The Roost Longmont Founders

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.

The Name

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 to help Colorado children and youth who are impacted by foster care.

The Team

Sean & Rebecca Gafner


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 Moore

Director of Operations

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 20 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.

Matt Grimes

Beverage Director

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.

Leslie White

Culinary Director

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.

Jordan Suniga

General Manager

Jordan has been working in restaurants since 2004 and is the definition of quality customer service in the food and beverage industry. He met his wife in a restaurant more than ten years ago and they now have a son (Xavier) and a daughter (Zaia). When he isn’t managing at the Roost, Jordan loves frisbee golf, sports and spending time with his family (including his pup Lola). The entire Suniga family loves the Roost, especially the rooftop in summer, and is so excited for Jordan’s adventure at the Roost.

Tyler Thackberry

Assistant General Manager

Former bootlegger, race car driver, and 3 gun champion, Tyler Thackaberry has been on a lifelong quest to be the raddest dude ever.

Born and raised in Colorado, Tyler cut his teeth in fine dining from a very young age. His love of red meat and dark liquor brought him east to Longmont in 2016 and he has been with The Roost ever since. An avid hunter and angler, Tyler has an obsession for sustainable local food as well as a fascination with all things whiskey. Thus far he has spent almost five years with our company, and is looking forward to the years to come. “I couldn’t imagine myself working anywhere else.”

In his free time, you’ll find him up a mountain stream, stuck in the mud, or deep in the forest, looking for dinner.

Dom Calinano

Bar Manager

Dom has been in the dining industry ever since he can remember. Growing up and working in his Uncle and Aunt’s Mexican restaurant in southern Colorado, he moved to Boulder to attend college, and has lived in or around Longmont ever since. He developed a love for craft beer, cocktails, and food while exploring and working along the front range, and loves to spend days going out with friends and trying new food, beverages, and experiences along the way. In his free time you can find him hanging out at home cooking or eating charcuterie boards with his girlfriend, Amanda, and his two dogs, Renly and Ernie or playing golf (poorly) at most of the local courses.

Jordan Dunehew

Event Coordinator

Jordan has spent most of her life in Longmont, Colorado, but is a California girl at heart. She started in the service industry when she was only thirteen years old. Jordan quickly developed a love for customer service. Throughout the years this industry has been a home to her. On top of serving tables, she has extensive experience with catering and coordinating events. When Jordan isn’t at Swaylo’s, she is spending time with her boyfriend, Dillon, and their two dogs Kona and Beau. Jordan loves enjoying a glass of malbec or pinot grigio, reading books, baking delicious desserts, petting baby cows, and anything related to true crime. You might spot her frolicking around town with those closest to her. She loves to entertain guests whether it’s at work or in her own home. No matter what, she is always putting her loved ones first. If you’re lucky, she might even bake you your favorite treat!


Our goal is to be a great company to work for. Our plan is to address every negative stigma about restaurant work until people in our industry understand the real value in the work we do. We believe that inviting people into a comfortable environment, feeding them, hosting them as they celebrate life’s greatest moments, as well as gathering through life’s most difficult moments, is an important and honorable way to spend a life.

We’re committed to never stop applying pragmatic innovation that allows us to pay people working in every position of our restaurants the salary they deserve. As well as paying above industry salaries, every employee shares in the profit we make through quarterly bonuses, received paid time off, an employer-matched 401(k)-retirement plan, free memberships to multiple local gyms, free therapy sessions, free chiropractic adjustments, and many other company perks. Learn more at GafnerGroup.com