Roasterie updates: cafe at KU Hospital, shipping container store, TukTuk delivery vehicle

Danny O’Neill in his new Roasterie TukTuk.
Danny O’Neill in his new Roasterie TukTuk. The Kansas City Star

Kansas City’s homegrown coffee roaster, The Roasterie , is replacing Starbucks at The University of Kansas Hospital.

The new shop opened at 8 a.m. Monday on the first floor of The Center for Advanced Heart Care, on Cambridge Street between Rainbow Boulevard and State Line Road, south of West 39th Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. It is open to the public.

Starbucks had been in the heart center since it opened in 2006, but the hospital said it had three main reasons for making the change:

▪  The Roasterie’s very first coffee sale was made to the coffee cart at The University of Kansas Hospital in 1993.

▪  The Roasterie will donate 3 percent of sales back to the hospital for staff continuing education programs.

▪  The Roasterie is a Kansas City owned and operated company and active throughout the community.

Roasterie founder Danny O’Neill also has another reason.

“I was banged up in two motorcycle accidents with a lot of broken bones and KU patched me back up,” he said.

In addition to The Roasterie Café, Roasterie coffee also will be offered in the Elements 4 Life convenience food stop in the hospital’s main cafeteria, and at the Parkway Café in the Westwood Campus.

And five hospital employees will be chosen to visit The Roasterie headquarters at 1204 W. 27th St. and create a special blend for the hospital.

The Roasterie also has a cafe at its headquarters, as well as cafes in Brookside and Leawood. A licensed Roasterie cafe opened in the remodeled Corinth Square Hen House in Prairie Village in mid-2013 but it was recently converted to a Starbucks.

In other Roasterie updates:

▪ O’Neill plans to open his first drive-thru shipping container store in early 2016.

The eco-friendly store will be built out of a used shipping container, which are typically scrapped when they are no longer used to ship freight. O’Neill is scouting locations, including one on Southwest Boulevard, as well as sites in Midtown and the Crossroads.

“I don’t like drive-thrus, I never go through them, but the public does,” he said. “So if we are going to do one I want it to be fun, cool and neat.”

It will have a mirror on the ceiling so customers can watch their drink being prepared. If they don’t like sitting in the drive-thru lane or if they don’t want to have their car idling while they wait, they can order on the screen or order on a new Roasterie app, then park and a Roasterie employee will bring the order to their car.

Starbucks also has about 30 locations made out of containers and prefabricated materials in more than a dozen states.

▪ TukTuk, a 3-wheel motorcycle, is a popular means of transportation in Asia. But the Roasterie’s new TukTuk will be transporting coffee at charity events and parades.

“We’ve always wanted a practical mobile vehicle. The Airstream is 32 feet and this is about 6 feet,” O’Neill said.

Employees can just drive in and load up with coffee — enough to fill up as many as 1,200 cups. It also will be used for deliveries near the headquarters.

“We haven’t figured that out yet. It probably won’t be for just one drink but it will be a low minimum,” he said.

▪ Roasterie also recently refreshed its Brookside cafe and will soon refresh its cafes in Leawood and at the factory. The cafes will remain open during the remodeling process, which is scheduled to start in mid-October.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC