Celebrities have been drawn to the restaurant business for decades, putting their money and marketing muscle behind themed concepts like Planet Hollywood as well as small chains like Walhburgers (founded by Donnie and Mark Walbergh) and single-unit operations like Channing Tatum’s Saints and Sinners in New Orleans and Ludacris’ Chicken and Beer in Atlanta.

Paul Stanley, the co-founder of the legendary 1970s rock band KISS, joined the ranks of celebrity restaurateurs in 2010 when he opened Rock & Brews with his bandmate Gene Simmons and several other partners. PMQ featured Rock & Brews on the cover of its November 2013 issue. Since then, the company has grown to 22 locations, the latest opening in Milwaukee on August 1, 2023. The menu includes pizza, burgers, sandwiches and other entrees.

But what does Stanley know about pizza? More than you might think, as he explained to PMQ in 2013. Prior to opening Rock & Brews, he threw pizza parties at his home and learned the craft as he went along.

Related: Shout it out loud! KISS founders open Rock & Brews No. 22

At that time, PMQ asked Stanley for some pizza-making tips. In honor of the new Rock & Brews location, we are sharing them here.

“You have to start with a great crust,” he told us. “Nancy Silverton’s recipe is about as good as it gets, but Trader Joe’s actually has a terrific dough that’s ready to go. I prefer a relatively thin, bubbly, crispy crust.”

Stanley makes his own sauce, sometimes from scratch, sometimes with a little help from a name brand. “It’s easy to cook down some canned cherry or San Marzano tomatoes for your sauce, but I also like Rao’s Arrabiatta, which I strain or cook down to reduce the water content,” he said.

Now it’s time to top the pie, then lick it up.

“The fun thing about pizza is personalizing it,” Stanley continued. “Great ingredients don’t need to be messed with too much. I like to get some nice, small portobello mushrooms, scrape out the underside to remove excess water and slice them. Then I douse them with extra-virgin olive oil, add salt and throw them in the oven to get nice and brown. I take some prosciutto and fry it in a pan with some olive oil and lay the pieces on a paper towel. I do the same with a sliced onion. I brush the outer edge of my flat dough with olive oil, put my sauce on, then add some burrata, my mushrooms, prosciutto and onion. I throw on some Asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil and slide it into my stone oven. My temperature is around 900°, so I do a rotation or two, and the pie’s done in two minutes or so. Awesome!”

In terms of his dough-slinging skills, Stanley isn’t quite ready for the U.S. Pizza Team, but he showed off a little bit of what he can do at the KISS Kruise XI in 2022.

Food & Ingredients