Visit Calistoga has been making the rounds as part of its blog series, “This is Calistoga”, and recently caught up with Clive Richardson, owner of Calistoga Roastery, who celebrated 29 years in business on July 3, 2021.
Arriving in Calistoga from Los Angeles where Clive had been managing 36 locations of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Clive and his business partner at the time, Jack Martin, felt it was the perfect moment to start their own coffee shop. Confident that Calistoga was ready for their concept, the partners proceeded to open the Roastery’s original location on Lincoln Avenue in 1992, in the building where Sushi Mambo is now located. The Roastery was a pioneer in coffee shops at the time, sourcing and roasting its own beans before brewing that perfect cup.
After years of covering a territory stretching from Costa Mesa to Santa Barbara, Clive’s new life in Calistoga allowed him to slow down and enjoy the laid-back vibe, slower pace, and walkable lifestyle that he embraced. “Calistoga is the least pretentious of the valley towns and I love the fact that there are no big name box stores,” Clive told Visit Calistoga. “My great joy is that every day we serve regular folks along with winemakers and celebrities, but there is no differential.” Proud to be part of the Calistoga community, Clive isn’t one for social media and prefers one on one conversations, as do his clients who have gathered for decades to chew the fat and read the local papers at the communal wood tables inside the shop.
Clive speaks enthusiastically about his special skill, “Having lived in Australia and being born in England, I can speak English, Aussie and American and can also, unlike 99% of Americans, understand the difference between an Irish, Welsh and Scottish accent!” Seems Clive can also talk all day about Tottenham Hotspurs or real football, “the game that is played with the feet, not the hands,” he clarified.
What are some of Clive’s favorite activities when he’s not waking up Calistoga with is special brews and breakfast sandwiches? He enjoys walking his dog, watching sports, and English television series, cooking and enjoying his favorite meal, vindaloo curry. We asked Clive if he had any advice for his younger self, to which he admitted he should have considered purchasing a retail location instead of renting all this time. And in terms of sustainability at Calistoga Roastery? Clive is a supporter of recycling and is excited to learn more from the Calistoga Green Committee, who will advise the Calistoga City Council on matters relating to policies and programs regarding the Calistoga Climate Action Plan, and help the city work towards sustainable programs. ”I’m hoping they can give me some ideas!”
Clive is an old school fella so if you’d like to meet him you’ll have to stop into the shop at 1426 Lincoln Avenue and communicate the old-fashioned way: in person, over a cup of coffee! This is what makes the Calistoga Roastery such a special place. And this is Calistoga.
This Is Calistoga is our new blog series profiling our members, their stories and life in Calistoga. Check in regularly and follow along.