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By Fiona Truant, Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs
/ Published June 14, 2022
Riley Tindle hands a customer a latte at the L&L Coffee Shop at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado, which he took over from his aunt and uncle, Linda and Larry Lorenz, on May 31, 2022. Tindle brought on his fiancée, Jessica, to help plan rotating lunch offerings and run the spot’s tea program, and his mom, Lona, to prepare the spot’s menu of signature coffee drinks. (U.S. Space Force photo by Fiona Truant)
The L&L Coffee Shop at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado, has changed owners, as Linda and Larry Lorenz retired and gave the business to their nephew, Riley Tindle, on May 31, 2022. Tindle and fiancée/coworker Jessica plan each week’s rotating food menu, which includes items like the chicken-bacon grilled cheese above, and Tindle trucks in supplies himself every morning. (U.S. Space Force photo by Fiona Truant)
The L&L Coffee Shop at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado, has changed owners, as Linda and Larry Lorenz retired and gave the business to their nephew, Riley Tindle, on May 31, 2022. Tindle now runs the shop along with his fiancée, Jessica, and his mother, Lona. While there have been some hurdles as they’ve taken over L&L, Tindle said there has been little difficulty getting buy-in from his aunt and uncle’s regulars.
“I actually wasn’t able to get on base until two days after I’d taken over the business officially, so we were closed for a few days,” Tindle said. “We came back, and [customers] said ‘thank God, you’re open again!’”
The Lorenzes gave Tindle and company their recipe book, so most of the menu will be familiar, though Tindle has already made a change by adding salads to the daily menu for warmer weather. Lona is the shop’s coffee whisperer, and she brings three years of barista experience, as well as familiarity with the space — she worked in the café before it became L&L, when it was run by a woman named Trina. Lona uses Trina’s recipes for rotating specialty drinks, all using a locally roasted coffee blend called Trina’s Brewed Awakening.
Tindle, too, has prior experience in food service and military contracting. He worked at a Taco Bell in Colorado Springs in his teens before enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he served for six years. After separating, he spent around a year working at Panera Bread and around 10 years at aerospace and defense contractor Northrop Grumman.
“I've tried to reintegrate into the civilian world a couple of times, and it's never really gone too well,” he said. “Having an opportunity like this to serve the military and contractors was a natural marriage for me.”
Tindle credits his time in service with equipping him to succeed as the head of L&L; the unique constraints in L&L’s physical location demand creativity, flexibility and hard work that other locations do not. Major food distributors’ routes don’t service L&L, so Tindle loads his car up with supplies and brings them in every morning. The L&L team also cannot use industrial kitchen appliances due to electrical limitations. With only one water line for the sinks and no ability to modify the back-of-house area, Tindle can’t install an ice machine, eliminating iced or blended drinks from the menu. They can’t cook on site and do not currently work with a commissary kitchen, so every menu item has to be pre-cooked, limiting what they can offer.
Tindle finds ways to add extra flavor, drawing from his experience serving at Camp Swift, Iraq. There, like at L&L, food came pre-cooked and ready to eat. He recalls that a woman he knew as Mama Tav ran a café there, wherein she would prepare pre-cooked supplies with seasonings and technique to make meals better.
“Our breakfast sausage, because it’s already cooked, you could essentially chop it up and put it in the burrito, and it’d be fine,” Tindle said. “I have a grill in the back, and I will sear the sausages there. That sear just adds that extra texture and flavor level.”
Going forward, Tindle would like to add more cold drinks, like iced coffee drinks or lemonade. He is actively working on finding a local wholesale bakery so he can bring in locally baked breads.
L&L Coffee Shop is located in the lobby of Building 24 on Schriever SFB, and it is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Friday.