OVIEDO — KISS frontman Gene Simmons came to his new Rock and Brews restaurant in Oviedo on Tuesday not as a legendary rock star in makeup but as an entrepreneur in a sports jacket.
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Simmons and KISS guitarist Paul Stanley were there to visit their recently opened rock-\'n\'-roll-themed eatery.
A bass player known for his wild makeup and earthshaking voice, Simmons met with business partners and fans alike, putting more attention into the future of his financial investment than his musical history.
Paul Stanley looks on while Gene Simmons from the rock band KISS and restaurant founding partners Michael Zislis take photos of the media with their cell phones after they cut the ribbon at their restaurant Rock & Brews in Oviedo.
Paul Stanley looks on while Gene Simmons from the rock band KISS and restaurant founding partners Michael Zislis take photos of the media with their cell phones after they cut the ribbon at their restaurant Rock & Brews in Oviedo. (Jacob Langston, Orlando Sentinel)
"You are alive, and you are supposed to keep moving," said Simmons, who is preparing for a KISS concert in Las Vegas this week before a worldwide tour starts in February. "I\'m 65, and, boy, do I look great."
After four decades in the music business and the lasting ability to sell out arenas worldwide, Simmons and Stanley say they having no plans of stopping.
Simmons is as ubiquitous as ever with a reality-television show and a recent book on his business philosophy called "Me Inc."
I only clicked on the story to read all the griping, complaining and whiny comments. You guys never let me down.
Stanley and Simmons have been the only constant members of KISS during the band\'s turbulent 44-year history starting in New York.
"It\'s really cool to think that we\'ve reached the point where we are considered classic rock," said Stanley, still dressing like a typical rocker in a leather jacket and black boots with silver and red rhinestones shaped as a skull. "We are in great company."
The restaurant\'s interior celebrates the late-\'70s rock era with pictures of AC/DC, The Who and Bruce Springsteen on the walls. Never to be outdone, Simmons and Stanley\'s faces— in their signature makeup, of course — are front and center.
The duo plans to open as many as five more Rock and Brews locations in Central Florida, already plotting a restaurant near Orlando International Airport and another south of Disney World.
Putting a place in Oviedo was a conscious choice, they said, as they hope to reach out to the suburbs, the kind of areas that embraced the band in their early days.
"We wanted to stake claims here in Oviedo," Simmons said. "We wanted to show everyone that we are not about the highfalutin big city and the rock-star thing but that we are good neighbors."
Stanley added, "People live where they do, and people don\'t pick where they are born. Every place is as good as any other place."
The Oviedo Rock and Brews is the eighth restaurant for the company and the first on the East Coast. The eatery features burgers, ribs, salad and other casual-dining fare.
Today we reveal the winners of the Orlando Sentinel's 16th annual Foodie Awards, our readers' favorite places to eat and drink in 2013. I have noted my picks, too, but the main focus is your take on Central Florida's dining scene.
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