By Paul Rogers
Kiss co-founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are partners in a restaurant called Rock & Brews, which on Wednesday will open its third location, on PCH in Torrance.
"Often this idea of themed restaurants means that it's an excuse for crap food," self-described "foodie" Stanley tells us on-site, as power tools fizz and pound around him in the airy building jutting into a busy intersection. "The idea here is not crap food. It's craft beer; it's artisan pizzas; it's food, arguably, that you couldn't serve at home, but wish you could."
In partnership with concert industry veterans Dave and Dell Furano, and restaurateur Michael Zislis, Stanley and Simmons opened their first Rock & Brews restaurant in El Segundo in April 2012, and another in Los Cabos, Mexico, in March. Rock & Brews LAX is set to open in that airport's Delta Airlines Terminal this summer, followed by an Agoura location in the fall. Locations in Maui, Hawaii and Kansas City, Missouri are also scheduled.
In its unfinished state, the 5,400-square-foot Rock & Brews PCH recalls a Hard Rock Café or similar rock 'n' roll-themed eatery. Bold prints of music icons (including Tom Petty, AC/DC, Bob Marley and, yes, Kiss) enliven dining room and patio walls, while a trio of guitar necks, presumably intended for display, lay stacked on a table.
"It's like being backstage at a rock concert and it's also like being in your living room," says Stanley, who is 61. "Never kid yourself -- everybody wants to be a rock star!"
In the restaurant's main dining area, rectangular, 8- or 10-person wooden tables with attached are were organized in rows, cafeteria-like, beneath an exposed, warehouse-y roof. As well as an 81-tap bar (including local beers Eagle Rock, Monkish and Strand), private tables in the 21-and-over lounge area will include self-service taps monitored though new iPad software.