New ideas keep percolating inside the Roasterie, as the basement-to-big-time Kansas City coffee purveyor celebrates its 20-year anniversary.
By CINDY HOEDEL
The Kansas City Star
The newest Roasterie café inside the company’s factory is another coup for Kansas City foodies. The café takes coffee service to new levels, offering a large selection of coffee beans, which are ground and brewed however you want it, including in a French press.
Just in case free Wi-Fi, a glass peek-a-boo-wall into the factory, Le Monde croissants and pain au chocolat and the coffee were not enough of a draw, owner Danny O’Neill decided to mount a vintage, aluminum-clad DC-3 airplane on the roof. But not just any which way.
“I said, ‘We will not desecrate the plane,’” O’Neill remembers. “There are two ways people display a plane: put it on a stick — yuck — or have it crashing through a building — yuck, yuck, yuck.”
Instead, O’Neill hired International Architects Atelier of Kansas City to design the café and plane mounting. The resulting space, with its glass roof framing a view of the plane and the blue “runway” lights that arc up the steel rails of the support structure, is so appealing that it touched off an unplanned event business for the company.
Event planning isn’t the only project brewing at the Roasterie. O’Neill is exploring the idea of building a bakery to ensure that he can get pastries into the Roasterie’s three cafés 364 days a year (they are closed on Christmas).
“I know having a bakery is going to be complicated, but we buy coffee from 34 countries; there’s nothing flipping easy about that. We put a plane on a roof cantilevered over property that we don’t own, over utilities, over a railroad, over a street, and I can tell you some brain damage went into that, so maybe because it’s hard I’m inspired for just that reason,” O’Neill says.
In another development, after years of saying “no” to licensing the Roasterie Café concept, O’Neill gave the go-ahead for two such projects, one at the Sprint campus in Overland Park and one inside a Hen House in Prairie Village.