It all begins with four California kids that end up falling in love with Colorado.
Dan and Alyssa grew up and got married in Riverside, CA and moved to Redding CA in 2007 where they met Sean and Rebecca Gafner. The Gafner’s met and got married in Sacramento CA and moved to Redding CA in 2006. They all hit it off and quickly became friends.
The Lances moved to Longmont in the summer of 2013 and fell in love with the city. The opportunity came up to start a restaurant in the heart of downtown. After the Gafner’s first visit they were hooked and moved out on the last day of 2014.
It all started with an early morning run on February 11, 2011. Sean was supposed to join Dan on the run but bailed on him at the last minute. Left alone and terrified of the dark, Dan set out on his run and was quickly confronted by the crow of a rooster from a nearby farm.
It sounds crazy, but this experience changed his life forever. He realized the rooster carries a message of hope. It gets up in the dark to announce that the morning is coming. Fast-forward nine months…Dan and Alyssa with the help of some friends start The Rooster Party. A non- profit that brings hope by supporting people in the process of adoption.
The Roost and Jefes have a heart to help families with the high cost of adoption. Dan and Alyssa Lance had a dream to start a for-profit business that could give back to the non-profit that they had started to help fund adoptions. The idea was born to start a restaurant in the heart of Longmont, the city they had grown to love. The missing ingredient was the person with the expertise to make the restaurant thrive. That’s when a phone call to Dan’s friend Sean Gafner came who was living back in Redding. He was running multiple restaurant concepts that were thriving but he had a dream to own a concept of his own. Sean and Rebecca and their four kids moved out at the beginning of 2015 and The Roost was born three months later, a restaurant, bar, and venue in the heart of downtown Longmont. The Roost has committed from day one to giving 10% of their profits to helping families in the process of adoption. They have started a partnership with Colorado Kids Belong (add the link) to help Colorado children and youth who are impacted by foster care.
To submit a funding request for your adoption, please click here.
Raised on a farm and cattle ranch in the San Joaquin Valley of California, Executive Chef Sean Gafner was born into a great appreciation for high quality food. Serving tables in Sacramento as a young adult, Sean quickly realized that he loved the creative, high-energy restaurant industry. Upon graduating from Golden State Culinary Institute in 2000 with honors his mission was to work in a wide variety of cuisines to broaden his palette and expertise and he did so at The Country Club of Mobile AL, PF Chang’s China Bistro, City Treasure French-Italian Cuisine, Celestine’s Caribbean Restaurant and Bella Bru European Café. As Executive Chef of Sacramento landmark restaurants Celestine’s and Bella Bru, Sean made several appearances on TV show’s such as Good Day Sacramento, Chef’s Challenge, and Breakfast at Your Place. In 2006 the love of the North State led Sean to accept both the position of Executive Chef at Tierra Oaks Country Club and Instructor of Culinary Arts at Shasta College in Redding, CA. As a passionate restaurant designer and consultant he opened the Stirring Café in 2011, Wrapped Inc. in 2012 before taking over as the Executive Chef & Partner of Redding’s finest restaurant View 202. Sean and his wife Rebecca have also owned a high-end catering business since 2000, while managing to have four beautiful children Skylar, Caleb, Ryder and Hailey.
After their first visit, the Gafners quickly fell in love with the city of Longmont and couldn’t be more excited to put some roots down in the beautiful state of Colorado!
Alishia is a Boulder County native and wouldn’t want to call anywhere else home. While earning her Humanities degree at CU Boulder, she got tired of working in medical billing and decided to quit her job and make a change. Unsure of what to do next, she started waiting tables nights and weekends because it fit well with class schedules. It didn’t take her long to realize that this was exactly where she belonged.
Over 15 years later, Alishia has extensive experience in the bar and restaurant industry, having spent the majority of that time in small, independent, and Colorado-grown concepts.
Alishia is passionate about people and art, and she believes that a great meal might just be the best expression of bringing those two together. She’s proud to be a part of this community that so strongly supports independent businesses and all things local.
When she’s not working at The Roost alongside her second family, Alishia can be found hiking, camping, or snowboarding with her two kids, Liam and Fiona, in the nearby mountains.
Growing up in Maryland, Matt, at a young age realized his love for the outdoors and adventure.
While attending college in western Maryland he had an opportunity to learn the craft of bartending at a local tavern that incorporated great beer and live music.
Upon graduating with a degree in adventure sports and management he quickly decided that Colorado was where he should be.
