KISS co-founders sign Kansas company as Rock & Brews franchisee

03/06/2014 1:04 PM

03/06/2014 1:04 PM

KISS co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have signed their first Rock & Brews restaurant franchisee, a Kansas native who plans to open five locations in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Kirk Williams, president of Legacy Restaurant Group LLC in Topeka, currently owns 21 Wendy’s restaurants in Kansas and Missouri, including 11 of the 55 Wendy’s restaurants in the Kansas City area.

Williams has formed Kanbrews LLC to develop, open and operate five Rock & Brews in Kansas and Oklahoma over the next five years. He also has an option to open an additional five units in Missouri and Nebraska. A corporate owned restaurant was planned for Overland Park but it will now be owned by Kanbrews and at least one more Rock & Brews could open in the Kansas City area.

Williams said the concept is “very family and neighborhood friendly.”

“The thing that sold me I think was the variety of craft beers, that was one piece. And I was real excited about the quality of the food,” Williams said. “It was really beyond my initial expectations. You want people to come back for the food.”

Rock & Brews restaurants offer craft beers, premium wines and a full bar. The menu includes “opening acts” like chipotle chili cheese fries, Mexican street corn, and Bavarian pretzels; “VIP” salads including Tuscan Kale and Tequila Sunrise steak; hand-crafted burgers and “Headliner” sandwiches like pulled pork or sesame seed crusted seared Ahi; “frontrow” specialty pizzas; and other items like fish and chips, Memphis style baby back ribs, chocolate filled French doughnuts with raspberry sauce, and “real” beer floats.

The first Rock & Brews opened in the Los Angeles area in 2009. Now there are three Rock & Brews in the Los Angeles area, one in Los Cabos, Mexico, and another in Maui. Restaurants also are in development in Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas.

The founders describe the venues as destination locations offering a “sensory experience for rockers of all ages.” That includes “concert” lighting, multiple televisions and rock music.

The Overland Park Rock & Brews will seat more than 200 people indoors and it will have a heated outdoor patio. It also will have a play area for children. Dogs will be welcome on the patio.

It was first announced about 18 months ago for the upscale Prairiefire development, a 58-acre, mixed-use center on 135th Street between Lamar and Nall avenues. A May 1 opening is scheduled with a grand opening celebration set for May 29 that will be hosted by Simmons, Stanley and the other co-founders. It will have about 75 full and part-time employees.

Several nationally recognized and exclusive tenants have already opened in the center, including REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) and The Fresh Market.

Prairiefire also will include upscale restaurants and retail, entertainments, a large outdoor recreational area, luxury residences, a luxury boutique hotel and office spaces, as well as The Museum of Prairiefire featuring exhibitions and authentic artifacts from the American Museum of Natural History of New York.

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