Star City Six – Dennis Nienhueser
Rock’n’Joe Coffee Shop (rocknjoe.com) is a specialty coffee shop franchise that has been around since 1993. It has thrived as a rock and roll coffeehouse with great food! Dennis Nienhueser is the owner of Rock’n’Joe Coffee Shop’s Lincoln location.
Tell us a little about your business.
My wife Jayna and I are very proud to own Rock’n’Joe in Lincoln, offering a full line of coffee and coffee based artisan drinks that can be made hot, iced, or frozen. We also offer a full line of food items that include sandwiches, salads, and soups (seasonal) along with pastries delivered fresh everyday from Le Quartier Bakery. What makes us unique is that we also have a wine tasting room featuring our own wine from Whispering Winds Vineyards in York as well as 13 other Nebraska wines served in our automated wine dispensers. We have a variety of Nebraska craft beers in addition to the wine we offer. We have live music on the weekends, and you can enjoy the Nebraska sunsets on our outdoor patio complete with outdoor fireplace and fire-pit.
How did you get started in the business?
We started a vineyard on a small plot of land next to our house as a hobby in 2010. We steadily kept adding to the vineyard and have grown to the point that we have enough vines and grapes to produce our own wine from them under the Whispering Winds label. We have a daughter Tara who was already in the coffee business, and we hired her as our general manager to run the combo coffee shop/wine tasting room for us.
Tell us about your family.
Jayna and I have been married 36 years in June of this year. We have one son, Ryan, who lives in Denver with his wife Kristina. They are expecting their first baby (a girl) in June. Our middle daughter, Janae, lives in Lincoln with her husband Andy Greer. They have two children—Asher, who is three, and Jayla, who is a year and a half. Our youngest, Tara, lives in Lincoln as well with her husband Trent Ihde.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Marrying my wife.
What is your favorite thing to do on your day off?
Spend time with our grandkids if they’re available or go for ride on the Harley.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I like to bake. I make a pretty mean cheesecake and a chocolate-pecan-whiskey pie.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Growing up on the farm, we were taught the value of hard work. It was instilled in us that it’s “work before play” and “the harder you work, the luckier you get.”
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
“Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf. (My wife’s idea.)
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
An FBI agent!
What local nonprofit organization are you passionate or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?
The SMILE Organization (Seeking More Independent Life Experiences). This organization modifies little electric cars for children with special needs and limited mobility.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
Heaven is for Real. This book was given to me to read by my mother shortly before her passing.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?