CORONA: KISS frontman Gene Simmons visits newly opened Rock & Brews

By Neil Nisperos / Press Enterprise

Rock legend Gene Simmons of the band KISS are not only going on tour this summer — they’ve brought the spirit of “Detroit Rock City” to Corona and, later this year, Rancho Cucamonga, in the form of their new, family friendly bar and grill.

On Tuesday afternoon, Simmons surprised patrons of the Corona Rock & Brews restaurant, which had just opened Monday at the Crossings at Corona shopping center, at Temescal Canyon and Cajalco roads. Co-founding partner Michael Zislis tagged along.

Simmons took the time to bump fists, flash his signature snake-like tongue, sign autographs and meet with diners, some of whom were wearing KISS T-shirts, even without advance warning of the celebrity encounter.

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“It’s rocking,” Simmons said. “It’s clear everybody is having a great time. It’s the middle of the day. It’s 100 degrees (outside) and everybody should come down. Bring your family. Bring your dogs.”

Corona’s restaurant isn’t the only Inland stop for the rocker.

Later this year, Simmons and KISS bandmate Paul Stanley expect to open a 9,900-square-foot Rancho Cucamonga restaurant, planned across from Victoria Gardens at the Foothill Crossing shopping center on Foothill Boulevard. It will be the brand’s first in San Bernardino County, its eighth in California and 17th overall. The restaurant’s business partners say they expect to open sometime in September.

Simmons and Stanley are opening Rock & Brews with co-founding partners Zislis and concert industry veterans Dave and Dell Furano.

In Corona, KISS fan Joe Cope, 44, of Corona, was there when Simmons made his entrance. Cope was able to get an autograph and a picture taken with the KISS legend.

“I love Gene Simmons,” Cope said. “I love KISS. We ate at Rock & Brews about a week ago at the LAX airport, and it’s awesome. It’s a great environment. It’s an awesome location here in Corona. It’s a great vibe.”

Simmons loves to talk about the venture. His pitch is a little bit rock ’n’ roll and a whole lotta business acumen.

“You can bring your whole family,” Simmons said in a phone interview. “You can bring your dog. You can bring your kids. You can be there as a single person flirting, or you can be there happily married. It’s laid out wide open so you can see everything from beginning to end.”

The interior of the restaurants pays homage to classic rock artists and flat screens play classic rock music videos and concert footage.

The Rancho Cucamonga restaurant also will feature a Yellow Submarine play structure for kids and a dog-friendly patio with a fire pit area.

Adults can enjoy games as well, including bean-bag toss and life-sized Jenga.

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