KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Almost anytime of the day or night, you can find folks on the corner outside The Roasterie looking up in wonder. A 1945 D-3 named Betty, after the founder's mom, serves as a reminder to the city to live life on the rim.
"The nuns would always say, 'go your best'. My dad would always say, 'go your best.' That's what its always been about," said Danny O'Neill. "Do your absolute best with your God-given talents."
Twenty-five years ago, Danny O'Neill started roasting coffee beans in the basement of his Brookside home. In that moment, the Roasterie was born and the coffee culture in Kansas City was forever changed. O'Neill's warm, high-octane philosophy permeates his business, like a good cup o' Joe warms the soul.
O'Neill is an Irish-Catholic boy from Iowa, with strong family roots and an early taste for coffee. He had his first sip in fourth grade at a stock car race.
"I remember one of these horrible, rancid Styrofoam cups. Typical Midwest farmers. It was incredibly hot and weak but I liked it." He picked his first coffee bean as an exchange student in Costa Rico. He roasted his first batch of coffee in a hot air popcorn popper, and then, he started having re-occurring dreams about coffee.
O'Neill recalls, "when I told my friends from Rockhurst, they said 'yeah. Make a living off that?' in a real sarcastic way, cause how could you make a living off selling coffee? Nobody did."
In a quarter of a century, O'Neill has traveled the world, building relationships with small coffee growers and bringing the best beans home to Kansas City, for thousands of different blends. Today, the Roasterie has nine locations. They can cold and nitro brews that are in almost every grocery store in the metro.
And Danny O'Neill, he still loves his coffee and faithfully downs between 20 and 30 cups a day.
"That is why I never get sick. I don't think there is anything that could possibly live in me."
With caffeine in his veins and continually dreams in his head, O'Neill cruises down the Boulevard in his self-driving car, thinking of a future where unmanned vehicles will deliver Roasterie blends all over town.
"I'm gonna hit a button on the phone, and we are gonna put two lattes or three espressos in the little autonomous vehicle and its gonna deliver it for us."
O'Neill is making plans for the building and parking lot across the street from the store. He wants to use it as space for the community to gather for entertainment, food trucks, even car shows.
The Roasterie has just released its limited edition 25th Anniversary Blend. And as always, daily tours provide samples, tips along with a souvenir glass. You can book a reservation at the Roasterie website.