The recent opening of a second Rock & Brews in Los Cabos, located on Cabo San Lucas’ scenic marina boardwalk, signaled more than just another success for rock-stars-turned-restaurateurs Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. It was also a symbol of the area’s economic recovery post Hurricane Odile, the Category 4 September storm that devastated much of Baja California Sur.
The latter aspect was not lost on Los Cabos government officials, who awarded the KISS musicians keys to the city at a ceremonial presentation during Sabor a Cabo, an annual food festival that coincided with the grand opening of Rock & Brews' second international location. (The first was also in Los Cabos, at Plaza del Pescador in San José del Cabo.)
KISS stars Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons celebrate the opening of their new Rock & Brews in Cabo San Lucas — Photo courtesy of Rock & Brews
This new role, as spokesmen and exemplars of Los Cabos’ economic recovery, is just the latest in a long series of star turns for Simmons and Stanley. The two have sold over 100 million records and untold amounts of merchandise as frontmen for KISS, the iconic, glam rock band they co-founded in 1971.
They're also part of one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the U.S., and now major players in a Los Cabos rock-themed market that also includes Hard Rock Cafe and fellow rock god Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina.
Simmons, Stanley and partners Michael Zislis and Dave Furano founded the Rock & Brews brand in 2012. Since premiering their first beer garden and restaurant in El Segundo, Calif., the group has opened 10 additional locations in the U.S. and México, with many more in the works across North American and eventually South America.
During press interviews at Sheraton’s Los Cabos luxury resort Hacienda del Mar, Stanley estimated annual growth for the chain at 20 percent, and Simmons discussed the possibility of opening a hotel at some point (à la Hard Rock, which has announced plans to open an all-inclusive resort in Los Cabos in 2016).
The Cabo San Lucas location, at Plaza Bonita on the city’s marina esplanade, showcases all the typical Rock & Brews hallmarks – plenty of rock 'n’ roll-themed memorabilia, American comfort food standards, quality craft beers and after-dinner live entertainment options – as well as a few only-in-Cabo features, like al fresco dining that overlooks the local sportfishing fleet.
“We’re proud to be here,” Stanley said on opening night, as he and Simmons addressed the crowd, including well-traveled members of the KISS Army (the group's legendarily loyal fan base), from a courtyard stage. “This is a very special place, with a lot of passion, a lot of corazón. Cabo is unstoppable.”
So, it seems, are Simmons and Stanley.