a welcoming inclusive environment for all who visit our shop. Aside from our homey vibe, our customers may also be welcomed by our feline friends. We started feeding one cat that we named “Alley” (she’s a cute calico alleycat that showed up at our door one day) when we first started setting up the shop. Now we have a community of about 6 cats, she must have told her friends we love cats! So aside from enjoying local art exhibited on the walls, our creative coffee & tea drinks, and delicious food, we have also become a cat cafe!

Our community can take part in scheduled activities such as open mic every Friday night. Art classes, painting parties, and pop-up shops that are also offered as inspiration for those in search of creative experiences.

We are in our ninth month, and there have definitely been some challenges come our way. I feel so blessed to have the support of my family, friends and the community that wish for us to thrive and be successful. This fuels my fire and helps me keep going when times are tough.

I’ve learned so much during the whole process of opening a new business. The main thing that helped me is to stay positive and stay on course. I knew in my heart what I wanted to accomplish, and I needed to surround myself with the people who understood my vision and provided the guidance to help me accomplish my goal.

What brings me happiness is witnessing our customers enjoy our atmosphere and watching our artists flourish within our establishment. It validates all the challenges I’ve faced and makes it all worthwhile!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The best places in the Rio Grande Valley would be: South Padre Island, of course! Our beach is one of the cleanest and prettiest beaches in Texas. I’d take my friend to the turtle rescue center (Sea Turtle. Inc) to check out the marine and bird life. As far as food goes, my go-to breakfast place is the Grapevine Café. Their food is amazing! I’m a foodie and have tried many restaurants at the beach. A few of my favorites would be Blackbeards, Pirate’s Landing, D Pizza Joint and if we want to get a fancy meal, the Sea Ranch.

For beachside fun, definitely Clayton’s Bar & Grill for people watching, great frozen drinks, live music and fireworks in the evening.

I would then take my friend across the border to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. It is a safe visitor-friendly border town that is definitely a unique cultural experience. There are great restaurants with very attentive waiters that wait on you hand and foot! They make you feel special even though your meal WITH margaritas may only be less than $20! There is so much to see, vendors lined up on the sidewalks offering items such as fresh fruit, mexican-style corn, huaraches, hats, silver jewelry and so much more. There’s a great little hot spot disco where you can socialize and dance called La Galeria. You can get a margarita or cold beer and walk along the street taking all that is the Mexican culture at its best!

In the McAllen area, we have so many places to go. For a nice bike ride and to enjoy nature, I’d take my friend to the Mission Hike and Bike Trail. It’s a beautiful park for biking, running and for nature & birding enthusiasts. Plus in some areas, you get to see the Rio Grande River!

My favorite restaurant spots include:
Calacas Tacos & Beer – aside from the best tacos in the area, their walls are filled with cool murals that incorporate the community it serves.
Mama’s Pizzeria is the best place to get Italian-style pizza and they have great pasta dishes as well.
We also have a great food truck area by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce that has a variety of interesting and delicious food bites. I highly recommend! Especially during the weekend as they add a pop up featuring local vendors and live music.

I am chill, so I don’t really care for the night life too much. I’m perfectly happy with going out to dinner and a movie. Although when a special occasion comes around, going out to dance at the Deloreans 80’s themed bar or 80’s night at the Radisson hotel is definitely something to look forward to!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have 2 shoutouts. One is for my parents who moved to the U.S. as newly weds and despite their humble beginnings, raised a family, provided loving support and engrained their strong work ethic in my four brothers and I.

In the world of Marketing, which is most of my career (26 years to be exact!), a huge shoutout to my boss and mentor Mr. Al Moffitt III. He had faith in me and my abilities and I quickly climbed the corporate ladder from a graphic designer to managing the advertising department for South Texas’ largest furniture retailer. Under his wing, I learned creative marketing techniques, merchandising and operations. This invaluable experience has helped me throughout the opening and currently managing my own coffee shop.

Instagram: @kreativegroundscafe

Facebook: Kreative Grounds Cafe

Image Credits
KG Team: Left to Right, Shift Leads Bianka Salinas & Mike Flores, General Manager Adrienne Gordon Mondrian-inspired mural painted by Local Artist Christopher Karr PSJA Class of ’85 Sisters Birthday Tea Party celebration

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.