Published: May 9, 2022

Oklahoma casino backed by Rock Group KISS ready to open

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the legendary rock group KISS were in Braman, Okla., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, for the groundbreaking of the new Rock & Brews Casino and Resort that was scheduled to open in 2019.

The guys from KISS who founded the Rock & Brews Casino in Braman, Oklahoma, won’t be the only rock stars in the place when it opens this week. “We all act like rock stars, but more importantly we serve rock stars,” Adam Goldberg, CEO of Rock & Brews, said. “Those who rock are our customers. We make them feel like rock stars when they come and dine, and now they play in our casino.”

Rock & Brews, co-founded by KISS icons Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, is already a nationwide chain of 20 restaurants and bars, with seven more scheduled to open in the next 16 months, Goldberg said.

Through an agreement with the Kaw Nation, Rock & Brews took over the former Southwinds Casino and built the new gaming center. It will open to the public on Tuesday, with gates open to the public beginning at 1 p.m. Stanley and Simmons will be at the ribbon-cutting, just hours after returning from a KISS tour of South America.

It will be the first Rock & Blues-branded casino, Goldberg said, although the company has had a restaurant at a California casino for seven years and programs one “rock floor” of the multi-tiered casino.

“We’re bringing a lot of what we’ve learned along the way to the Braman facility,” he said.

In a statement, general manager Bruce McClure said the “newly built property will benefit the Kaw Nation and surrounding communities by employing 200 jobs and providing a space for locals and travelers alike to enjoy delicious food and drinks, play exciting new games and immerse themselves in all things rock ‘n’ roll.”

Wichita, about 55 miles away, is the closest large city to the casino. Tulsa is about 120 miles away, Oklahoma City 107. That location, on I-35 at Exit 231, is advantageous for Rock & Brews, Goldberg said.

“We really like that I-35 corridor, because we believe bringing in our 150-seat restaurant is going to be a bring draw to commuters and travelers,” he said. Goldberg calls the restaurant a “rock ‘n’ roll cathedral” for its décor and images of rock stars. Its specialties include sweet and spicy Asian wings, the “Any Way You Want It” pizza and the Oklahoma smash burger. A grab-and-go bar will also have food by the casino floor.

Stanley and Simmons’ involvement with the restaurant chain and now with the casino isn’t just as figureheads, Goldberg said. “We work daily with both Paul and Gene on our projects. They’re incredibly supportive of the Rock & Brews brand, since they’re co-founders of the brand,” he said. “Paul and Gene see and approve our design plans and our menus.”

There will be an indoor stage, Goldberg said, and once the weather gets warmer an outdoor patio stage will be available. Goldberg said he hoped the casino would draw bands from Wichita, Tulsa and OKC, as well as well-respected tribute acts.

Performing for the grand opening Tuesday is the AC/DC tribute act Back in Black. Rock will be evident on the casino floor, Goldberg said. Among the 400-plus slot machines and electronic card tables will be classics played loud on the PA and videos of great concerts.

Rock & Brews is not far from the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane and is among more than 110 casinos in Oklahoma. “What we have here is totally unique, and it cannot be found anywhere near here in Oklahoma,” Goldberg said.

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