Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 11:58 PM
Kiss frontman Gene Simmons has entertained rowdy crowds around the world. Now, he wants to do it again. The legendary rocker and reality TV star has plans to open a chain of rock-themed brew pubs starting in April.
Step one is relaunching Rock & Brews in El Segundo, Calif. Simmons, rock promoter David Furano and hotel and restaurant entrepreneur Michael Zislis opened the spot last March, in a location that was, "held together with duct tape and bungee chords," Zislis told Nation's Restaurant News. After the family-friendly restaurant developed a larger following than the trio expected, they decided to make a more serious investment. The brew pub idea, which was originally conceived at a Kiss concert, is not a far departure for Zislis, who has also developed the Manhattan Beach Brew Company, Rock 'n Fish and Shade, a boutique hotel.
Beer will be the main focus of the revamped location, which will have an expanded outdoor beer garden and a bar with nearly 50 taps serving up craft beers. The El Segundo location will soon have plenty of company -- the team has plans to open locations in Denver, Tokyo and at Los Angeles International Airport later this year, with six more locations on the way in 2013 and hopes of ultimately reaching 50.
"I have a lot of other businesses, but I’ve always wanted to do something outside the band that had to do with food and family," Simmons told CNBC. "This is a cool way to do it."
While Simmons already has a number of other business ventures -- including a language-translation company, a record company and a reality show, "Gene Simmons' Family Jewels" -- he is taking an active role in the restaurant's development and design, including a "Wall of Rock" collage. He and his partners are approaching the restaurant business with similar flair and bravado that made Simmons and his Kiss bandmates legends on stage.
"They say nine out of 10 restaurants fail," Zislis told CNBC. "But I say, maybe nine out of 10 people shouldn't be in the restaurant business."