Danny O’Neill

Founder and Bean Baron, The Roasterie

Danny O’Neill is the “Bean Baron” of The Roasterie, inc.,a specialty coffee roaster that services espresso bars and coffee houses, fine restaurants, high-end grocers and coffee-lovers all around the world.

Danny was born and raised in Denison, Iowa, and is the middle of ten children. During his senior year of high school, he traveled to Costa Rica as a foreign exchange student and spent several weeks picking coffee. It was at this moment that his passion for it ignited. After his return, he received his Bachelor of Arts from Iowa State University with a double major in international studies and political science and a structured minor in economics. In 1993, he received his MBA from the Rockhurst University Executive Fellows Program in Kansas City.

After holding various sales and marketing positions for ten years, he decided to take the leap and start roasting coffee in the basement of his home in Brookside. In 1993, he founded The Roasterie on three basic premises: to find the best coffees in the world, to roast them the best way known to man and to get them to his customers as fast as humanly possible. In 2001, he was awarded “Super Taster” status on the Specialty Coffee Institute Sensory Aptitude Test.

He serves on a number of advisory boards for various local companies and associations and has previously served on the Board of Regents at Rockhurst University, and the Board of Directors for The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He is also past president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

2005 marked the birth of Danny’s son, Terry, as well as the opening of first Roasterie Café in Brookside, just blocks from where The Roasterie began. In 2008 his daughter, Sophia, was born; and in 2010 the second Roasterie Café opened, this time in Leawood, Kan. The third Café is inside the new roasting factory, underneath their beloved DC3 airplane. Since then, several Café locations have opened around the region. 

What makes Kansas City a great place for creativity and innovation?
The general humbleness of our folks. Everyone is sincerely interested in helping each other, it’s not about egos. So, it’s easy to share, easy to bounce ideas off of total strangers, easy to get feedback, etc. In addition, standing on the shoulders of Hallmark’s legacy of creativity is awesome. Their input over the decades is now in our local DNA and the community is creative and embraces creativity. Finally, we are proud of our local community so the folks really get behind local startups, our hometown businesses and artists.

When and where are you happiest?
I’m almost always happy wherever I am. When I am happiest is when I’m witnessing my two young children do cool things on their own and the same for my staff. In each case, I think “But for the Grace of God, I had anything to do with that.” I love initiative, so when I see that in my kids or my team, I get goose bump happy.

What is your favorite place in Kansas City?
I have so many of them. I love Loose Park, the zoo, The Nelson and anywhere in Brookside.

Where’s your favorite place outside of Kansas City?
Beirut, NYC, Notre Dame campus.

What’s your most treasured personal possession?
Our first roaster, “Baby,” that I started with in my Brookside basement in 1993.

Who’s your favorite fictional hero?
Indiana Jones.

Who do you most admire in real life?
I’ve been blessed to be mentored by so many extraordinarily awesome people; it’s hard to choose. But I’d have to say Henry Bloch and Barnett Helzberg. They are the epitome of great.




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