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VIDEO: Gene & Paul to open 15 Rock And Brews in Chicago

Simmons and Stanley plan on bringing their Rock & Brews casual dining chain to Chicagoland in a big way by opening 10 to 15 locations, as well as a corporate office, over the next five to seven years.

The first Chicago area restaurant is scheduled to open next year, though the exact location is still being negotiated, the company said.

Such a large expansion in the Chicago market for a chain with no existing presence here is a bold gambit considering the hypercompetitive restaurant industry and recent declines in casual dining. But then again, Simmons is known for spitting blood onstage while shredding bass solos.

Suffice to say, the 67-year-old rock star isn't scared.

"Either Chicago is America or it's not. Everywhere we've gone, it works beyond expectation. The only thing you could say is, it's not going to work here because we're in Zimbabwe," Simmons said over a plate of poached eggs and English muffin on the 12th floor of the Ritz-Carlton.

More info at chicagotribune.com >>

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