By Jessica Dyer / Albuquerque Journal

Get ready to rock, Albuquerque.

Rock & Brews — a restaurant brand founded in part by KISS’ Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley — will open the doors at its new Duke City location Monday. Its celebrity co-founders will come to town the following week for a grand opening celebration and fundraiser to benefit the New Mexico VA Health Care System’s recreation programs.

Albuquerque’s Rock & Brews marks just the eighth location of the budding chain. Billed as a “family-friendly dining and entertainment concept,” the brand originated in Southern California in 2012 and has four sites in California and one each in Hawaii, Kansas and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.

Perry Mann and Brett Anz, principal owners of the franchise group bringing Rock & Brews to New Mexico, say Albuquerque felt like a natural fit for expansion. Mann used to live in Albuquerque, where he was a commercial real-estate broker and real-estate developer.

Having worked on deals that brought several national chains to Albuquerque — including Applebee’s, Outback and P.F. Chang’s — he said he’s familiar with the market and the city’s appetite for eating out.

“I think Albuquerque is a good market for this concept,” he said, adding that it represents a new kind of dining experience. “It’s going to be very unique. There’s nothing else you can say it’s like.”

The group spent about $3 million building the Albuquerque Rock & Brews, which took over the lot formerly used by Coronado Crossing.

Including an expansive patio, the restaurant can seat 276. Picnic-style tables make up most of the seating, a design element Southwest region President Matt McMahon said showcases the family-friendly nature of the concept.

While rock ‘n’ roll embeds nearly every aspect — from the famous album covers used as wall art to the music videos that will play on the restaurant’s 26 TVs — Rock & Brews welcomes diners of all ages. There’s even a children’s play area outside.

“We’re about families coming in and enjoying the atmosphere,” McMahon said.

Sandwiches, salads, burgers and pizzas rule the menu, while craft beer figures prominently among the 56 taps.

The restaurant, located at 4800 Montgomery NE, will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Tickets for the Sept. 16 Rock & Brews fundraiser cost $150 and go on sale at noon Friday at rockandbrewsabq.eventbrite.com.

Hosted by Simmons and Stanley, the evening includes a red-carpet arrival, music from a local band, two adult beverages per person and a sample of the restaurant’s food.

A portion of the proceeds – at least $30,000 – will benefit the New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System recreation programs, such as the adaptive sports program and recreational outings for veterans.

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