Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss cut the ribbon at the new Rock & Brews on PCH and PV Blvd. Photo by Rachel Reeves
Rock & Brews is ready to rock ‘n roll.
Hubbub emanated from the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Palos Verdes Boulevard – it’s technically in Torrance but has a Redondo Beach address – as Kiss co-founders and franchise partners Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley visited for the restaurant’s Wednesday opening and put on a surprise gig.
For months locals have been waxing enthusiastic about Rock & Brews, which they envision will bring some new energy to the Riviera Village.
The Rock & Brews team – Dell and Dave Furano, Paul Stanley, Jon Mesko, Gene Simmons, and Michael Zislis. Photo by Rachel Reeves
Rock & Brews is 5,400 open and airy square feet that feel like a cross between a beer garden, a concert venue, and a sports bar. Outfitted with TV screens, a lofted stage, fire pits, and a kids’ play area, the restaurant offers casual American cuisine, a full bar serving premium wines and over 80 craft beers (including gluten-free versions), plus lounge tables with self-service beer taps that track consumption through iPad technology.
The restaurant’s Wednesday opening honored Wounded Warriors, a program that supports injured veterans, with a luncheon and a sneak preview. Later that evening, Simmons and Stanley played a gig that raised $30,000 for the Torrance Education Foundation.
“For us, giving back isn’t an option; it’s an obligation,” Stanley told the veterans, council and chamber members, and media in attendance.
During a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony, Simmons and Stanley were engaging and full of banter.
Stanley, who held a pair of enormous blue scissors with which to cut the symbolic red ribbon, asked the cameras if anyone needed a haircut.
“I do!” he said, laughing, and then asked if anyone was game to stick their neck between the scissor blades.
Simmons took the opportunity to introduce himself to Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto.
Gene Simmons shakes hands with Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto. Photo by Rachel Reeves
“Mayor, I’m Gene Simmons and I’ve heard so much about you,” he said, with a warm two-handed handshake, prompting giggles from onlookers.
Scotto thanked the rock star duo and their team for creating 60 new jobs, furthering economic development, and making charity a priority.
The team received thanks and certificates from the City of Torrance and its Chamber, from Senator Ted Lieu, Senator Rod Wright – “he wants one in his district soon,” a representative from his office said – and from Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and Don Knabe.
Stanley said he and Simmons aren’t opening the restaurant to “put our big eight-inch KISS boots in here” but rather to “be good neighbors” and enliven the community.
“We don’t have to do this; we’re really rather wealthy,” he said with a smile. “But it’s things like this that make life worth living.”
“If you are excited about something, you do it because it’s exciting,” Simmons told Easy Reader. “You want to go out there and do exciting things while you are alive and… and maybe have a good time and party. What is wrong with that?”
Paul Stanley of Kiss speaks about Rock & Brews’ commitment to charity. Photo by Rachel Reeves
Stanley knows the South Bay well – his wife is from Palos Verdes, and her parents still live there – and called it an “awesome area.”
“This is a party town – that doesn’t mean work doesn’t get done and everyone isn’t responsible, but everybody likes to get loose and enjoy the weekends and enjoy the evenings,” he told Easy Reader.
Simmons said Rock & Brews fits easily into the laid-back South Bay community.
“You can dress up – look how great I look – or you can dress down like you went to the forest and chopped some trees,” Simmons smiled, clad in a sharp suit with a purple pocket square and leather boots.
Stanley called the newest Rock & Brews location is a “template for the future” of the brand.
iPad technology enables guests to pour their own beer and swipe a credit card at the table. Photo by Rachel Reeves
In October Rock & Brews got the green light from the City of Torrance amidst controversy among neighbors, and went up in just 103 days. Twenty-five workers toiled for four months to bring Rock & Brews to the abandoned corner, marking another notch in the planned worldwide expansion of the brand, which promises 100 locations in the next five years. This is the third Rock & Brews to open in just over a year; the flagship is in El Segundo, and another restaurant sprang up in Los Cabos in March. Four new Rock & Brews locations are currently being developed – at Los Angeles International Airport, on Maui, and in Agoura and Kansas City.
Michael Zislis, who also owns Shade Hotel, partnered with concert promoters Dave and Dell Furano, plus Simmons and Stanley, to create the Rock & Brews brand. Local Jon Mesko is managing the Torrance location.