Chasing big rapids and steep mountains he ended up in Crested Butte, Colorado. It was here he that continued pursuing his passions, the outdoors and craft spirits. While living in small town Crested Butte he started realizing the importance of local goods. Whether it be local beer, crops, or cattle he knew this was the sustainable way.
Today he focuses on providing guests with the highest quality craft spirits, beer and wine at The Roost. When he isn’t at The Roost you can probably find him kayaking, snowboarding, or camping with his fiance, Heather.
Alyse is from rural Northern New Jersey, where her family owns and operates a small Mexican restaurant. She started working there when she was 16 and to this day still considers it the best Mexican food she has ever had. While pursuing her BFA in Art History, she began bartending nights and weekends. After she graduated, bartending gradually became her full time career.
She believes she is in the business of bringing people together to make lasting memories and has found a sense of community in the hospitality industry. The art of food, cocktails and good conversation has kept her passion for people thriving.
Her lifelong goal of living amongst the mountains became a reality when she moved to Colorado in 2016. She has found a profound sense of joy in the people and outlook on life here. When she is not working at The Roost she is practicing yoga, hiking, traveling and creating art.
After graduating Le Cordon Bleu, Leslie landed at Emeril’s Fish House at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. He also held positions at the high profile Lake Las Vegas Como’s under Chef Stephen Romeo and Joseph Keller and at the Sugarbrook Bakery & Café and Havasu Skybox in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Driven by a passion for organic, local, GMO-free food and for a desire to bring his family to a close-knit community, Leslie moved to Longmont and worked in Boulder as the Sous Chef at The Greenbriar Inn for 3 years before becoming the Executive Chef at Zeal on Pearl Street for the last four years. While in Longmont, he and his fiancé Ali also added two beautiful daughters, Evelyn and Delilah, to their family, joining siblings Alyssa and Conor. Leslie is excited to bring his experience back to his home and Longmont community at The Roost.
1. “YES” is the answer – now what was the question? The guest isn’t always right, but we can still treat them like they are. We take pride in saying “yes” to our guest, even when we aren’t able to fulfill their exact request there is always a way to say “no” with a “yes” attitude. We are a “yes” restaurant!
example: “yes, lobster mac & cheese does sound delicious, let me go as our chef what we can do…so, we don’t have lobster but could make a delicious shrimp mac & cheese”
2. Professionalism – Interact with our guest as though their opinion of the restaurant and our reputation is entirely based on you because it often is. Don’t speak with them like they are your friends, rather find a way to connect with them authentically while avoiding unprofessional slang.
example: if you feel the need to get down to eye level with a guest, squat next to the table, don’t ever take a seat next to them
3. Choose Honor – Choose to honor everyone at all times; this includes guests, co-workers and management. It takes all of us at all times to create the culture of honor that we all enjoy being a part of.
example: if a cook misses a modifier on a dish, instead of getting down on them, own it yourself and say, “I’m sorry, I should have followed up with this modification, but can you please remake one without….”
4. Teamwork – Becoming a team is just the first step towards the actual goal which is becoming family! This means that everybody’s station is your station when you’re in it, and personal feelings shall never interfere with performing this way. If we all fight for each other we all win together, and life is more enjoyable for everybody.
example: when you’re walking through the dining room, you’re always looking for a drink you can refill or a dirty dish you can remove from a table, especially when it’s “not your table”
5. Self-Motivation – Take pride in yourself, the job you do, and your restaurant. You are expected to continually grow in product knowledge and customer service, outside of the training you receive. Live as a learner!
example: do a bit of your own research and learn something about the Buckner Family, who raises all of our meat, and after you’ve learned it share it with fellow staff members
6. Sustainability – As a company we’re committed to making sustainable choices that reduce energy use, water waste and landfill waste. We purchase product as locally possible in order to reduce the emissions caused by packing and shipping (trucks, trains & planes). We are committed to reducing single use plastics in every way we can find.
example: we’ve replaced all disposables with compostable options (trash bags, straws, to go containers, plastic ramekins, etc.).
7. Generosity – We are committed to giving at least 10% of all profits directly towards funding adoption, youth mentorship (through the Young Life organization) and feeding hungry kids (through Colorado Friendship). We also donate another 10% of total profits by way of product, service and gift certificates to local charity events. Lastly, we give 10% of profits directly back to our staff as cas bonuses.
We believe that these values are just good practice for any business and we hope to be leaders in the community in this area.