In the midst of their final tour, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers and co-leads for the rock band Kiss Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley stopped by ilani Casino in Ridgefield, last week, for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate their upcoming venture at the casino, their newest Rock and Brews restaurant.
Simmons and Stanley, along with business partners, co-founded Rock and Brews in 2010. The chain of rock-and-roll-inspired restaurants has expanded to six states across the country. The ilani Casino Rock and Brews will be their first Pacific Northwest location and will open next spring.
“We tend to partner ourselves with people we respect, people we feel comfortable with, and, in this case, the Cowlitz Tribe are the kind of people that we want to work with throughout the future,” Stanley said. “We are always trying to up our game with Rock and Brews, and if you look at all of them, they are clearly not a cookie-cutter operation. Each of them is different … So that’s a template for what we do, we want each one to be individual, and we want each one to respect the area that it’s in.”
For Kiss and rock fans, the upcoming Rock and Brews Restaurant and Concert Bar will provide a rock and roll atmosphere with live music and excitement. Simmons hopes Rock and Brews will be an escape from the everyday Pacific Northwest life.
“Outside it’s kind of bleak. The weather is not always good. It’s rainy, traffic and all that stuff. You come in here and people are having a great time,” Simmons said.
When it came to adding a Pacific Northwest location, Stanley and Simmons have many memories from the Portland area, from playing at Portland’s Paramount Theatre and the Veterans Coliseum and even trips to Ridgefield’s amphitheater. For Simmons, the Pacific Northwest experience wouldn’t be what it has been over Kiss’ long career if it weren’t for the people.
“It’s always been about the people. It’s never about the buildings,” Simmons said. “It’s always about the people. If you have a party, and you’re the only one in the room, what kind of a party is that?”
Simmons further said that the upcoming restaurant and concert bar will include a lot of exciting things, people, live music and more.
During the on-stage ceremony, Cowlitz Indian Tribe Chairwoman Patty Kinswa-Gaiser said former Cowlitz Chairman Dave Barnett first thought of the idea of a Rock and Brews location at the casino.
Ever since Simmons and Stanley first met with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, they wanted to fulfill the tribe’s wish. Simmons and Stanley both cherish their friendship with the tribe.
“The Cowlitz Tribe, they’re the nicest people you hope to meet,” Simmons said. “If you’ve never met anybody from the tribe, you’ll find the kindest, most gracious people that you never knew were going to be your newest friends. You walk around and talk with people they genuinely love making other people happy, which ultimately and invariably, and other big words like gymnasium, is really what life should be all about.”
The expansive restaurant menu includes a variety of food options such as burgers, pizza, pasta and more. The brews experience will include an “unrivaled selection of 24 local and craft beers on tap,” a release by ilani stated.
One of Simmons’ favorite menu options is named after his stage persona, “The Demon.”
“Two items I love, it’s [the] Demon Burger, which is too hot for most people, really hot and the beignets,” Simmons said. “The beignets are like a soft pastry shell with caramel and sweet stuff on top and, in the middle, hot fudge.”
Stanley added that his personal meal choice depends on if he is trying to be healthy to get ready for a concert, in which case the Strawberry Fields Salad is his go-to item.
For the upcoming restaurant, ilani will renovate the previously named Muze Lounge as well as the restaurant space previously known as Rose and Thorn. The venue will include two full service bars, countertop gaming and room for dancing, a press release by ilani stated.
For more information and to see the menu, visit rockandbrews.com.