GAFNER HOSPITALITY GROUP
Sean and Rebecca Gafner moved to Longmont, Colorado in January of 2015, along with their four children, to create their first restaurant The Roost. After spending 18 years on a farm and cattle ranch, Sean attended Golden State Culinary Institute and then worked in restaurants up and down California for the next 18 years. Inspired by Jon Favreau’s movie Chef the Gafners decided to leave to fine dining restaurant scene and open a casual restaurant that held to the quality and principles they had built in California. In 2016 the Gafner’s opened Jefes Tacos & Tequila and in 2021 opened Swaylo’s Tiki Restaurant & Bar; both in Longmont where they reside. Since day one Gafner Hospitality Group has placed a high value on Generosity, Sustainability, Equality and Inclusivity.
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!
Director of Operations
Alishia is a Boulder County native and wouldn’t want to call anywhere else home. While earning a Humanities degree at CU Boulder, she quit her job in medical billing and moved to Longmont. In August 2000, Alishia started waiting tables and tending bar at the neighborhood pizza place, trying to meet new people and learn something new. It didn’t take her long to realize that the restaurant industry was exactly where she belonged.
Over 20 years later, Alishia has extensive experience in bars and restaurants, with most of that time spent working in small, independent, and Colorado-grown concepts.
Passionate about people and art, she believes that a great meal might just be the best expression of bringing those two things together. She’s proud to be a part of this community that so strongly supports independent business and all things local.
When she’s not working at the restaurants, Alishia can be found hiking or camping with her two kids, Liam and Fiona, daydreaming about her next trip to Belize, or at Happy Hour with a gin cocktail in hand.
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, craft cocktails, and hospitality. 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 sustainability was a huge priority.
Matt started with Gafner Hospitality Group in 2015 shortly after we opened our first concept, The Roost. After many years of bartending and managing at all of our concepts he joined our team of directors.
Today he oversees our bar programs across all our concepts but also is very passionate about creating sustainable growth for Gafner Hospitality Group through innovation, and leadership development.
When he is not at our concepts you can find him enjoying all Colorado has to offer with his wife Heather, and their two children Jaxon, and Avery.
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 the Longmont Community and help level up the culinary experience people can have here.
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!
GAFNER HOSPITALITY GROUP VALUES
“these values are not optional, they are expected” – Sean Gafner
- “YES” is the answer – now what was the question? We take pride in saying “yes” to our guests, 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!
- 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.
- Honor & Inclusion – Choose to honor everyone at all times; this includes guests, co-workers and management. It takes all of us to create the culture of honor that we all enjoy being a part of. As long as you are a loving person, you are welcome and wanted as staff, management, customer or associate. We only discriminate against hateful people.
- Teamwork – Becoming a team is just the first step towards the actual goal which is becoming family! Teamwork 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.
- Self-Motivation – You are expected to continually grow your product knowledge and service skills, beyond the training you receive from us. We’re always either getting better or getting worse; there’s no such thing as staying the same.
- 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); this also supports local families and strengthens our local economy. We only purchase Energy Star appliances. We are committed to reducing single use plastics in every way we can find.
- Generosity – We give away 40% of our profit every quarter: 10% to local non-profits, 10% to our hourly staff, 10% to managers and 10% to our Directors. We also offer all members of our staff a 401(k) program in which we match up to 4% of their salary to encourage them to build towards their future. We off free memberships to Longmont Climbing Collective and Longmont Athletic Club. We offer free chiropractor visits, paid time off, and tickets to both Avalanche and Nuggets games!
We believe that these values are important for any business, and we want to be leaders of good business practices in Longmont and beyond.