Lisa Richmon adds a new kind of flavor at Roast Rider with its Cocktail Lab and jazz nights

by | Apr 18, 2024 | Latest News

“Coffee shop owners are Gen Z; we are their grandparents age!” says Lisa Richmon, as she tells the tale of opening Roast Rider at Hilltop with her husband, Wayne, 10 years ago. With no retail experience between them, they had every reason to fail – they don’t roast their own beans, nor does Roast Rider have a dedicated kitchen for meal prep.

How, then, do they explain their success? “I think there are two foundational reasons, and the credit is split right down the middle. Wayne and I are both native curators, but he knows coffee and numbers while I know people and words,” Richmon explains.

He has a reputation for his wine palette which translated to coffee. She is a storyteller, which translated to branding. Together, they discovered unknown culinary talent and brought their goods in-house.

“We are not bakers or roasters. We don’t want to run a kitchen. So, Wayne’s ability to build relationships with three of the top roasters in the country is a foundational win for Roast Rider,” says Richmon.

Besides their extensive coffee menu, Roast Rider serves a full menu of coffee-infused cocktails daily and jazz every Thursday. Breakfast and lunch are served, including a partnership with Azar’s to create meze plates and other fresh, from-scratch Mediterranean dishes. “Prosperity Kitchen & Pantry and My Vegan Sweet Tooth are also partners who bake for us and make us look and smell good,” says Richmon.

“One of the interesting things about our evenings is that we always introduce talent from Governor’s School and nearby schools and rarely hire established, adult talent,” says Richmon. “We really enjoy giving these rising stars a platform to launch from.”

Besides tasting the coffee (some options come from their award-winning, ethically farmed green beans), two additional reasons should encourage a visit. Not only are dogs welcomed in the outdoor café, but the Visitor’s Booth at the bar showcases 10 years of personalized handwritten post-it notes, including doodles, poems, rants, and raves. And, according to Richmon, “Wayne has saved every single one them.”

When Richmon’s not supporting Wayne’s coffee dreams, she is a healthcare and thought leadership writer who recently helped develop and market a riddle app for teens called WhoRiddle.

To see the menu and jazz schedule, go to