Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley to open rock 'n' roll-themed restaurants in Chicagoland
In the Photo: KISS bassist Gene Simmons, right and Michael “Sully” Sullivan, president and CEO of Rock & Brews, pose for a photo at the Ritz-Carlton on July 13, 2017. Simmons and bandmate Paul Stanley are bringing their Rock & Brews restaurant concept to the Chicago area. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)
Who likes to breathe fire, wear makeup and platform shoes, and open restaurants in the Chicago area?
These guys, of course: Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, also known as Demon and Starchild.
Simmons and Stanley, bassist and guitarist, respectively, for 1970s rock band Kiss, plan on bringing their Rock & Brews casual dining chain to Chicagoland in a big way by opening 10 to 15 locations, as well as a corporate office, over the next five to seven years. The first Chicago area restaurant is scheduled to open next year, though the exact location is still being negotiated, the company said.
Such a large expansion in the Chicago market for a chain with no existing presence here is a bold gambit considering the hypercompetitive restaurant industry and recent declines in casual dining. But then again, Simmons is known for spitting blood onstage while shredding bass solos.
Suffice to say, the 67-year-old rock star isn't scared.
"Either Chicago is America or it's not. Everywhere we've gone, it works beyond expectation. The only thing you could say is, it's not going to work here because we're in Zimbabwe," Simmons said over a plate of poached eggs and English muffin on the 12th floor of the Ritz-Carlton.